Hidden in the West End of Edinburgh on the cobbles of the adorably quaint William St is a brand new cocktail bar and restaurant called The Voyage of Buck. Intrigued by the name? Thankfully, it is explained in their menu. So here’s the low down: there was a dude called William ‘Buck’ Clarence who used to live in the house where the bar is now and he was pretty interesting. The travelling buddy of Prince Albert Victor (Queen Vic’s grandson) as well as being pals with Ernest Hemingway, as you do. He was also an advocate of music and theatre so that made me happy to read. The cocktail menu is split into the 4 main cities of Buck’s travels; Paris, Taipei, Havana and Cairo so the idea is that through alcohol, you travel around the world. Pretty awesome. The decor makes my bloggy and marketing student brain happy and the attention to detail is unreal. The whole place has a vintage-y feel but has elements of quirk that give you something to talk about – such as a bright yellow piano or the massive case full of rubber ducks suspended from the ceiling. It’s such a cool place to be.
The drinks menu has so many options of bespoke cocktails, each themed by one of the four cities. Initially it seems like a lot to take in, but the staff at TVOB were really helpful with recommendations and explaining what everything was. My friend, Danielle, and I decided to get a couple of different drinks so we could try them out, although we were apparently feeling Parisian because all three cocktails were from the French selection. We ordered the Les Enfants Terrible (margarita glass) which contains Tapatio Blanco, Calvados Pere Magloire, Amontillado Sherry, lemon, bay leaf syrup and egg white – the brandy and sherry give it that warming feeling whilst the lemon kept it fresh and the foam was sweet and soft. The Josephine Baker (champagne flute) was Ketel One, Ketel One Citreon, St Germain, Lillet Blanc, Pink Grapefruit and was topped up with prosecco – if you enjoy vodka and prosecco then you’re good, but the best part is that it’s named after a flamboyant topless dancer who excited 20’s Paris. Finally, my favourite was the cocktail called C’est Beau La Vie, made up of Bombay Sapphire, Pear Cognac, lavender syrup, lemon and Crème de Mûre – it was fruity and sweet but with a much appreciated lick of sourness, 10/10.
The food menu is small but has something for everyone (including gluten free and vegan options), they also have small and large plates which is ideal for varying appetites – we obviously went for large plates. Danielle ordered the chicken parmesan with dauphinoise potatoes, a lemon verbena salsa verde and crispy chicken crackling. She said the potatoes were delicious, chicken was really soft and paired with the brisket on top was a really tasty combination. I had the confit Gressingham duck leg with duck spring roll, plum red chilli jam, choy sum and dehydrated yuzu, and we got some chips to share. I have to say, that is the best duck I have ever tasted in my life, so beautifully tender that my fear of having to carve things off the bone was not an issue. Also you gotta appreciate the small things and damn they make the best chips.
The Voyage of Buck is cute, sophisticated and quirky with a great concept and a cool atmosphere. Also they have a breakfast menu that serves until 4pm which looks delicious, worth keeping in mind the next time I’m in that all day breakfast mood. I definitely want to go back so that I can continue my voyage of cocktails from around the world and just because I thought it was a really cool place. Whether you’re looking for food or drinks, I would totally recommend Buck!
You can find TVOB at 29-31 William Street, Edinburgh.