The Vintage can be found on the corner of Henderson Street in Leith. Sensibly, it has avoided tearing out the superb interior that Café Fish installed. The insides are lovely and enhanced further with an injection of energy and finance from Vintage’s owners. The outsides, however, will have the usual Henderson Street battle insofar as that they’re pretty near to the Shore hot spot of restaurants but up towards the imposing looking tower blocks of Mordor concrete.
The first thing that caught my attention and persuaded me to give the Vintage a try was the menu. For a start the menu is easy to spot on their website and seems to be updating often. Today there are specials up for Burns Night and Valentines Night while also finding space to talk about the craft beers they’ve brought in. Expect some usuals – like fish and chips – but also interesting combinations. My favourite discovery so far is their “mac’n’cheese” burger topped off with pulled pork.
I’ve found the Vintage staff to be quick and friendly. I’ve been when the place was quiet and with a good view into the kitchen could watch the chef fuss over our food, making sure it was good enough. We’ve also thrown 10+ groups of people at them as a department from work heads up the shore for lunch there. Sure, that slows things down but by all accounts the Vintage copes.
The Vintage isn’t all about food. Make your way through the revolving doors and you’ll soon notice that they care about their ales and craft beers too. In fact, they sell half and two-third pints only – not pints. I’m told this is to protect the quality of the drinking experience. I’m not an expert, I’ve no idea whether a third of a pint can destroy taste or not but I’ve seen it before in bars with their own brew so I’m sure this isn’t the Vintage playing silly buggers. I do, however, prefer pints.
There are even beer events at the Vintage. For example, the website (a Tumblr, how hipster-clever is that) still talks about a “Meet the Brewer Event” with 6 Degrees North in which £20 books you a bar stool and half a pint of the listed beers. I think this sort of event will be vital. They must persuade people to explore further up the Shore in order to be successful.
I’ve taken an early liking to the Vintage. It’s clean, warm and feeds me well. It feels friendly too. That said, I don’t think it’ll be a regular lunch time haunt for me. The menu has the sort of food I’d sample now and then as its main lure. Given that they offer an easy to use online reservation widget that goes up to 20 people I suspect the restaurant may well become an office outing favourite.