Set within the shadows of Edinburgh castle, this nineteenth century warehouse, once housing props and costumes then timber before becoming the vast restaurant space it is today, offers an incredible culinary journey, incorporating all that’s local, home grown, sustainably sourced and organic. Stripped back with exposed steel girdles and double height timber ceilings creating the perfect cocoon for the precious array of dishes being served. This place instantly feels special. Aesthetic is backed up with substance and unique flavours and combinations of those flavours. Although we run out of time for a tour there’s outdoor seating and a private outdoor area, also complete with fire, that accommodates up to ten and looks like a more than perfect spot to spend an evening with friends.
My line of questioning when trawling the drinks list starts with the cocktails. Obscure concoctions arrive deliciously and subtly mixed including the oxidised vermouth, trout skin, cleavers, vodka and the plum, mint and caraway aquavit. Delicate, clean and fresh on the palette, surprisingly so given what my mind had already preconceived. Another we’re curious to try, but don’t get round to, is the chicken skin, cep, salt yeast caramel whisky. Completely compelling and unlikely pairings have us intrigued at the menu to come.
To my delight tasting menus arrive: one entirely vegetarian, one pescatarian, one vegan and one including meat. Of course this would be the way here; so modern in its approach to all things consumable that they’re in touch with the demands of today. There’s the option of four, six or eight course menu. Four courses starting from £45, six courses at £55 and for dinner you can opt for the full eight courses at £75. We’re there for lunch so choose the four courses, in fact I sample the vegetarian menu, an ode to The Vegetarian husband who’s absent for this meal, my dining companion chooses the pescatarian. Even in choosing a set menu, you’re given options to choose between. You get the sense the chefs are keen to please which is always a welcome relief.
Home baked rye bread arrives with home cured salami and pickled gherkin plus a generously salted butter. The true appreciation for this place starts here!
Dishes of home-made cheese, lovage, tomato and fennel follow, on arriving a herbed light sauce almost like a broth is added to the prettiest of rustic hand turned ceramic bowls. Simplistic and fresh with an earthy garden note. Next the we both opt for the asparagus, goats butter, truffle, hemp, herbs. So delicate and beautiful in it’s presentation you almost don’t want to disturb the display. Layers of herbs and subtle flavours sit alongside the variation of herbs and crunch of hemp seeds. It’s delicious. Next our menus part ways, the artichoke, sunflower seed, onion, apple, smoked butter arrives for me and a plate of buttery halibut, clams, salsify, artichoke and white asparagus for my companion. Both equally seduced by the dishes in front of us that we barely take a breath, other than to share the fare in front of us with mutual appreciation. Dessert is strawberry, lemon verbena, sheep’s milk which covers all textures and levels of tartness balanced out with creamier variations. These ever changing menus, reliant on seasonality of produce and what can be foraged that day are what make us fall head over heals for this place. Service is on point, not too fussy, super friendly and people you’d imagine being friends with, all obviously passionate and proud of what they’re part of.
If you’re like me and have an never ending list of restaurants to try then add this one to it, just make sure you get round to making that reservation.