Edinburgh trip report
Restaurant Martin Wishart
We ate ALC here and had a fantastic meal. Interesting cauliflower-based amuses.
I had scallop with white truffle risotto which was a £10 supplement but had incredible flavour with perfectly cooked scallops. My wife had sweetbreads with chanterelles which was also an excellent dish.
For main the sea bass in salt crust was an incredible fish and very theatrical although ever so slightly undercooked in the middle.
My hare dish with canneloni was superb.
The desserts were a letdown though, a reasonable souffle (significantly inferior to The Kitchin's) and my caramel delice was over-sweet and just lacked any focus or flavour.
Service is quite stiff in some respects, certain waitstaff were excellent but at times it did stray into that over-formal fine dining awkwardness which is just a pain.
Overall though this is really stellar cooking, the savoury courses were at a 2* level certainly. Really highly recommended.
Thanks very much Abby D for the recommendation. We enjoyed our meal here. It is incredible what they do devising a new menu each day at 4pm depending on what comes up. Not everything was flawless but that was to be expected. Not much point going into too much detail on the menu but pickled pear and mutton was wonderful flavours with slightly overcooked meat. Herb bread was good, Arbroath smokie was fantastic and dessert custard tart also very enjoyable. Some of the courses in between had missteps but nothing disastrous. Service is lovely.
When the bill came I asked my wife to guess how much we were paying each for 6 courses and bread and she said £55. The fact that it's £25 is really just astonishing value for cooking of this variety and quality. Ridiculously so.
The huge negative for us was that there was a lovely room with an open kitchen, heater and music. Then there is a freezing cold silent side room with a horrible draught in which they dump 3 unlucky couples including us. If you book you must request the main room, to the point where I'd strongly advise against going if you are going to be in the overflow room.
The Grain Store
A lovely restaurant in the centre of town focusing on Scottish ingredients in a beautiful room above Victoria street. The menu is the kind where you want everything.
A mushroom risotto was lovely although I was still coming off the high of my scallop and truffle one at MW to which nothing could compare! A generous and well-balanced lobster cocktail was also great.
Roe Deer was well-cooked and generously served with liver and a pastilla. A second serving of the risotto was much less generous and had added leaves suggesting that the pot had run out while house smoked salmon was accompanied by an (unadvertised) cooked piece which again gave the impression the kitchen had run out of the smoked stuff. The fact that several dishes had run out by the time we came to order reinforced this impression.
Overall this is a lovely restaurant using superb Scottish ingredients with great service in a fantastic room in a central location at reasonable (not cheap) prices. It was a bit of a shame about the availability of the dishes I wanted and the slight hotch-potch makeup of later courses but that shouldn't detract from a great all-round experience.
A quick lunch before the train back to London. Was delighted they had Nyetimber by the glass.
I had a salad of smoked haddock, quail's egg and perfectly seasoned pink fir potatoes. I also had a decent partidge main with a leg pastilla, cabbage and gnocchi. My wife's squid starter and Woodcock and fois gras main (supplemented) were both excellent, the latter incredibly rich. We had a quick taste of the woodcock brain and left the rest...
Apple Souffle with vanilla ice cream was the best I've ever had, significantly better than the MW version and really beautiful dessert especially for a set lunch.
Unfair to compare a £26 set lunch menu with a £70 ALC but we really did enjoy the Kitchin and at the lunch menu price it's great value for such good cooking. Service was overall very good and I really liked the dining room and the chance to have your coffee in chairs by the fire. Nice to see a British chef in his kitchen on a Tuesday lunchtime, you'd never catch most London chefs doing that...
So overall a great trip, what a brilliant city Edinburgh is in general and for food as well. Thanks to everyone who helped in this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/875618