Elbow is one of those little gems of a place that makes you wonder why you hadn’t been by before. Location-wise it’s in Bellevue (just a little bit down past Broughton Street), and locals must be delighted it’s on their doorstep. It has a Manhattan East Village kind of vibe, with exposed brickwork mixed in with some disco bling. The motown soundtrack provides the right start to the weekend, whether you’re in for a casual drink, a night of cocktails or a bite to eat.
My friend Louise and I popped in for sustenance ahead of a night of busy Fringe-going, and bagged the ‘best seat in the house’, up on the mezzanine. From the cocktail list we decided that a summery berry bellini would be a great place to start, and the fruity fizz fit the sunny evening perfectly. The menu provided more sophisticated fare than expected and the selection of starters prompted debate before deciding to share the salt and pepper calamari (4.45) and the eggs Benny riff with Stornoway black pudding, pancetta, and poached egg on top of toasted brioche (5.95).
The menu features lots of good quality produce, and it’s clear each dish is freshly prepared. This was easily seen in the skinny crisp calamari, just about as good as I’ve had anywhere. A liberal shaking of seasoning in the batter made for delicious eating, and the zingy lime mayo was a nice change from the ubiquitous aioli. Always a favourite of mine, the moist black pudding’s spices and softly poached egg were nicely set against a little sweetness from the brioche bread.
Lou’s main course of chili con carne (£7.95) was a mighty plateful of rich and tasty homestyle flavours, the big pot of beef chile accompanied by all the fixin’s of sour cream, cheese, jalapeños toasted pitta bread for dunking. Unfortunately, my choice of rustic pizza (£9.95) fell totally flat, as despite good mozzarella and veggie toppings, the tasteless leaden dough made for tedious eating. Thankfully there was plenty of chili to share!
Desserts kept things (and us) very sweet and were a great end to the meal. I tucked happily an Eton mess with juicy strawberries, meringue and lightly whipped cream, and Lou enjoyed her rhubarb crumble and vanilla ice cream.