Having somehow managed to make it to my late twenties without having visited Scotland, we thought it was about time we rectified the situation. Last weekend we had our first taste of Scotland, and it was bloody marvellous.
Upon arrival in Edinburgh we were strapped for time and needed a quick food fix whilst we waited for our accommodation to be readied. So we stopped by a local middle eastern restaurant, Laila’s on Cockburn st. It was a cute little place covered in pictures of olives (I massively approved). The dips were good but the mains that were being ordered around us looked even better.
What we were saving ourselves for was well worth it though. As a special treat for my other half’s birthday and to try out the best of Scottish fine dining we hit the stylish Mark Greenaway restaurant in what felt like a very posh area of Edinburgh, and boy were we in for a treat. I’ve since read that Mark Greenaway is a serious dessert lover, well this was apparent as we ended up with not a three but a four course meal, comprising starter, main and two desserts.
The food was spectacular. My celeriac and confit chicken starter sounded like nothing much to write home about but packed a massive flavour punch. My partners crab cannelloni was also gorgeous. We both had fish mains, one of the big surprises for me was just how much great fish you can have in Edinburgh, both were outstanding, one with hake and the other with halibut. Absolutely delicious.
Then for the piece de resistance, between two of us, four desserts… A complimentary ‘pre-dessert’ which was easily the size of a full dessert and the main event itself. The pre was a beautiful little mousse inside a chocolate shell on a burnt orange jelly with a passion fruit swipe, sadly the restaurant was so dark I almost missed the swipe but it was fab. The main desserts were almost my favourite part of the whole meal. My partner had the signature chocolate tart which looked great though I didn’t actually get round to trying it as I was so stuck into mine, a strange sounding ‘jam jar’. It proved to be the most amazing rice pudding I’ve ever tried, in a jar as promised but topped with an incredibly light and refined whipped top and an outstanding pear sorbet.
Turn up the lights a little, it was a little disconcerting to not be able to see my food, romantic atmosphere notwithstanding, and turn down the heating some (it was slightly like a sauna) and it would have been perfect. But still, hats off to you Mr Greenaway, great food.
Next stop on our Scottish culinary adventure, after a long morning of climbing craggy peaks to Arthur’s seat, we felt we’d thoroughly earned a good lunch, and so we headed to Oink. A high street staple in Edinburgh, Oink specialises in one thing and one alone, hog roasts. There’s one in the window, smells great, tastes even better and at £4.95 for ‘the Grunter’ aka the biggest pork bun you’ll ever eat, it’s the best value lunch we could’ve had. And even better, it comes with a slather of haggis under the pork giving it even more flavour, though it barely needed it as it’s steeped in flavoursome meat juices. Here’s the beaut itself…
Last stop on the culinary tour bus of Edinburgh was a fish lovers paradise at the Mussel Inn (loved the name). From the outside and in it looked like a pretty standard fish and chips joint but once our starters arrived I knew it was far from it. We had delicious haggis bon bons and a fantastic dish of small scallops on a pepper sauce. My main was a beautiful sea bass on Greek salad, lightly grilled which worked with the salad brilliantly. And the moules frites also were worthy of mention.
With heavy hearts and even heavier bellies, we left Edinburgh, full for now but definitely looking forward to our next jaunt up north.
Only wish we’d had a chance to visit this beauty…