The Gardener’s Cottage – Edinburgh
Entirely picturesque, this chocolate box cottage sits symmetrically at the end of a very well-kept path. Lined with row after row of vegetables, leafy stalks of rhubarb greet us followed by an assortment of fresh herbs complete with blossom. Having not had a chance to do my research (instead just basing our reservation on recommendations, of which there was plenty) we are sold on first impressions!
The restaurant is absolutely what is says on the box; a beautifully simplistic cottage, adorned with stacked jars of pickles, vegetables fermenting and wines well stacked and stored. The walls are cream and clean, the early evening light spills in through the front windows and fills this simplistic yet beautiful peaceful space. There are two rooms; the one we reside in has two long tables, old school chairs, and feels airy and calm. The open petite kitchen is just behind us. Everything that arrives feels very connected and so aligned to this beautiful space and the gardens that surround it. Each of the seven dishes that we devour is plated on incredible hand-turned pottery, rustic and desirable but not distracting to its contents.
The shared tables give the feeling of intimacy, you could easily be mistaken for thinking this is a supper club in someone’s home. Service is friendly and informal while informative. Drinks are beautifully crafted and delicate in flavour. As a dirty martini lover, I opted for the Gardener’s Martini, The Botanists Islay Gin, Belsazar rose, vermouth, rhubarb. In equal parts dry, clean with a hint of brine and salt. The drinks’ list is one to be worked through; unique and interesting and recommendations are worth taking as the staff know what this menu inside and out.
The ever changing menu is set for everyone to sample. The braised and roasted carrot salad with carrot puree and fresh cheese is a highlight, flavours feel clean and well matched and close to the surrounding environment. The lobster, wild leeks, channel wrack, cashew puree arrives perfectly cooked, sweet and fresh with the cashews adding a more neutral setting for the lobster to take centre stage. Deer, cauliflower puree, wild garlic comes next. Rich and smooth in texture we love this dish: an incredible red wine jus accompanies it, adding to the luxury of the well matched dish.
After such a rich dish (which I’d eat again right) now comes a spring time broth to cleanse the palette ahead of the preserved pear and honeycomb which although full we’re not painfully so meaning we devour eagerly. This very complimentary concoction feels rural, apt and in line with our surroundings. We finish on a second sweet of apple and marjoram. Definitely full and relishing every mouthful we’re more than content, in fact giddy with fullness. Wine, biodynamic and perfectly paired with each course was a credit the team choosing it.
Such a treat it was to find this hidden spot that we’d recommend it to anyone visiting the city. Calm, low key with acute attention to detail makes for a really uniquely rural experience.