I began this review with the following words: “Reverie is a pretty good gastro pub on Newington Road”. I considered the sentence for ten minutes. In all honesty, there is not a whole lot to say about the pub that you couldn’t extrapolate from there. For me, the idea of a pub called Reverie conjured images of goths smoking louchely to the strains of This Corrosion in some blacked-out dive off St. Leonard's Street. However, my subculture-specific expectations notwithstanding, Reverie turned out to be an amicably old-fashioned sort of place, the sort of establishment that genially measures up to expectations rather than smashing them down. The staff are friendly and approachable and the service was prompt. The deco was Doctors-chic: wooden beaming, landscape paintings and the sort of ornately mounted lighting that's tasteful rather than ostentatious. Until quite recently, the premises housed a Chinese restaurant, but the occidental lurch has been fairly graceful. The furnishings are presumably quite new but they have the sort of well worn-in feel that, in this context, is a good thing. You know what I'm talking about, and Reverie pulls it off better than most. The menu throws no curveballs but all of the staples of pub grub are well-represented. Probably the most original thing on offer here is the Build Your Own Burger, wherein you select the ingredients in a meal that you can clutch dearly to your bosom and proudly call your own. Again, nothing particularly wacky is on offer here, but it’s a good idea that adds an element of interactivity. Drinks are fairly diverse, particularly the cocktails which are also a bit cheaper out here than deeper in the city centre. Reverie was also recently featured in The Guardian’s list of top ten best cocktail bars in Edinburgh – no mean feat, considering that Edinburgh is home to such venerable cocktail purveyors as Bramble and Bond No. 9. Live music is also on the menu, from American bluegrass to jazz. The calendar (updated faithfully on the website) is also dotted with quiz nights, which have become neighborhood staples. My colleague and I began with mussels in a white wine and garlic sauce which was beyond heavenly. After we had finished them, we soaked up our bread in the sauce and when we ran out of that too we lapped it up with the spoons provided. It was that good. However, the mains where competently executed rather than exceptional. The beef pie was entirely tasty but not nearly as superlative-inducing as the starter. My colleague plumped for the BYOBurger had a similar experience with her own food. We ended the night with some chocolate brownies and sticky toffee pudding which were as well-made and comforting as everything else there. Nobody could accuse Reverie of breaking down the standards of Edinburgh’s gastro pubs but if you want traditional food in a comfortable atmosphere with the promise of an excellent cocktail to round the night off, then what are you waiting for?
1 - 5 Newington Road EH9 1QR