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3 Royal Terrace, EDINBURGH, EH7 5AB

4 rosettes

The name may at first appear rather odd: is it the restaurant's phone number by any chance? Or could it just be that 1 and 2 are the chef's lucky numbers? Thankfully, 21212 makes slightly more sense than that: it depicts the format of a meal here, in that you'll get five courses with a choice of two starters, two mains and two desserts, with one soup course and a cheese course in between (that is, unless you dine at lunchtime when you can choose from three, four or five courses). In an elegant Georgian townhouse right in the heart of Edinburgh's Royal Terrace, 21212 is the culmination of a lifelong dream for Paul Kitching, a prodigiously talented chef who champions a style of cooking that many aspire to but few achieve thanks to his classical French training complemented by his exhaustive knowledge of food and, in particular, combinations of ingredients. Together with his partner Katie O'Brien (who looks after things out front with endless charm and professionalism), Kitching has created a sumptuously stylish restaurant with rooms (four rather luxurious ones at that). The high-ceilinged dining room retains its original ornate plasterwork and is enhanced with curvaceous banquettes, muslin-draped walls and a chocolate-brown carpet decorated with giant moths. At one end of the room there are windows looking out over the Royal Terrace and the gardens beyond, while at the other a patterned glass partition separates diners from the kitchen, where Kitching and his seven-strong team can be seen hard at work day in, day out. And so, back to that menu: dishes are described, unusually, in great detail, with every ingredient listed, as in a starter of 'all things mushroom and cauliflower' which is 'creamy Italian style risotto, an assiette of exotic mushrooms, truffles and morels, romanesque and button cauliflowers, breakfast radish and crosnes, mozzarella cheese and greens, piccalilli mayonnaise'. It may well sound confused but when the dish arrives it all makes sense - all those ingredients mentioned are there, presented immaculately in a small, high-sided bowl, and the balance of flavours is mind-blowingly good. Next up could be 'French corn-fed chicken, potatoes and spicy popcorn' - an exercise in textural contrasts with a multitude of cooking techniques in evidence and a combination of flavours that works incredibly well ('sweetcorn, garlic and swede fries, capers and pistachio nuts, hot spicy popcorn, leeks, white beans, streaky bacon, crispy pancake and sweet pickle, curried yellow pea purée, smoked ham'). And there are more treats in store at dessert stage when the likes of 'apricot and ginger, white chocolate and almonds, banana and mango' arrive to tantalise your taste buds and take you on a journey like no other. With such fun, imaginative, exciting, creative and yet technically brilliant cooking on offer, it's no wonder 21212 has joined the ranks of the UK's destination restaurants.

Further information

Tel: 0131 523 1030
& 0845 222 1212
Please quote 'The AA'.
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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: £20.00
3 Course lunch from: £28.00
3 Course dinner from: £48.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.



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