“An astonishing tour de force of surprises” helps make Paul Kitching’s Calton townhouse a “brilliant” destination for most reporters; as in his Manchester days, however, this style is a touch “polarising” – a minority of reporters finds his food “too fussy”(or even “messy and confused”).
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Tracey MacLeod (8th February 2010)
Food 3/5 stars, Ambience 4/5 stars, Service 4/5 st
Ah yes, it’s the pulling power of that famous guide again: “[o]nly three other tables were occupied on a midweek lunchtime”, just after Paul Kitching’s ambitious new restaurant was awarded its Michelin star. The food turns out to be “far from conventional, and some of it just “an assault on the taste buds” “Kitching has claimed that his Edinburgh move would see him putting aside his youthful excesses to focus on a more serious style of cooking”, notes the critic. “But I imagine his eccentricities will still prove challenging to many Edinburgh diners. The Michelin men may be impressed; but it's the Morningside ladies he really needs to win over.”
AA Gill (7th September 2009)
Another critic chooses to review Paul Kitching’s latest venture whilst at the Fringe Festival. Mr Gill recognises that it produces “good food, made by a good chef”, but – unlike other critics so far – he does not feel the cooking rescues the ambitious concept. For him, “[t]his is not a good restaurant”, and he advises the chef to “untangle his desire to impress from his talent to cook.”
Matthew Fort (25th August 2009)
At this “rather swanky restaurant” in Edinburgh, the critic finds that chef-patron, Paul Kitching, has left behind the “multiple-course extravaganzas” that characterised his Juniper restaurant, in Altrincham. However, he is still “not a man to use one ingredient when 15 will do” and the critic acknowleges that this is “not food for everyone”. For him, however, it is “some of the most highly characterised, beautifully realised, best-value cooking in the UK.”
Melanie Reid (17th August 2009)
Ex-Juniper (Altrincham) chef Paul Kitching has opened a “totally left-field” and “delightfully dotty” restaurant which “there has never been anything like… in Scotland before”, says the critic. The food here is “elaborate”, but has a “disarming playfulness” that saves it from “pretentiousness”. Her only criticism – the foam that tops every dish – is lost amongst the praise for the “authentic enthusiam” of the staff, the fact that you can watch the kitchen at work behind glass, and that five courses for £60 is “pretty damn good value”.
Jasper Gerard (17th August 2009)
“Housed in an elegant Grade A town house” in Edinburgh, the critic discovers “one of Britain’s most theatrical restaurants”. “[T]his is confrontation food” proclaims the critic; “enduring talent” Paul Kitching creates a “carnival of taste” in which “no two mouthfuls are the same.”