78 Commercial Quay, Leith, EDINBURGH, EH6 6LX
A former whisky warehouse in Leith's regenerated docklands is home to a chef whose name seems to have predestined him for his trade: Tom Kitchin is one of Scotland's most dynamic chefs, and his reputation has gathered momentum since he (and wife Michaela) opened here in 2006. With a run of TV appearances playing their part and cookery books to spread the word, it's fair to say that he has played a leading part in positioning Edinburgh among the UK's top dining destinations. Recent renovation and expansion into the neighbouring premises has resulted in a stylish space that combines the cast-iron girders of the building's industrial heritage with shades of heather and marine blue, and textures of slate and oak echoing the natural environment that inspires the cooking. The place is a good fit with the 21st-century zeitgeist - smart but not starchy, serious but not pretentious. Having trained with such luminaries of classical French cuisine as Pierre Koffmann and French super-chef Alain Ducasse, you can be sure that Kitchin's technical skills are out of the top drawer and a passion for fine Scottish ingredients is reflected in the restaurant's 'nature to plate' philosophy that delivers dishes of refinement and astonishing precision. There is art in the presentation, too, with everything looking gorgeous on the plate, but never at the expense of flavour. It's all delivered via a seasonal à la carte, with a trio of tasting options (including a veggie version) and accompanying wine flights available if the whole table is up for it, plus a set lunch menu that offers remarkable value for food of this level. From the carte, an opening dish called 'rock pool' is rich with the finest, freshest fish and seafood, pointed up with foraged seaweed and finished with a punchy shellfish consommé. Or there could be boned and rolled pig's head in a harmonious composition with roast langoustine, crispy pig's ear salad to add textural variety, and gribiche cream. Next up, perhaps a splendid piece of roasted monkfish, landed at Scrabster, stuffed with spinach and served with winkles, lardons and an intense red wine sauce, while a meaty main course brings roasted breast of mallard with confit leg meat, carrot Tatin and an orange sauce. A typically seasonal dessert might showcase rhubarb, poached and sorbet alongside a crowdie cheesecake. Another unites chocolate and pumpkin in a light-as-air soufflé and in a ripple ice cream. The trolley laden with perfectly ripened British cheeses is hard to pass by, while the wine list majors in France without ignoring the rest of the world and the selection by the glass offers some rather good stuff without the need to tackle a whole 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.