78 Commercial Quay, Leith, EDINBURGH, EH6 6LX
Tom and Michaela Kitchin's restaurant opened on Leith's waterfront back in 2006 and has played its part in taking Edinburgh to the top of the UK's list of dining destinations. Their hard work and vision has given the city a restaurant that could hold its own in any of the world's top culinary hotspots. The one-time whisky warehouse with its generous proportions and urban patina seems made for the job of hosting such a contemporary and dynamic restaurant. A recent renovation that stripped everything out and started again with a blank canvas has resulted in an engaging space that combines the cast-iron pillars of the country's industrial past with its natural environment via shades of slate and heather. It's very much a restaurant of our times - smart but not stuffy, serious but not stern. Tom's background includes stints with the great and the good of classical French cuisine and this, combined with his passion for fine Scottish ingredients, has resulted in dishes of refinement and astonishing technical accomplishment. There is precision in the presentation, too, with everything looking stunning on the plate, but never at the expense of flavour. Take a dish called 'rockpool', for example, rich with squab lobster, crab, cockles, oysters and more, interspersed with foraged seaweed and finished with a pungent consommé, and topped with a fabulous seaweed 'cannelloni', or the superbly well-judged signature, a boned and rolled pig's head delivering intense flavour, but not at the expense of the roasted langoustine tail and garlic-flavoured cracked claws that sit alongside, all helped along with a salad of crispy ears and gem lettuce to add textural interest. Next up, second-to-none John Dory arrives with gnocchi, pumpkin purée and some lightly sautéed kale in a main course that allows the superb fish to shine, or there might be loin of roe deer with a beautifully silky juniper jus. The phenomenally high level of skill and sound judgement continues into dessert stage, where a yogurt pannacotta is served with an apple sorbet and sea buckthorn from East Lothian, providing a perfectly judged balance of sweetness and sharpness, or another that combines pear and caramel to stunning effect. Every detail is considered here, nothing happens by chance and everything from the amuse-bouche (chilled beetroot velouté perhaps) and spectacular bread served with Scottish butter makes the experience memorable. It is worth saving room for cheese if at all possible, as when the trolley swings past there's a good chance you'll be hankering after its British-only cargo. The wine list favours France without ignoring the rest of the world and the selection by the glass means it's possible to drink something rather good without the need to stump up for a bottle.
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: £30.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.