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3 Royal Terrace, EDINBURGH, EH7 5AB

4 rosettes

At first glance 21212 might seem like a fairly standard high-end restaurant. It's in a rather handsome Georgian terraced house, for example - Royal Terrace no less - and there's a decidedly plush finish to the interior. But look more closely and you'll spot some quirkier design touches - yes, those are giant moths on the carpet - and the menu itself is far from typical of anything you're likely to have seen before. This is the domain of Paul Kitching and Katie O'Brien, a couple who go their own way to stunning effect. The name of the place needs some explanation: 21212 is the menu format, or at least it was until it changed. The deal is five courses with a choice of two starters, two mains and two desserts, with one soup course and a cheese course in between. That's the deal for lunch, anyway, with the dinner menu now adding another choice at each course - 31313. But, hey, they go their own way. What's in a number? The high-ceilinged restaurant retains its original ornate plasterwork and has been given a classy finish with curvaceous banquettes, muslin-draped walls and windows looking out over Royal Terrace and the gardens beyond, while at one end a patterned glass partition separates diners from the open-to-view kitchen. Katie manages the front of house with charm and professionalism while Paul and his team beaver away in the kitchen crafting some technically astounding food. This is modern, creative stuff. Menu descriptions can seem a little overwhelming as every element of each dish gets a name-check, but the service team can help bring enlightenment, and you're in safe hands anyway. There's some humour too, as in a first course on the dinner menu called 'chick, chick, chicken', which consists of breast of the corn-fed bird with butterbeans, smoked mackerel and red tipped chicory, plus French plum tomatoes and pommes dauphinoise sauce. It is remarkable at this level that the menu changes so frequently - weekly in fact - with dishes coming and going at a pace that reflects the inventive energy of Paul Kitching. A main course dish of 'well pruned beef, breaded prawn & coleslaw' is another thrilling combination, while another is called 'grilled mixed thrill' and puts together tender pork fillet with smoked duck, corned beef, bacon, haggis, lamb's kidney and gammon. Expectation is high by dessert stage and they don't disappoint: lemon curd cheesecake tart, for example, with pineapple juice and creamed cheese. The wine list is a class act, too.

Further information

Tel: 0131 523 1030
& 0845 222 1212
Please quote 'The AA'.
Send an email


Days closed: Sun-Mon
Dates closed: 2 wks Jan, 2 wks summer

Restaurant information

Cooking type: Modern French
Chef: Paul Kitching
Number of seats: 36
Steps for wheelchair: 6
Disabled toilets.
Children's portions.
No children under 5 yrs.


Restaurant price guide

2 Course lunch from: £22.00
3 Course dinner from: £49.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.

21212, Edinburgh
  • 21212, Edinburgh
  • 21212, Edinburgh


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