There are rare but beautiful moments in Edinburgh when I feel I might be in Glasgow. Like when someone talks to you at a bus stop, or ‘chats you up’ in the pub. Of course if a chippy runs out of brown sauce there’s also a Glasgow feeling but heaven forbid that should ever come to pass.
I’d been waiting for One20 to open for some time. Indeed I thought, like Theresa May’s demise, it might never happen. But some things are worth waiting for. Peering through the window my first thoughts were this place looks a bit stylish, glamorous and well, a whole load of Glaswegian. For a long time I’ve lamented the abundance of lovely places Glasgow people not only frequent but expect. There’s always something a bit ‘extra’ about the West Coast.
So for my first visit to One20 I took my favourite weegie, my dear, long suffering chauffeur, handyman and general ‘could you drop off some bacon, a paper and a bottle of gin on your way home’ errand boy. Although I prefer to call him Dad.
My father appreciates a bit of glam, and I thought this would be just his type of place. He’s very good at, and therefore critical of, lighting. So my mother and I are constantly bracing ourselves for the inevitable, how he might light the room survey, on arrival at a new venue.
“Beautifully lit,” father muses… And I agree that the fancy light fittings are indeed lovely. Whilst dad is concerned with dimmer switches, my main worry, as I mention in every review, is how comfortable my backside will be. The chairs in One20 are Perspex, trendy and comfortable! Two happy people already.
“Don’t you think we could be in Glasgow?” I ask Daddy.“We could even be in Milan,” he replies. Praise indeed.
My dad is such an old school gent he’d literally rather staple his eyelids to the floorboards than take the good seat in a restaurant. In other words, he’s spent almost all his dining experiences facing a wall. My mother might joke he has the best view in the room! However you often miss the atmosphere of a place, no matter how gorgeous your wife is. In One20 they have eyeline mirrors on the wall, so you can see what’s going on behind you. That’s thoughtful and the kind of touch we appreciate.
The interior is sophisticated and cool, without being pretentious. Lovely wine displays and a cookbook mini library, it feels like somewhere great for the best food and drinks, it’s reassuring and there’s a cosy family feeling which might be because it’s a father and son business. Dad Ronnie in the kitchen and Kyle is on the floor.
On to the food. We are given our own individual mini baguettes, made in the ‘traditional way of French bakers’. There’s not much you can question about French bakers, except perhaps an inability not to take themselves seriously. However, making bread they do well and we have ours with ‘Lescure‘ butter from Normandy. Fabulous bread and butter is a sign of great things to come…
The old fella and I share a Burratta, a fresh buffalo milk cheese made with mozzarella and cream, served with semi-secci tomatoes, pesto and 25 year balsamic vinegar. Excellent it is too. I love the reverence with which aged balsamic is drizzled by the chef. I’d spray it about the place like a Formula One driver, unable to cope with such restraint. We share two mains. Restaurants are so much into sharing these days I didn’t think I could cope with the sheer guilt and selfishness of a whole meal to myself.
Our first is a charcuterie platter, which is an impressive mix of the finest meats, some lovely tart pickles and a piccalilli sauce that’s the best I’ve ever tasted. They also offer a cheese and vegetarian platter, all with the added reassurance: ‘custom made plates also available to suit your desire’. 50 shades of sharing platters. (It’s noted desire, not ‘desires’. No platter would satisfy all of those.)
We then indulge in a sea bass fillet cooked en papillote and it is confirmed that the standard thing about the food here is a combination of simplicity with the very best quality.
On the drinks front we enjoy a Sieve, CorteAdami, Veneto, a Nero D’Avolo and a ‘Konrad Bianco’. All exquisite but the Konrad Bianco was my favourite as it’s what I’d like the name of my third husband to be.
For pudding we share an Odissea: A light choc cream, vanilla bavaroise with chocolate pastry on a crunchy base. It was simply lovely. Like eating a giant Ferrero Rocher upgraded to first class.
I love the look of this restaurant, the way the kitchen is separated by a glass partition, the abundant art work on the walls (and all for sale) and the stairway to the basement is actually nice to walk down.
But here’s where this establishment could transfer to Glasgow: they have fantastic loos. Twenty years ago when I lived in Glasgow I was being presented with a hand towel and sloshed with some Chanel when the equivalent night out in Edinburgh would have a 30 minute wait for a wee in something less salubrious.
And soon there’s to be a big food and wine emporium right next door. I like people who have the vision and confidence to open up businesses like this. They bring so much to the area and although I’m not a local resident these days I will definitely be a customer.
One20 – they’ve got the balance between local and classy just right. My only criticism is given reluctantly: the service, although charming and professional is just a tad formal. This is the sort of place where customers are going to be regulars, and I’d like to reassure the owners that this is a gem. Relax and enjoy it!
120 Dundas Street
0131 556 1911