Before going, the Living Room would not have been a typical place for me to choose for supper.
A chain, perhaps more commonly used as an après-work bar, I had an image of a loud, overcrowded and soulless place. I was wrong.
Walking past the discretely sectioned- off bar, the restaurant area is large with a mixture of booths and tables set in a warm, comfortable atmosphere.
We enjoyed delicious warm wholemeal ciabatta with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and rosemary (£3) and olives (£3) while we looked through the large menu. The combination of starters, lunch and main courses made it an almost overwhelming read. Perhaps with this in mind, a set menu is provided with around four or five options for each course.
I went with the two-course £11 set menu, choosing Thai fish cakes, served with marinated cucumber and sweet chilli sauce; followed by grilled sea bass on tomato, lime, chilli and coriander dressed noodles. The fish cakes were packed full of flavour and had quite an after-kick of chilli. The sea bass was served warm on the bed of cold noodles and was succulent and delicate. The dish was refreshing and had great flavours, even better, it was on the menu as a ‘less than 500 calories’ option. The only slight let-down was an overwhelming amount of red onion and tomatoes in the noodles.
My partner opted for scallops and Bury black pudding on a minted pea purée (£8.50) on the recommendation of our lovely waitress. Beautifully presented, the scallops tasted fresh and were perfectly cooked. The black pudding and pea purée were solid versions of a classic.
The duck breast (£16) — with Szechuan pepper and plum chutney, chilli-fried bok choi and sweet potato fondant — which followed was perfectly pink and juicy.
Undecided over the pudding selection, we opted for the sharing board of desserts (£12). The “basil grande” Eton mess was creamy, fruity and delicious, although I would not advise you share this between two people following two courses — you may be disappointed you cannot finish.
With excellent service from friendly, well-informed waiting staff, dining at the Living Room is relaxed and easy. The result is a restaurant with a solid, well-thought-out menu and fresh ingredients.
• The Living Room, 113-115 George Street, 0131-226 0880,