Situated on the cobbled William’s Street, ‘The Voyage of Buck’ is a newly opened bar and restaurant from The Big Red Tea-pot company, who also run The Blackbird, Treacle and Hamilton’s. As soon as you step foot inside this restaurant you will be transported back to the glamorous jazz age of the 1920s, the atmosphere created by the dimly lit but romantic candlelight. ‘The Voyage of Buck’ manages to amalgamate both the seductive speakeasy style of the prohibition, luring you in with their wall of endless glistening bottles, with the cosy and familiar atmosphere of a gastro-pub, allowing you to keep the company of man’s, four – legged best friend with you whilst you enjoy your meal.
The concept for the restaurant was founded on the fictional character, ‘William “Buck” Clarence’, whom allegedly lived, from 1900-1935, in the very same building. The restaurant subtly celebrates the character’s life as it takes you on a “Voyage”, exploring the countries in which he travelled, through food and drink. Buck was a Philanthropist, Polo player and travel companion of the Grandson of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert Victor. Fascinated by both his travels and the literature of the 20th century, the restaurant team have successfully created a bar influenced by his globe-trotting; categorising the cocktail menu by the cities in which he was most struck by: Paris, Taipei, Havana and Cairo. However they still manage to stay clear from giving off the impression that it is a themed bar.
As soon as my date and I arrived we were met with a warm, friendly greeting and led to our table, one of the apparently more sought after booths, to which we were promptly given a drinks menu to lust after their endless list of cocktails. The casual and relaxed atmosphere was created by the staff that waited on us, being incredibly attentive and friendly and engaging in conversation with us as if we were old friends. However this did not deter from the professionalism that was carried throughout the service. This attentiveness was also portrayed in the food as every single dish that we ordered was presented with an original artistic flare; so much so that you almost didn’t want to eat it as not to spoil the presentation… almost. Fortunately the flavours of each dish were too good not to devour the entire plateful. Between my date and I, we managed to polish off a cocktail each to wet our appetites (mine inspired by Taipei, my dates, Paris), three courses each, and one of the restaurants signature sharing cocktail bowls, ideal to share between a large group, or just two on a girly night out! The team have resourcefully exploited Edinburgh’s seafood market, the menu including hot smoked salmon, grilled tiger prawns, seared scallops and a type of cod stew, all of these we sampled throughout the meal. My favourite dishes of the evening were without a doubt the grilled tiger prawn, chilli jam and butternut squash starter and the deconstructed ginger pudding with butterscotch and dehydrated bananas. The only disappointing part of the meal was my chocolate terrine, which came out as more of a brownie than a terrine, however, nonetheless it was rich and delicious and if this is anything to go by, the meal was pretty damn good.
From their creatively named cocktails, each one representing an entirely unique story reflecting the individual taste of the drink, to the purposefully mismatched crystal water bottles, to the matching patterns on the ceiling and coasters, attention to detail is one thing that ‘The Voyage of Buck’ does not lack in. To be completely honest this restaurant is probably a bit out of the normal student budget for a casual meal out (Cocktails averaging at a price of £8), however if you are wanting to impress a special someone or really treat your latest tinder date this would be the ideal place to go to.