78 Commercial Quay, Leith, EDINBURGH, EH6 6LX
A former whisky warehouse in Leith's dockside is home to one of Scotland's most dynamic chefs, whose name seems wholly suited to the trade. Tom Kitchin's star has risen since he (and wife Michaela) opened here in 2006, with TV appearances and cookery books to his name. With a CV that boasts time with Alain Ducasse and Pierre Koffmann, Kitchin's wealth of classical training and experience meant he hit the ground running. The 'nature to plate' philosophy is adhered to here with fervent passion, no mere lip service, but a dedication to the best ingredients at the very best time of the year. The restaurant itself reflects the wild colours of Scotland's countryside, with tones reminiscent of heather and granite, and an upscale sheen that befits the inspiration of the kitchen and the aspirations of the clientele. Those supreme ingredients arrive at the door in pristine condition and are turned into beautiful looking plates of food that spark with clever ideas and technical virtuosity, yet never compromise the integrity of the produce itself. The à la carte is the mainstay of the menu options, with a tasting version available if the whole table is up for it, plus a set lunch menu that amounts to pretty decent value at this level. From the carte, a starter of crispy Highland ox tongue lays down a marker, served with pearl barley risotto, pumpkin and sage, while another might see hand-dive Orkney scallops seared and partnered with a ragout of sea kale from Eassie Farm in Angus. Among main courses a splendid piece of turbot, landed at Peterhead, might steal the show, served with shellfish ravioli and a green crab consommé, but, then again, there's also sea bass poached in red wine with a leek à la crème, squid, winkles and sea purslane. Difficult choices must be made. A meaty main course might be crispy veal sweetbreads served with roasted seasonal vegetables from St Andrews, or roasted mallard with endive Tatin and an orange sauce. This is contemporary cooking with clever twists and turns, but everything is so perfectly judged it simply seems timeless. Desserts maintain the excitement. A baked cheesecake with poached rhubarb and a jelly and sorbet of the same, competes for attention with a glazed lemon tart with a lemon macaroon and frozen yogurt, and there are British cheeses in perfect condition served from the trolley.
Tel: 0131 555 1755
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Days closed: Sun-Mon
Dates closed: Xmas, New Year, 1st 2 wks Jan
Cooking type: Scottish, French
Chef: Tom Kitchin
Number of seats: 75
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Vegetarian meals available.
No children under 5 yrs.
A La Carte Dinner Main Course from: £29.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.