White Horse Oyster Bar is tucked away on the Royal Mile with beautifully distressed walls on the outside you could easily walk past this hidden gem; inside transforms into an elegant and surprisingly spacious restaurant, echoing the groups Chop House restaurants interior.
The high tables and seats round the bar create a comfortable and casual setting while through the back boasts comfy leather booths and tables.
I had heard about White Horse Oyster Bar, the newest addition to the Compass Group, for a while now and we had come along to their paired wine and seafood tasting.
We were greeted by friendly staff and a glass of Le Altane extra dry from Italy which boasted peach and pair flavours, with large soft bubbles that marvellously fizzed on our tongues.
Tim from Matthew Clarke was clearly passionate about the wines he talked us through and made everyone feel relaxed.
To accompany the Le Altane was the exquisitely presented Carlingford oysters; nestled in a bed of crushed ice they glistened beautifully. The traditional Tabasco and lemon juice was provided along with their own finely diced mix of apple, tarragon and sherry caramel.
This was my first time trying oysters and i had heard mixed reviews in general to their taste, texture and even the method to eating them. The oysters smelled of that strong, nostaligic seaside freshness, it took me back to rock pooling when I was a child.
In the end i chose a squeeze of lemon and a small spoonful of the apple and tarragon mix and I decided to shot it, swallowing everything whole as recommended by fellow tasters.
The oyster itself was fresh, salty and had a refreshing mineral yet creamy taste as described by our lovely and very knowledgeable server, the sweetness of the apple complimented the saltiness of the oyter and sharpness of the lemon. If i had to decribe it in one word: heavenly.
After i snapped out my giddy haze on trying a new taste and loving it we moved onto the second wine; a gorgeously sharp and aromatic Vavasour Pinot Gris from New Zealand. This was by far my favourite of the evening, ginger notes gave a delicate nuttiness and my nose tingled when taking a good inhale, always a good sign in my book.
Paired with this delicious wine was Scotch Bonnet cured salmon with avocado and heritage tomato on bruchetta. The warmth of the spice was just right, the fattiness of the salmon absorbing some of the kick and the soft avocado, ripe tomatoes and perfectly crisp bruchetta gave multiple delectable textures to this divine dish.
And last but no means least wonderful wine of the evening was a light, crisp Caves Road Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from Australia which was refreshing to the palette.
And to compliment this refreshing wine, thick plump slices of sesame crusted tuna tataki with tart grapefruit and sweet nasturtiums. Every bite was slowly savoured and i particuarly liked the sharp flavours of the small juicy pieces of grapefruit against the fleshiness of the tuna and hard nutty crunch of the sesame seeds.
By the end of the tasting we were firmly on cloud nine; oyster virginities lost and delicious wine after wine accompanied with some of the freshest, lightest seafood flavour combinations i have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
The staff were smiling, ready to talk through their extensive wine list and menu and i could easily have sat in their beautiful window seat all evening working my way through all they had to offer.
Treat a loved one or treat yourself and feast on the best fresh seafood Edinburgh has to offer.