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The Kitchin

78 Commercial Quay, Leith, EDINBURGH, EH6 6LX

4 rosettes

Tom and Michaela Kitchin opened in a converted bonded whisky warehouse in the Leith redevelopment in 2006. It's been a wild ride since then, involving TV appearances for Tom (never the most obviously self-publicising of chefs) and a reputation that has rippled out from the waterfront of the Scottish capital to far-distant shores. That reputation has been built on a thoroughgoing approach to freshness and seasonality, of course (who doesn't claim that?), but here, the seriousness of intent is reflected in the buying of meat and fish in as close to its natural state as possible, so that all the butchering and filleting is done on the premises. The dedication and skill that involves reflects Kitchin's classical training under Ducasse and Koffmann, two of the French maîtres still casting long shadows over the global restaurant world, but the focus is naturally on Scotland's own produce (from spoots to Highland Wagyu), in a philosophy where the tagline 'From nature to plate' actually means something. What really distinguishes Kitchin's cooking, though, is that it is conceived first and foremost with attention to impact on the palate, rather than ideas in the head. The spoots (razor clams) from Arisaig are cooked à point, having nothing of the leathery blandness so often encountered, adorned with diced vegetables, crumbled chorizo and preserved lemon for a mouthful of fabulous sea-savoury richness. Marine flora is brought widely into play, with sea purslane a salty, textural garnish to potato and seaweed terrine with braised squid, and to seared scallops with puréed fennel. It's hard to tear yourself away from the bounty of the seas, when mains might include poached Scrabster monkfish cooked on its iron rod of a bone with squid and winkles and saffron, accompanied dramatically by black squid pasta. Meats are unmissable too, however, perhaps duck breast and leg pastilla with a caramelised endive tart and a dazzling take on classic orange sauce, or Orkney beef shin, braised osso buco-style and served with potatoes cooked with the bone marrow. There are nods to much older traditions in these modern compositions, which give the diner welcome relief from the relentless avante-garderie found elsewhere, and also a real understanding of how flavours develop to the point of utmost concentration through the ancient arts of cooking and seasoning, rather than goofball technological intervention. Dessert might be simple rhubarb cheesecake with jelly and sorbet, or a more daring coffee soufflé with an ice cream made from Alloa's Midnight Sun stout.

Further information

Tel: 0131 555 1755
Please quote 'The AA'.
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User rating: 4 out of 5 (1 user review)
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Open/closed

Days closed: Sun-Mon
Dates closed: Xmas, New Year, 1st 2 wks Jan

Restaurant information

Cooking type: Scottish, French
Chef: Tom Kitchin
Number of seats: 50
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Disabled toilets.
Vegetarian meals available.
Children's portions.
No children under 5 yrs.
Parking available.

 

Restaurant price guide

A La Carte Dinner Main Course from: £28.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.

 
 

User reviews

User rating: 4 out of 5 (1 user review)

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User rating: 4 out of 5

Once again we had enjoyed an evening with the wow factor, cooking of the highest level using the best of local ingredients and beautifully presented; the food was complemented by the pleasurable ambience of the well-managed dining room and an informative chat with the chef.

Reviewer: acko_10, Winchester
Visited: 09 October 2013

135 of 242 people found this review helpful.
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The Kitchin, Edinburgh

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In Leith opposite Scottish Executive building
Nearest station: Waverley

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