Waterside Restaurant, Haddington Pub, Riverside Building Images, Design, Info

Waterside Bistro Haddington

Classic Haddington Restaurant, East Lothian, Scotland: Review, info and photos

Waterside Bistro

Have you visited The Waterside Bistro? Please mail your review: info(at)edinburgharchitecture.co.uk

The Waterside Bistro Haddington – Dining Review

8 Oct 2010

The approach by foot across what is widely believed to be the oldest bridge in Scotland is undoubtedly stunning and the building itself looks welcoming and inviting with it’s warm lights streaming out of all windows. Entering the Waterside Bistro through the large glass doors on the river side of the building we were greeted by friendly staff who asked if we would like to have a drink in the bar, now called The Office, or be shown straight to our table. As it was already a little late in the evening we decided to go straight to our table.

Waterside Restaurant, Haddington
Waterside Bistro Haddington: photo by Adrian Welch

We were shown into the dining room called The Gallery. This room, as the rest of the building, has been redecorated to a high standard. The old patterned pub carpets have been removed and replaced with slate tiles, a pale grey oatmeal paint has been applied to the walls and wood work and old-fashioned black and white photos in ornate gilded frames hang on the walls – even the view across the river to the church on the other side is celebrated by the again gilded framing of the windows.

Our table for two was a decent size but a little crowded by all the usual items like cutlery, menus, salt + pepper – and a special offers brochure in a plastic frame, a bottle of wine of the month, a great idea perhaps for a larger table and another wine bottle with a lit candle in. The room was cosy and soon all 30 covers were occupied. There was a good atmosphere amongst all the well dressed diners being attended by the helpful friendly waitresses.

We studied our white paper menus – and had 9 starters and 8 mains + the Autumn Set Dinner Menu and specials to choose from. A waitress brought a breadbasket with four tiny warm but extremely thick crusted bread and butter to our table and took our orders. Adrian, my partner, ordered Pigeon breast, braised red cabbage and pearl barley (£5.95) for starters, I chose Warmed goats cheese, green bean & pear salad (£5.50). Adrian had studied the well-stocked wine list and we ordered a bottle of white – as we had walked here we were both able to enjoy a drink. Our wine arrived promptly, though the water took a little longer to arrive.

We waited approximately 50 minutes for our starters, which in our case was not a problem, though had we been in a hurry it might not have been convenient.

Our starters were served on large white plates and looked delicious. My goats cheese salad was as it looked – delicious. I love goats cheese, and was pleasantly surprised at the unusual addition of the pear. I felt it worked well. Adrian’s pigeon breast was fine, the jus would perhaps be a little too peppered for some diners liking. This we felt could have been balanced with more of the sweetness from the red cabbage and less pear barley.

For mains Adrian had ordered Seared king scallops, linguini, lemon & chilli butter (£16.50), I went for the special of Pork, apple pure, wilted greens & mustard mash (£13.50). Our orders arrived shortly after our starter plates had been removed. I was a little disappointed with the presentation here – everything on my plate was the more or less the same colour, and instead of using the wilted greens to break up the monotonous look the greens were hidden under the three, far too thickly sliced pork. I felt the apple pure and the mustard mash had sounded an intriguing combination, but on sampling it I found it did not work for me, nor Adrian.

Adrian’s plate of noodles with four small scallops was a decent-sized portion but again the look of the dish was monotonous, only broken up by a little red chilli. The texture of the noodles and the seafood was almost the same, and Adrian would have liked if this dish could have contained something a little crunchy on the side perhaps a crisp salad. The scallops should not taste fishy, and should have been firmer.

I had noticed the diners at the table next to ours had lovely looking crème brulees for desserts, therefore when the waitress took our dessert orders I chose Vanilla Crème brulee, plum compote and shortbread (£5.50). Adrian chose Raspberry & white chocolate cheesecake (£5.50). On sampling my dessert I could only agree with our fellow diners – it was very good indeed but the compote too sharp for me. Nothing out of the ordinary – just good. I had a Café Latte – Espresso with steamed milk (£2.75) at the same time as my dessert. Adrian’s cheesecake arrived – I did not say anything, but thought the two very large scoops of raspberry and white chocolate filling on top of the crumbled biscuit base looked unrefined and clumsy. Adrian reassured me it tasted fine, but there was a little too much of it.

After our dinner we had a look around the rest of the Waterside Bistro. We were impressed with the quirky yet stylish interiors both upstairs, which we felt would appeal to any age group. The Bothy downstairs is described on their little visitors card as “Traditional Scottish with a twist” and I agree – a very well thought-out interior.

We had a lovely evening – largely due to the beautiful setting and good service, but also due to the agreeable food.

The Waterside Restaurant & Bistro

1-5 Waterside (adj. Nungate Bridge), Haddington
+44 (0)1620 825674

Well-known bar and restaurant on banks of the Tyne, very popular on summer weekends.

Waterside Bistro, Haddington
Now open again with really very good food. The dining areas have been refurbished making the whole place much brighter and more inviting. Adam Cochrane – 7 Aug 2010

Waterside Bistro, Haddington
Great that this classic restaurant has reopened, under its old name, but prices quite steep (for East Lothian) at around £13 for mains, still good food + service. Linzie Stewart – 5 Aug 2010

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Previously, from 2007:

Four recent visits to the fine dining Waterside Restaurant (upstairs) prompted me to put an entry back on for this establishment, removed following separate visits to the Bar and most unrewardingly, the downstairs Waterside Bistro. Recent visits to the Waterside Bar suggest this is well worth a visit.

Service upstairs in the restaurant is friendly, and professional. The Waterside menu is old-fashioned I feel and full of classics often missing from ‘trendier’ restaurants, such as roast duck and pheasant, served with plentiful helpings of vegetables. The nearest competitor to the Waterside Bistro Haddington in terms of dining is the Drovers in East Linton (or possible the Goblin Ha’ in Gifford, both East Lothian) but the Waterside Bistro’s warm-coloured space is larger and more formal, and the setting can hardly be beaten.

Waterside Restaurant, Haddington
View from Waterside Bistro Haddington of St Mary’s Church by Adrian Welch

There are fine views over the River Tyne from the Waterside Bistro to Haddington’s imposing St Mary’s Collegiate Church, and of the pedestrianised Nungate Bridge. The old stone bridge – Nungate Bridge – is said to be the oldest remaining in Scotland, and on the other side is where the French garrison gathered in 1549 (to assist the Scottish) to defeat the English holding siege to Haddington. At that time, in the days of Henry VIII, the Scottish Parliament met in Haddington.

Waterside Bistro Service
Mon-Fri 11.30am-2pm, 6.30-10pm; Sat 11.30am-10pm; Sun 12.30-9pm
Waterside Restaurant: Service
Mon-Sat 11.30am-2pm, 6.30-10pm; Sun 12.30-2.30pm, 6.30-9pm

St Mary's Church
View from Waterside Bistro of Nungate Bridge, Haddington by Adrian Welch

Haddington is the market town for East Lothian, formerly Haddingtonshire. It is 18 miles east of Edinburgh, off the A1. The Waterside Bistro & Restaurant stands beside the Nungate bridge just east of the centre of Haddington. The Waterside Bistro was originally the Weir House and was refurbished with five adjacent cottages. There is external dining along the frontage and on a terrace facing St Mary’s Church, the largest parish church in Scotland.

East Lothian : Quality Restaurants

The Waterside Restaurant & Bistro, 1-5 Waterside adj. Nungate Bridge, Haddington +44 (0)1620 825674

Goblin Ha Hotel, Main Street, Gifford
+44 (0)1620 810 244

La Potiniere Restaurant, Main Street, Gullane
+44 (0)1620 843214

Recommendations for Edinburgh Restaurants welcome

If you have visited The Waterside Restaurant or the Waterside Bistro please mail your review

St Mary’s Church Haddington

Briery Bank, Haddington

Haddington Town House

Comments / photos for the Waterside Bistro Haddington Dining Review page welcome

Waterside Bistro Haddington : page