IT WAS evident we were in knowledgable hands when the co-founder of The Palmerston in Edinburgh, James Snowdon, mentioned the Thai restaurant Sing Buri after we told him we lived in Leytonstone, in East London. Its a restaurant that is cherished as a gem in the community and relies upon word-of-mouth for its marketing. It is also one that requires you to venture up the not-so-glamorous Leytonstone high road – a feat not many care for, but one which Snowdon had.
Co-founders Lloyd Morse and James Snowdon
It’s this same care for good food that Snowdon, alongside co-founder Lloyd Morse, weave through every element of their restaurant. The menu is classic but with a quirky twist, the produce is locally sourced, and the portions are generous – worthy of finding room in the belly for bread to wipe up the gravy remains glistening upon your empty plate.
Gaining the keys for the home of The Palmerston (previously a Starbucks, a variety of cafes, clothing store and a Bank of Scotland in the 19th Century) on Palmerston Place in January 2021, the duo set about transforming the space into a modern bistro-style dining room consisting of rich wood, grassy greens and unusual art.
It feels cosy but with tall ceilings, sitting at a table feels like a secluded haven. And when in combination with the array of dishes on the menu, you find yourself forgetting to lift your eyes from the table to marvel at the expanse of work that has been done to the place.
Starters at The Palmerston
The Palmerston bread
The pleasures of an onsite bakery marked our first foray into the perfection of The Palmerston. A hearty slice of sourdough loaf with creamy butter flaked with sea salt was the ultimate belly warmer, and when we were treated to an off-the-menu plate of homemade pork scratching-style puffy rice crisps, we were in a flurry of praise. Bread and butter and salty wafers of pork? The way to Lily Rimmer’s heart.
The three of us opted for the spaghetti with deep green wild garlic sauce in a blanket of parmesan and pine nuts; the salt cod croquettes with fennel salad and aioli; and the pigeon and fig terrine with sharp cornichons scattered atop, served with another round of exquisite bread – this time toasted, for starters. Although we had each agreed to try a mouthful of each others, each dish presented such a complex, interesting piquancy, that we conceded to split them three ways.
Shamefully, I did find myself trying to figure out how many strands of spaghetti were on my brother’s fork in comparison to mine. The Palmerston had reignited a ferocious obsessiveness that I hadn’t shared with my siblings since we were pre-teens.
Roast Texel hogget chop at The Palmerston
Jerusalem artichokes and grilled cabbage at The Palmerston
With that said, by the mains, I soon realised my possessive greed would be short-lived, as steaming plates piled high with richly seasoned roast brill served atop bacon, leeks and chives swimming in a buttery sauce, baked hogget crepinette cushioned by celeriac mash, kale and wild garlic, and roast Borders venison with beetroot, Swiss chard and agresto were placed on the table.
Paired with a bottle of the 2020 Craven The Firs Vineyard Syrah – a bold, slightly dry and fruity South African wine, and a harmonious joy erupted on the table. We agreed that the visual explanation of such food happiness would be found in the framed pencil drawing of Ainsley Harriott that grinned at you on your walk to the toilets.
The Mont Blanc at The Palmerston
Desserts wise, the almond tart with blood oranges and creme fraiche provided a sharp yet sweet kick, a crunchy cloud of meringue with rhubarb, cream and almonds built a sugary explosion in the mouth, and the ginger and treacle pudding with cream caused a battle of our three spoons, each desperate for another morsel.
A meal really doesn’t get much better than one at The Palmerston. I have my fingers crossed that perhaps, maybe one day, Snowdon and Morse will expand the restaurant and open another slightly further down south. Selfishly for my ease of access. I hear that Leytonstone High Road has a few spaces open to rent…
by Lily Rimmer
The Palmerston can be found at 1 Palmerston Pl, Edinburgh EH12 5AF.
To make a booking, please follow this link.