A Visit to Edinburgh

Saturday, November 19th , 2016

castle from Princes street-crop-v4.JPG 

Timberyard brings the latest in fashionable dining habits to Edinburgh. There is a no-choice tasting menu, some of the greenery is foraged, the waiters have tattoos, the dining room is murkily lit and the desserts have shrubbery lurking in them. This is not my kind of food, though it was harmless enough, but I was genuinely impressed by the waiters, who were terrific. However as a food experience I can throw a stick in Shoreditch and hit something similar.

Ondine is a seafood restaurant that seems to make a lot of effort to connect to its suppliers and to seek the very best Scottish fish and shellfish. The dining room is modern and attractive, and we had some good dishes, such as nice tempura squid and excellent wild sea bass. Desserts were not quite to the same level, but this was a very enjoyable meal.

The bizarrely named Scran & Scallie is the casual sister of Kitchin, a wildly successful pub-style restaurant serving an average of almost 200 customers a day. Despite the scale, the meal that we had was really excellent, in particular some lovely langoustines and fabulous hand-dived scallops. Even fish and chips was of a much higher standard than it is reasonable to expect. Service was friendly and I was really taken aback by just how good the standard of the cooking here was. If you are in Edinburgh, make a beeline for this place.

Mother India is commonly reckoned the best Indian restaurant in Glasgow, and has a more casual outlet in Edinburgh called Mother India café. The meal I had there was decent enough, the best dish being a quite good fish pakora, made with haddock farther than tilapia. However a chicken curry was nondescript, and an aloo gobi had vegetables cooked a little longer than ideal. Not a bad place overall, and inexpensive; they could make a nice paratha, though the service was terrible. 

Kitchin (pictured) has expanded since I last visited six years ago, but this increase of scale had no effect on the level of cooking based on the meal that I had. It still showcased the very best of Scottish produce, from fine red deer to superb cannelloni of langoustines served with a fabulous crab veloute. The latter was old-fashioned French culinary technique as its best, reflecting Tom’s training in some very serious kitchens in France. For me this was, once again, a two star level meal.

Three Michelin guides came out recently. The Hong Kong and Macau guide was fairly uneventful, with no change at the three star level. Hong Kong now has 6 three star restaurants, 15 two stars and 41 one stars, and Macau has a pair of three stars, 5 two stars and 12 one star places. There was a brand new guide to Seoul, with two three star restaurants Goan and La Yeon, along with 3 two stars and 10 one stars, including the San Pellegrino favoured Jungsik. The New York guide appeared too, with no chage at the three star level, a brand new two star in the form of Aska, and a demotion for the much loved Gramercy Tavern. In all, New York now has 6 three star restaurants, 10 two star, and 60 one stars.