Sunday, 23 November 2014

Foodie Abroad, The Kitchin, Edinburgh

I've been a bit slow to write about this and I wasn't entirely sure why until D and I were talking yesterday and he said that I was hesitant because I didn't want to write something lukewarm.  I said that it was more like I didn't want to come across as blasé and spoiled.  Because I really liked The Kitchin.  It is a one Michelin star restaurant and it produces amazing food and exemplary service.  But it felt a bit...I dunno, akin to lots of other one Michelin star restaurants producing amazing food and exemplary service.  Which is the sort of comment that is going to get you accused of being blasé and spoiled.  You see my dilemma.

The Kitchin is all about produce and provenance and, maybe when it first started and Tom Kitchin became one of the youngest ever British chefs to earn said Michelin star, that was unusual.  But nowadays, even McDonalds is keen to tell us that it makes burgers from cows who live in the next field over.  Still, The Kitchin do take it impressively seriously - when we sat down we were handed a map of Scotland with many of the main suppliers marked out on it (and were delighted to see that the langoustines come from our beloved Tobermory.)

Let me talk about some of the stuff that I really liked then.  A whipped blue cheese dip topped with toasted buckwheat that was served with flatbreads as a pre dinner snack was so good that we used our fingers to get up every last morsel (and in the picture you get to see my chubby little arms in the background.  Lucky you.)

We both raved about the oyster ragout with salsify tagliatelle.  I think it was the first time that I had eaten a cooked oyster and enjoyed the way in which the cooking process mellowed the intense salinity.  Paired with the buttery tagliatelle, and shot through with confit lemon, this was perfectly balanced, seriously enjoyable and showed a delicate touch at work.

What else.  Oh, well we had the seasonal tasting menu (as opposed to the "classic" tasting menu) which included a delightful sweetbread dish that just sang of rich, smoky autumn.  The pearl barley risotto was a revelation - I didn't think I liked pearl barley!  This was good enough to change my mind.

There was a seriously old school cheese trolley, of which we both heartily approved (although at this point we were flagging and had to share a portion).  And desserts were again, quite old school (when was the last time you had a chocolate "gateaux" that wasn't from a box?) but none the worse for that.  I like puddings to be proper puddings.

So this then was unashamed old fashioned good cooking.  It was the first time in a long time that we felt so full after a tasting menu that we had to roll out of a restaurant (although I suspect the fantastic but ill advisedly late breakfast had something to do with that).  But it wasn't...exciting.  I suspect that this is my problem rather than The Kitchin's - exciting food shouldn't be a prerequisite of running a good restaurant.  It should be about quality, and this The Kitchin had in spades.  If you find yourself in Edinburgh then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it, I just don't necessarily think it is somewhere to which we would rush to return.

The Kitchin
78 Commercial Quay
0131 555 1755

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