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Balcony Café

Scottish and British Restaurant

3.6 out of 5 3.6/5 from 5 reviews (add your opinion)

National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street

Phone: 0300 123 6789

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Price: £££££
Licensed: Yes
Pre-Theatre: No

Takeaway: No

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sun: 1200-2300


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Tags: balconycaf restaurant licensed scottish british 5pm bookonline offers 5pm bookonline balconycafe cafe bistro pretheatre thetowerrestaurant towerrestaurant

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Details last confirmed by andy 6 years ago

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5 user reviews:

3 from nettles (81%) on April 17th, 2010 (9 years ago)

Balcony Café, National Museum of Scotland, EH1 1JF, Edinburgh

I am surprised that the above reviewers gave so many stars for meals that do not sound worthy!

I also had high expectations of the tower and for the most part came away disappointed.

The good points - the location and view are amazing. Great rooftop garden as well. The next good point was the service. Professional without being off-putting and not overly friendly which can be grating.

Onto the meal. This was a work related celebration with every intention of pulling out all the stops - hence the meal at the tower. for starters I had the scallops with white pudding fritters, my companions also had the scallops, french onion soup and duck salad. All failed to impress. The scallops were 3 halves of scallops rather than whole ones. The dish lacked sauce although the white pudding fritters were nice. The duck salad was bland as was the soup which was described as "watery".

For mains I had the sea bass with vegetable ragu while my dining mates had the fillet steak and the lamb. All mains were ok to good however my fish was not fresh and the ragu which was supposed to contain razor clams and squid (or baby octopus I forget) was just not good.

For afters we all shared the cheese board so cant go wrong with that.

Overall not worth the money, even with the view.

(+3) (-1) (0)

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4 from jcaughey (75%) on October 5th, 2009 (9 years ago)

Balcony Café, National Museum of Scotland, EH1 1JF, Edinburgh

Went to The Tower for a pre-theatre dinner on Saturday, booked online through 5pm (sorry Andy – didn’t check that you could book online at Edinburghmenus too!) The pre-theatre deal that we opted for was starter, main and a glass of champagne for £20 – pretty reasonable (without champagne it was about £14 I think...)

This was my first visit and first things first, the location is stunning. Located on the 5th floor of the museum, you get stunning skyline views, including a very unique one of the castle. There were quite a few diners in the restaurant for an early dinner sitting and the ambiance very relaxed. Music was at just the right volume and service was impeccable.

For starter I went for a poached egg salad which was stunning. He went for a mackerel pate with rye bread, as you so often find with these dishes, there wasn’t nearly enough bread for the amount of pate but we were offered a variety of different breads by one of the waiter throughout our meal so this wasn’t too much of an issue.

For main I had a meat ball stew with curly kale, it was ok – nothing special, but not really a stew either... it was very liquidy and the liquid wasn’t all that nice tasting! The meatballs were good though, as was the curly kale. He opted for the dhal which he enjoyed, nothing hugely special but the plate was empty by the end!

Even though puddings weren’t included in our deal, we both went for them and I am so glad we did; my pudding was the best I have had in years! I went for the lemon tart with raspberry sorbet and it was delicious. The sorbet tasted like raspberry nerds (anyone remember them?!) sweet but quite sour at the same time. The lemon tart complimented it beautifully. The sorbet was served in a brandy basket which I felt was a bit unnecessary but it helped the presentation. He opted for a chocolate torte which was heavenly but very very dense – so dense he wasn’t able to finish it (which is a first).

I enjoyed my visit to the tower, including the puddings on top of the £20/each it came to £53. Not too bad really. I did feel a bit let down by our main courses but the puddings were so good, I’ll forgive them for it!

(+5) (0) (+1)

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4 from rachybaby (68%) on April 22nd, 2009 (10 years ago)

Balcony Café, National Museum of Scotland, EH1 1JF, Edinburgh

I went here one Thursday night after having booked our table online on EdinburghMenus which was both easy and hassle-free. I had high expectations for The Tower but I wasn't disappointed. It was a lovely night so the setting was stunning with great views of the castle and the Royal Mile.

Service was good too - polite and friendly but not over the top.

We had a special offer of three meals for £30, I think they are still doing it and for their sister restaurant, The Witchery, too. I opted for sardines to start which were lovely and my dining partner had the terrine - the terrine was a bit disappointing and a little on the bland side but my sardines were delicious.

For a main we both had the duck which was huge! My only complaint was that it was a little tough but it was still very nice and definitely filled me up.

We both had a choc desert which rounded off the meal perfectly!

The bill came to £80 including tip and a bottle of wine which I thought was really good value. This is a great place to go for a special occasion and surely has to have one of the most romantic backdrops in Edinburgh.

(+4) (+1) (0)

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2 from BPRJ28 (21%) on August 16th, 2011 (7 years ago)

Balcony Café, National Museum of Scotland, EH1 1JF, Edinburgh

Oh dear, the setting should really merit a better eatery. The staff are clueless and the menu is poorly described. I don't mind small portions if the food is well presented and prepared. At the Tower it is neither.

I was very disappointed to order croquettes when what turned up was a rather lonely croquette. The staff did not seem to understand plurals and gave me more bread instead.

The only reason i did not give this place 1 star is because the wine list merits one or two. It contains a good range of whites and reds and it fairly priced.

I am afraid the Tower is another one of these places that relies on the location and view more than the food.

Thoroughly disappointed customer indeed.

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5 from poultox (14%) on May 1st, 2011 (8 years ago)

Balcony Café, National Museum of Scotland, EH1 1JF, Edinburgh

We visited The Tower in Sept 2010 for an anniversary and were very impressed. I'm a self-professed service snob and The Tower's was meticulous, although it's a shame you have to pay so much to get even the basic elements right in Edinburgh.

After being given a choice of different breads and olives, we opted for the beef wellington for two for our main, which was absolutely divine (if extortionate). For dessert we had a chocolate tarte, and vanilla panna cotta with stewed plums. Wow!

A perfect dining experience.

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