Supper at Santini’s

Last night, ‘Strawberry Blonde’ & I decided to dine at Santini’s in Conference Square to research my inaugural Eating Edinburgh blog post. I have to confess I have eaten there before, and not that long ago, but it is very close to my gym and rather handy.

For those that haven’t come across Santini’s before, it is a gem of an Italian restaurant woefully hidden away at the back of The Sheraton and behind the EICC. With major building works going on nearby at present it’s almost completely hidden. The decor is modern and clean, impressive wine racks hint at the extensive cellar that is on offer and there are a mixture of high seated and more traditional tables both front and back. It’s softly lit and very soothing. It’s one of those few restaurants that can carry off a quieter Monday evening without customers feeling self conscious.

The menu is streamlined and covers all the basics you would expect from an Italian Restaurant with Starters £4-£11, Pasta Dishes £8-£15, Pizzas around £8, Secondi £15-£26 and a selection of Contorni (extras) all at £3.50, it was a struggle to choose and both Strawberry Blonde & I took a good glass of wine and a little to-ing and fro-ing before settling on our chosen dishes. I plumped for the Cod fillet baked with tomato fondue wrapped in pancetta with potato & olive crush  and SB the Saltimbocca alla Romana (veal scallops, parma ham, pecorino cheese, sage & marsala wine sauce).

As the menu is ‘tidy’ so the wine list is one of the largest I’ve ever seen in a restaurant, with bottles ranging from £18 – £98. For those who may be celebrating (and with heftier wallets) the fizz came in between £28-£250. Still with the post holiday glow from a trip to South America earlier in the year, we were always going to be going Argentinian if available. We chose a Finca Flichman Mendoza Malbec, this turned out to be a light and smooth red wine, perfectly fitting for dining out on a ‘school night’.

Throughout the evening the staff were exceptionally attentive but with none of the arrogance you can often get in a restaurant of a certain quality. not only were we remembered from our one previous visit a few weeks ago but our previous choices were remembered.

The cod was a triumph, looks-wise perhaps not the most exciting of dishes but the salty pancetta wrapped around the sweet juicy cod was perfectly balanced with the olive and caper mash. Strawberry Blonde’s veal was possibly a tad overcooked and the spinach a little ordinary but we’re being overly picky here and it certainly hit the spot.

Although sorely tempted to order more of the Malbec we were unusually restrained and compromised with an Irish Coffee. Absolutely no complaints on that score, they resembled twin half pints of Guinness and were served with really tasty pistachio shortbread biscuits, yum!

Now for the fun part the scoring! The bathrooms we gave  a 7/10, the staff a 9.5/10 and an overall score of 8.5/10 (highly respectable)

Summary: A wonderful combination of modern decor, fantastic cooking and attentive good old fashioned service. The music contributes perfectly to the tone of the place and you’re left wanting for nothing.

Would I go back? Most definitely

Additional Points: You can get up to 3 hours of free Parking. a 10% service charge is added to your bill although the menu does state this is discretionary (I forgot to ask the staff if they get this but will remember next time). Unfortunately they aren’t open weekend lunchtimes. 8 Conference Square, Edinburgh, EH3 8AN, 0131 221 7788

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