“ Hotel. Castlehill Royal Mile Edinburgh EH1 2NF. Telephone: 0131 225 5613. Fax: : 0131 220 4392 „
It's hard to know exactly what to write about this place. You spend the day sauntering around beautiful, gothic Edinburgh and as the sun sets, you step into The Witchery for the night.... I don't want to call it a hotel because it feels so much more than that. It's like you slip through a portal and land in a world where you're the goddess Aphrodite herself, lounging in your seductive, enchantress den. Seriously. We (my then boyfriend and I) stayed in the Heriot suite. To get to it, you have to walk up a spiral stone staircase until you finally come to a very grand looking door, decked out in golden tassels (like your key!) As soon as you walk in, you are thrown into another world. There were complimentary big cookies in a jar and champagne on the table waiting for us, along with fresh flowers. The four poster bed was 'never-get-out' comfortable, the bath was perfect for two - I could have just stayed in the bathroom, it was so amazing! Everything was just perfect. In the morning, we had someone (dressed in a suit) bring in a wicker hamper full of breakfast, you can either request this to be quietly brought into your room and placed in the lounge area for you, or be left outside. A wonderful touch I thought. At night, if you can remove yourself from your room for long enough, go and walk up to the castle (just few minutes walk away) for a night time picture and a look at moonlit Edinburgh! We ate there for lunch too! (I was very spoiled) the food was yummy but it was again the atmosphere that made it so special. If you want a night of pure decadence, spend it here. I'd love to go back one day.
With a weekend in Edinburgh booked, hubby informed me that he had trawled the internet, found and found and booked a recommended restaurant. We had a table reserved for a two hour slot at lunch time, and following lunch we were going to do a bit of shopping. Was I looking forward to it? Just a lot! WHERE IS IT? From our hotel in Festival Square, it was about a 15 minute brisk walk through the food and drink market and up Royal Mile, so all very picturesque. Right at the top of the Royal Mile and in the heart of the old city, there it was, 16th century (apparently) building with its windows on ground level. It was instantly noticeable by the heraldic sign marking its entrance and when we walked through the narrow passage to get to the restaurant, I was ready to admit that hubby had made a good choice. THE RESTAURANT Having read nothing about the restaurant, I didn't know what to expect, so was pleasantly surprised by the décor and the whole "feel" of the place. There is a small entrance lit by candles and the atmosphere inside the restaurant is truly magical. The whole room has an intimate feel with candles twinkling on all the tables. The décor is opulent and gothic with wall tapestries and wood panelling. There are gold pictures and signs on the dark ceiling and a large head of a gargoyle type figure looks at you from one of the window ledges. The tables were beautifully laid- crisp white table cloths, witchery ash tray (which you can buy for 312.95), polished cutlery and of course, the candles. I was looking forward to the food now. MENU There were 3 menus, and we were informed that we could select from any one of them, but not mix and match from different menus. WINTER SOLSTICE DINNER Priced at £28 for lunch and £33 for dinner This included 3 courses with dishes such as pheasant, pigeon and venison terrine for a starter, 4 main course dishes, including a vegetarian choice, and 4 choices for dessert, including my favourite, apple and almond crumble with vanilla bean ice cream (yummy!!) A LA CARTE Starters are varied and include dishes such as Globe Artichoke (£7.95), Butter roasted quail (£9.95), Platter of Scottish seafood and crustacean for two with half lobster (£35) I missed out on the starter so that I could keep going for dessert! However, the starters I saw being "delivered" to other tables looked good enough to eat! Did I say that? Main course Another great selection including Roast scallops (£21.95), Confit of wild salmon (£19.95) Grilled fillet of Scottish beef (£29.95) I chose the monkfish with ratte potatoes and hubby chose the venison. We ordered side dish of cabbage with bacon (yum-don't know how they did this one) and buttered mashed potatoes and carrots. I am not a food specialist, just a rather indifferent cook, but I know what I like and this was DELICIOUS! The monkfish tasted as it should, and if I have any grumble, it was that there just wasn't enough of the main dish. The servings were a tad small for we hungry people after our walk up the Royal Mile. Dessert Again a good selection, including chocolate torte, witchery pudding selection and of course, the long awaited apple crumble. This was FAB and filled the tiny gap left by the main course. LIGHT LUNCH AND THEATRE SUPPER This consists of 2 courses and is priced at £12.50. The dishes were rather like the a la carte without the dessert (no good for me) I would say that the food uses a lot of produce from Scotland-they state that they use only Scottish beef, and the food is largely seasonal. It is largely unfussy food with lots of classic dishes. WINE LIST The wine list is extensive with almost 1000 wines of all style and from all regions, old and new world. WHAT ELSE? ACCOMMODATION There are suites to stay in at £295 an night. We didn't stay but we had a little peep around and it all looks very indulgent as Dannii Minogue stated "the perfect lust den". Who knows maybe I will be nicely surprised. I don't know which I would chose; with names such as The Vestry, Guardroom, Armoury, I think I would have to have a good look at them all! GIFT VOUCHERS YES PLEASE!! I'd like the Indulgent Champagne Dinner for 2 please £165 not a greedy girl! They can be bought online or ordered by telephone CELEBRITY GUESTBOOK Huge Joanna Lumley, Tracy Shaw, David Jason, gail Porter. If it matters to you, there have been lots of the famous and fabulous through the doors. AWARDS Too many to list check out the website for more information if awards mean anything to you. There are LOTS for food and wine. WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Not cheap but for a fabulous romantic meal in a romantic, indulgent and theatrical setting, it's a MUST! I am definitely going back one evening. ADDRESS The Witchery by The Castle Castlehill The Royal Mile Edinburgh EH1 2NF What a lovely address TELEPHONE 0131 225 5613 WEBSITE www.thewitchery.com Thanks for readin. Daniela x