Despite being open less than a year, Serrano Manchego on Leith Walk has made quite the impression on Edinburgh diners. With a loyal clientele and a spot on the much coveted “Hit List” on the List’s Eating and Drinking Guide for 2015, the owners behind the cafe/bar/tapas joint must be doing something right.
Having passed right past it almost daily on my commute, I was intrigued by their latest accolade and when James Wilson gave me this mouthwatering recommendation I knew it was time to give it a go.
We wandered in on a sunny Saturday afternoon, and with the bright sunlight streaming through the windows, we managed to fool ourselves into thinking we had found a portal that took us to a cafe on one of the main streets of Barcelona!
We went in fairly early in the evening, so managed to get a table, however as the evening drew on it became busier and busier, so it might be worth booking a table if you want to go at peak times, especially Saturday nights.
The main counter showcases everything that Serrano Manchego has to offer. This place is a bit of everything – whether you want a cafe, a bar, a restaurant – it can do it all, and surprisingly it seemed to fit quite well. While we were eating our dinner, the couple beside us were just relaxing with a couple of drinks and some bar snacks, and it didn’t feel strange at all.
I was particularly impressed with their gin and tonic menu, which offered pairings of various gins, Fevertree tonic and a specially selected fruit garnish. I ended up going for the Greenall’s and lime in the end, but there are lots of other combos available including Hendricks and cucumber, and Blooms and strawberry.
To eat, Mr Bug had a Spanish omelette with potatoes and onion, served with alioli – a garlicy, creamy Spanish mayonnaise-like dip. He was kind enough to let me try a bit, and it was lovely, consisting mostly of onion and potato with the light egg a nice finish. The pairing with the alioli worked perfectly and I was very tempted to swipe the rest of the dish off him!
We also had a bowl of patatas bravas to share. Patatas bravas is one of those dishes that you find in every tapas bar everywhere, so it’s a good yardstick to measure the quality of the Spanish restaurant as a whole, I reckon.
Serrano Manchego’s offering was excellent. The potatoes were cut quite small and it was covered with a generous helping of fresh tomato sauce. I often find it can often be a bit salty in dishes like these, but not in this case, it tasted great.
The chicken skewers were so good I had already ripped though one of them before I remembered to take a picture!
We just went for the pure chicken option, although skewers with chorizo or prawn are also available. It was cooked in this lovely white wine sauce an also came with an alioli dip, but to be honest these were delicious enough all on their own!
Finally, I couldn’t eat at a place called Serrano Manchego without trying their ham and cheese platter! This is very much the crowning glory of their menu, with their specially chosen cheese selection and range of aged Iberian hams.
They are obsessive with their meat, and it really shows, as each slice of Bellota chorizo, Bellota sausage and Jamón Bellota simply melted in the mouth. We had ours with a selection of bread, but to be honest it was good enough that it could be picked away at on its own.
Our meal at Serrano Manchego was excellent. Now that I’ve been there myself, it is clear to see why they have been getting this well-deserved attention. If you find yourself on Leith Walk and fancy a bit of Iberian dining, then this place is definitely one of the best in its class.
You can find Serrano Manchego (website) at 297 Leith Walk, EH6 8SA. Any bus that goes down Leith Walk (7, 10, 12, 14, 16, 22, 25 and 49) passes right outside.