Consistently good food and service in the heart of Leith.
e:s:i in Leith is a favourite food choice of ours. Many evenings for birthdays and family gatherings have been spent in this classic old building, which has been transformed into a stylish brasserie serving up a wide range of food. Short for an ‘englishman, scotsman and an irishman’, e:s:i has friendly and efficient staff with a laid back atmosphere.
There’s a wonderful selection of wines, 15 of which are available by the glass with a bottle starting at £13. A diverse beer range and some champagne completes the alcoholic choices.
Starters are around the £5 mark and this is where I first tried pan-fried wood-pigeon breast which came on a salad of rocket, beetroot, walnuts and pears, finished with a rich port reduction (£5.95). Other mouthwatering starters we’ve tried are the apple, cider and onion soup (£4.50) and the curried massala sabji tart (£4.95).
On one occasion, my Australian dining partner chose a main of slow roasted pork belly, black pudding and apple mash with sautéed broad beans and pancetta (£11.95) and let the words ‘bloody oath’ slip from his mouth after his first bite. He only ever slips into Aussie slang when he’s really impressed.
I have sampled the lamb and ox dishes and highly recommend them, but e:s:i even get the simple dishes of burgers and fish and chips completely right.
Desserts are ever-changing at e:s:i and my favourite of upside down Ferrero Rocher cheesecake is currently missing in action. Other choices are now available such as white chocolate mousse and warm rhubarb and buckfast oat crumble, topped with vanilla ice cream (both £5.25).
The buckfast ice-cream caused quite a stir after launching last summer but anyone wanting to get drunk on this dessert will be disappointed to learn that the alcohol evaporates during the cooking process.
At the time of writing, a brand new menu has been launched and we’ll be popping back regularly to work our way through that one as well.
Thursdays are ‘steak night’ in e:s:i – when you can get a slab of meat for a reduced price.
You can find e:s:i on facebook.
Suitable for disabled? There is ground level seating that is wheelchair accessible, but the bathrooms are on another level, so would need to time the visit well.