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Issue 49 - High Society dining

Whisky Magazine Issue 49
July 2005

 

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High Society dining

The restaurant at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society ought to know about serving whisky with food. Just to check, Ian Buxton dined there twice in three days

It's just over a year since the Scotch Malt Whisky Society took a giant leap forward and opened its elegant premises at 28 Queen Street, Edinburgh.

For those of you who are not members of the Society (and you should be!), or if you don't know Edinburgh, this was a bold undertaking.

Queen Street is one of the premier locations in Edinburgh's ‘New Town,' so called because it was built in the 18th century. It was built as a series of large and stylish town houses overlooking some well-tended private gardens and is part of the Georgian heart of Edinburgh.

However, the street itself is now a very busy thoroughfare (don't get me started on the traffic management policies of Edinburgh City Council) and most of the houses have been converted to offices. Number 28 had fallen on hard times and was sadly in need of a major makeover.

In stepped the Society with plans for a central Edinburgh bolt-hole for their members: a haven of calm from the city's increasingly frenetic streets to be available without the inconvenience of getting to Leith, where the original Society HQ remains.

But it was a substantial project, far larger than anything they had ever previously attempted. And, in an ambitious departure, the ground floor was to be given over to a dedicated restaurant reserved for members and their guests.

I don't suppose I was alone in doubting the wisdom of this move. It seemed a risky venture and one that took the Society beyond its ‘core competence' (note deft use of managem...

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