Restaurant review: Tower Restaurant

A museum may not sound like an impressive setting for a restaurant. All too often more canteen than dining room, museum restaurants are rarely the first choice of those seeking the gourmet.

But discount them altogether and you could be missing out on some top dining experiences – literally. At the National Museum of Scotland in fact, you would be missing out on the chance to eat at Scotland’s very first rooftop restaurant.

Tower is located on the fifth floor of the museum, with views of the castle and the city’s skyline from its large glass windows. Squint and you might just see the sea – and this is where much of the menu comes from. Sure, there are steaks, but this is Scotland and it would be rude not to revel in the country’s fantastic shellfish.

And so we start with oysters, farmed on the Sound of Cumbrae on the country’s west coast, and served with mignonette, Tabasco and lemon. Next up scallops, hand-dived around the Isle of Mull and served with black pudding and apple, before the main event – a whole Isle of Skye lobster thermidor.

Everything is messy, abundant, delicious. This bounty of succulent seafood is to me what Scotland is all about – along with, naturally, a whisky to finish with. Tower has a great range, from the islands, the Highlands, Speyside and the Lowlands and sitting back with a Lagavulin 16-year-old is the perfect end to a thoroughly Scottish meal.

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