Not a member?
Register and login now.

Issue 30 - Painting the town red (Vermilion Restaurant)

Scotland Magazine Issue 30
December 2006


This article is 11 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

Copyright Scotland Magazine © 1999-2018. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.

Painting the town red (Vermilion Restaurant)

Rob Allanson dines at Vermilion Restaurant beneath the iconic Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

Edinburgh has plenty of tucked away, intimate restaurants for that perfect dinner rendezvous or relaxing lunch.

One of the best is to be found hidden away deep in the vaults of the stunning Scotsman Hotel, which maintains a silent vigil over the city’s North Bridge.

This red sandstone Edwardian building with a dramatic large marble staircase once housed the offices of The Scotsman newspaper. It’s now a luxury hotel with 56 rooms and 12 suites.

The building was an intriguing and efficient vertical factory: at the top were pigeon lofts for carrier pigeons carrying news back and forth from outlying parts of Scotland, in the middle were the editorial offices and down below the newspapers were printed and then churned out under Market Street to waiting trains for distribution.

Let’s face it, it is hard to beat this building for its grandeur and allure in a city that boasts so many pleasant spots to get away from the world for an hour or two with some decent food, wine and company.

Once inside the Scotsman, the grandeur does not stop; there is some truly wonderful décor and cosy corners. However our interest is located at the foot of the hotel’s opulent marble staircase.

Deep in the bowels of the hotel, in what used to be the features department is the Vermilion restaurant. Named after the classic rich red shade, this intimate restaurant has fast become one of the city’s most fashionable and elegant places to dine.

The best time to go is on a dark evening.

When you walk down the stairs and the doors open to this fabulous place it instantly warms you up and soothes any woes from the day.

The restaurant is decked out in very subtle colours and fabrics that provide a fitting contrast to the hustle and bustle of the hotel’s other restaurant, the Brasserie.

The setting is perfect. It feels like some sort of underground paradise, a world away from the noise and traffic at street level. The food on offer does not disappoint.

Vermilion’s menu is changed in a four to six week cycle depending on the availability of produce, and there is a small team who provide attentive, yet unobtrusive service.

The restaurant tries to source a lot of produce from local growers and you can expect some seriously mouth watering dishes showcasing the best Scotland has to offer.

Look out for venison and Angus beef both of which can be cooked to your preference, and organic salmon and scallops feature regularly. Vegetarians need not panic as the menus feature some lovely meat free dishes, guaranteed to please.

Once you have the starters and main course under your belt, the dessert menu is always equally impressive.

To be honest everything is worth trying and you will be spoilt for choice. One thing worth looking out for is the iced cranachan parfait. If it is on the menu this is a must.

The restaurant also prides itself on its wine menu. With more than 100 bin ends on offer it should be easy for even the most fussy of palates to find a fine wine to accompany the menu. The staff are also there to offer assistance as well.

Following a great meal you need to sit back, relax and take coffee or a disgetif. The cream leather sofas just outside the restaurant offer a comfortable space to enjoy post-dinner drinks and conversation.

For the whisky minded, an extensive selection is on hand with plenty of rare malts to choose from.

20 North Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1YT
Tel: +44 (0)131 556 5565