Dining with flair at David Bann

I tried being a vegetarian twice in my life. The first time lasted 3 months. The second time was after I watched the film Earthlings and I couldn’t touch meat (I tried eating meat but I felt ill) for 2.5 years. Even now I don’t really crave meat and only occasionally will get chicken from the supermarket but that’s pretty much it.

We first went to David Bann on St Mary’s Street 4 years ago for our very first Valentine’s Day which happened to also be Chinese New Year. As part of Taoist culture (a modern practice of Buddhist teachings with Chinese folk religion of various martial arts, feng shui, medicing, astrology and alchemy to name a few), Chinese New Year is the one day we go vegetarian to allow the animals a day of rest from slaughter. Tucked away between other quaint shops and restaurants just off the Royal Mile, you might miss this gem of a restaurant unless you look for it.

The restaurant is painted in deep shades of aubergine with a modern look of a high mirror panel facing the bar area when you walk through the door to an open floor plan and ceiling lights in the back room that remind me of looking up at the stars at night.

I really enjoy visiting David Bann, there’s so much choice in the menu that it’s quite hard to decide which dishes to go for. The ideas the restaurant comes up with for combinations of veggie dishes is quite impressive, for someone like me with a limited culinary mind. The only thing I really know to do with vegetables is to either cook them in the pan or oven and serve with pasta or rice!

The starters were absolutely amazing. I went with the smoked cheese and slow dried tomato tartlet which was served with a rocket side salad.

Tartlet of caramelised onion, smoked cheese and slow dried tomato

I blame it on tofu being a stable vegetable in our dishes growing up, so I wasn’t a big fan of the Thai fritters with tofu that the OH and his mum ordered, but I have to admit it did taste quite nice!

Thai fritter of broccoli and marinated tofu

Funnily, after perusing the menu, we all decided on the mushroom strudel. It was really just a big slab of chopped mushrooms mixed with cheese, rosemary and some other ingredients and presented in a thin layer of Filo pastry. I love my mushroom, but that strudel was am-a-zing!

Mushroom strudel with mash and Mediterranean veg

You can’t say no to dessert once you’ve seen the selection! This was honestly one of the hardest parts of the night: deciding what I wanted to have to end a really good dinner. Not being very adventurous, I went with the dark chocolate soufflé which was served with what tasted like homemade vanilla ice cream that was decadence in a scoop.

Dark chocolate soufflé

We all ended up ordering different desserts and tried each others and all were very tasty and definitely made our experience feel like we’ve indulged for the night in good food, even if the carnivore in the OH’s dad was protesting at the lack of meat served.

Lemon and strawberry posset

Vanilla and raspberry ice cream – with real raspberry pieces in the ice cream!

Ginger and lime ice cream with orange cake

I can honestly admit I haven’t been to that many vegetarian restaurants, but compared to Henderson’s, I feel there’s a lot more choice and I definitely left feeling satisfied.

David Bann can be found at 56-58 St Mary Street. To reserve a table, phone 0131 556 5888 or send an e-mail to info@davidbann.co.uk


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