Known for many years as the bustling, clubby vodka den Bar Kohl, this centrally-located corner spot on George IV Bridge was taken over relatively recently by the Shilling Group, locally-based operators of places like Cross & Corner and The Fountain. After a time as a burger specialist under the old name, they’ve now gone for the full rebrand, becoming an upmarket cocktail bar and restaurant and renaming the place in tribute to Edinburgh-educated, 18th century geologist James Hutton, whose family home in Berwickshire was called Slighhouses (pronounced 'sly houses').
Quite why there’s such an obscure reference there is hard to ascertain, for the venue itself is all about the modern. White-painted brick walls, contemporary art prints on the walls and plush seating – including a long cream leather banquette in the slim dining corridor around by the kitchen – give an impression of smartness which stays the right side of sterility. The space is horseshoe-shaped, based around a huge island with an open kitchen on one side and the mostly-standing bar area on the other, where waiters can be seen shaking up a wide range of cocktails (the name draws us to the Hendrick Lamar; Hendrick’s and Hayman’s gins with lemon and celery bitters) or pouring one of many American whiskeys, a speciality which grabs the bar zeitgeist.
You’ll also find a few cocktail aperitifs on the food menu, inviting you to get set for what has to be one of the more distinctive and enjoyable selections of dishes available in an Edinburgh drinking establishment at the moment. Again showing attunedness to what’s happening elsewhere in popular culinary circles, the menu is made up of tapas-style grazing plates, with some interesting choices like the crackling-style crispy pig’s ear seasoned with paprika, the daintily homemade scotch egg and the tempura squid and monkfish. Elsewhere, more familiar ground is covered by the braised pork belly with fig and the confit duck leg with black pudding, a high quality and pleasingly created selection which reflects the more upwardly mobile aspirations of the place.
54 George IV Bridge
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat noon-1am, Sun 10.30am-1am|