Review of Kyloe
I was in Edinburgh for 24 hours and desperate to try steak in the land of the Angus and Highland cow. The scene was set. It was late on a freezing November evening, my stomach rumbled and my breath rose like vapour into the night. I looked up to see Edinburgh castle, lit up against the dark sky, imposing itself over Kyloe an Edinburgh restaurant focusing exclusively on Scottish meats.
You couldn’t accuse Kyloe of being understated. It sits on prime real estate; within a Hotel on the corner of Princes street and in the shadow of a castle. It’s lavishly decorated yet playfully references Dali, Warhol, Picasso and even James Bond through portraits of cartoon cows. The menu is just as flamboyant ranging from rib eyes to bizarre hybrid creations like Highland Wagyu (which is otherwise a Scottish cow with a Japanese accent).
Our waitress came to our table to explain the different cuts of steak. She carried an enormous board of steaks and what followed was one of the best overviews/introductions to a restaurant’s steaks that I have experienced. There was one twist in my Q&A which was that restaurant is not sure what breed of cow your steak will be coming from (they come from Scottish cows of the Limousin or Angus breeds). We decided to go for three rib eye steaks (300gm each). I went for a guest rib eye steak from Henderson farms while the other two went for the stock rib eyes.
The Steak looked beautiful. I joyfully carved into the steak but immediately noticed how stringy the meat was. It was hard to cut the steak. My heart sank. I eventually carved off a piece and tried it and I was struck by a sensation I have never had at a steakhouse before: a cold steak. I asked the others if their steak was a bit cold and they all agreed. The waitress came over and was mortified. She immediately picked up our plates and send them back to the kitchen. The management refreshed our sides while we waited. When the steak returned we noticed that two steaks had been completely refreshed while one had simply been reheated.
However, my refreshed steak was only slightly warmer than the first time around. Unfortunately things didn’t get better. The steak was neither tender nor tasty. There was no character, no redeeming quality. It’s like the cow died twice. The stock rib eyes were the same.
The sides including beef dripping chips, macaroni and cheese were excellent. The wine (medium body Gouguenheim Valle Escondido Blue Melosa 2013) was excellent and even the free bread provided was great. The steak let Kyloe down. I have to reinforce how exceptional the service was. Everything from the welcome, to the wine recommendations, to the introduction to the steaks, to the handling of our issues and even the little touches like knowing which steak and which sauce to present to each of us demonstrated excellent service. It’s just such a shame that Kyloe delivered everywhere except for the steak.
The Verdict on Kyloe
This is the tragedy of Kyloe; an otherwise exceptional restaurant let down by its supply chain. There is massive risk in not having strict control (and knowledge about the steak you are serving your customers & bringing in guest steaks). The experience contrasts directly with my recent visit to the Jones Family Project in London which has complete knowledge and influence over its supply chain or Macellaio who focus on a particular breed of cow from northern Italy and then age the meat in their restaurants. The result on both accounts is a consistent and delicious steak.
There’s much to recommend at Kyloe, just not the steak.