Martin Wishart, one of three Michelin starred restaurants in the Edinburgh gastro-strip in Leith, is producing at the moment some of the most accomplished cooking in the UK.
Our last two lunches there, last year and a few days ago, were phenomenal. The control and intensity of flavours shone in dishes of remarkable intricacy. As in this very Mediterranean FILLETS OF RED MULLET WITH ISLE OF MULL DIVED SCALLOP with
braised fennel, artichoke, crisp aubergine, confit shallot and tomato vinaigrette
or this Moreish CHAR GRILLED PRESA OF ACORN FED IBERICO PORK with minted peas and runner beans, pop corn of pork skin with a sour cherry sauce
(the one in the back is not a scallop but a potato sublimely crispy on the edges and moist inside).
Wishart has long been an enthusiast for mixing land and sea, and he succeeds spectacularly, like in this breathtaking starter of LANGOUSTINE TORTELLINI AND PIGS TROTTER with Soubise spinach and langoustine cappuccino.
in which the powerful flavours were resting against each each other with monumental grace. Or like in this more ethereal
LOCH FYNE CRAB “MARIE ROSE” AND VEAL TARTARE with white radish and Basque pepper
which however presented the interesting geometrical problem of how to remove one stick without destroying the rest of the structure.
At the start of our meal, we were intrigued by an amuse bouche of scallop with ink, that harked back to, and yet was so different from, a Pierre Koffman’s classic that we love.
While in Koffman’s version the play is all netween sweet and salty, here there is also an exciting acidic dimension generated by the foam of ??? – well, wish we could remember, surely there was some vinegar.
Everything is frighteningly meticulous here, including the service. When we were taking one of the photos, a waiter anxiously sprinted towards us begging us to let him fill our glass (which we had declined a minute before) because ‘it would look like a service error’!
The only other frightening aspect here are the prices of water (£5.50 for 0.75 l), of coffee & petit four (£6), and the steep markups on wine (around here however you’ll not be frowned upon if you ask for a jug of tap water). However, since you can have what is essentially a full 2* meal for £65 (or a tasting menu at £70, or £60 at luch for a slightly reduced one), with top raw material prepared at the highest level of fine cuisine, it’s a fright one easily gets over.