The Sheep Heid Inn – A Tasteem Review

December 17, 2018 0 By NatalieM
The Sheep Heid Inn – A Tasteem Review

The Sheep Heid and Gutted Haddie don’t sound very appetising, but this combination made for a slap-up lunch on Saturday!

The Gutted Haddie is in fact a scrambly way to ascend Arthur’s Seat, a famous hill in the centre of Edinburgh. It was all part of the Christmas day out for a scrambling Meetup group that I’m a member of. We scrambled up to the top of Arthur’s Seat via the Gutted Haddie, and then strolled down to the Sheep Heid Inn in Duddingston, at the foot of the hill, for lunch.

It was a very cold day, but the forecasted snow did not show up. The weather and the rocks were dry – perfect conditions for scrambling.

“Gutted haddie” means gutted haddock, and it’s meant to be a description of these rocks.

But they were great for scrambling up – not slippery or smelly or fishy at all!

Arthur’s Seat is just 251m high, so we were soon at the top.

Me at the summit in my furry hat.

Having worked up an appetite, we made our way down to the part of Edinburgh known as Duddingston, where the Sheep Heid Inn is located.

Edinburgh is redolent with history, and the Sheep Heid Inn dates back to 1360! This makes it Scotland’s oldest surviving public house, apparently. Don’t worry – sheep’s head was not on the menu.

The interior is very clean and comfortable, and period style furniture has been retained. The bar has a good range of beers, real ales and whiskies, and the drinks menu is a booklet (on the table in the photo).

I found the descriptions of the wines were not very informative, with “easy drinking” resorted to far too often. It didn’t tempt me to try any of them. Instead, I ordered a half pint of Guinness.

We arrived at 12 noon, just as they were opening. The lunch menu offered a good selection of “gastropub” style fare at prices that were a bit on the premium side. This is a well-heeled area, and although we were the first to arrive, within about half an hour the pub was full of diners.

I ordered the Lobster & Devon Crab Fishcakes with asparagus, pea & truffle oil veloute, topped with crispy seaweed (£12.95). It was delicious, though the single asparagus was raw, or almost raw. I would have preferred it cooked.

The veloute dressing was lovely, with just a trimming of seaweed. I would have preferred a little more seaweed.

Lobster and Devon Crab Fishcakes.

There were 11 of us, but I only took photos of the meals ordered by the four people at my own table. My friend Malcolm had Crispy BBQ Chicken as part of a two-course Fixed Price Special. Together with the Soup of the Day, the cost was £11.95. He said it was delicious.

The full description was “Panko-coated chicken breast topped with Korean-style BBQ sauce with cucumber, mooli, carrot and fries.”

Crispy BBQ Chicken

Another friend, Mike, had Battered Halloumi with twice-cooked chunky chips, minted pea purée, and tartare sauce. He also chose the two-course Fixed Price Special at £11.95, with soup as a starter.

Mike said the halloumi (cheese) was delicious, but there was a bit too much batter. He said the chunky chips were fantastic.

Battered Halloumi with chunky chips.

My friend Nicky chose the King Prawn, Crab and Chorizo Linguine with white wine, tomatoes, garlic & chilli, as a Main, for £13.95. She said it was delicious, and much more filling than it looked. Actually she had trouble finishing it, and ignored a small dish of shaved parmesan cheese that came with it.

King Prawn, Crab & Chorizo Linguine.

The others said they enjoyed their food very much too.

The service was excellent, and despite the place being so busy, we didn’t feel we were being encouraged to eat up and go.

After our meal we enjoyed a walk back to the Scottish Parliament, where we’d met in the morning.

The route took us through a long tunnel with some interesting grafitti.

The day ended with a visit to the Edinburgh Markets and fairground. Two of my friends went on this ride, called the Yeti.

I decided to give it a miss!

Sheep Heid Inn opening times:

11am to 11pm Monday to Thursday
11am to midnight Friday to Saturday
12.30pm to 11pm Sunday
Food available: 12pm to 10pm Monday to Saturday,
12.30pm to 9.30pm Sunday


43-45 The Causeway, Duddingston, Edinburgh, EH15 3QA.