“Still remarkable in innovation and surprise after all this time” – Martin Wishart’s Leith venture remains a haven of “culinary wizardry”, with “wonderfully imaginative” but essentially classical cuisine, “superbly served” in a room that’s “been attractively updated” in recent times. Top Tip – “go for the bargain lunch to eat some of the best food in Britain”.
“Stratospheric prices are justified” at Andrew Fairlie’s “cocoon-like” dining room, whose position deep within this famous Scottish bastion creates “an intimate bubble” which “adds to the lovely experience”. “If you would like to have a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomic blow-out this is an excellent place to do so”. The cuisine is “Scotland’s best” – “a truly remarkable adventure in fine dining” from tasting menus with “outstanding”wine pairings that provide a series of “incomparable and memorable dishes”. One former fan who has accused it of “resting on its laurels” in recent surveys, found it “back to its best” this year. Top Menu Tip – “the lobster infused with whisky – if I was on death row, this would be my final meal!”
“They clearly value great produce and know just what to do with it” at Tom and Michaela Kitchin’s Leith warehouse-conversion (expanded a year or two ago), which inspires many passionate reports of “outstanding meals every time” from its array of à la carte, set and tasting menus. The odd critic feels “the place thinks it is Michelin 3-star and charges accordingly”, but for the vast majority of reporters it delivers “high end dining without all the pretentiousness”.
“Amazing playful inventive food” – “an exquisite and mind-unravelling experience” – from chef Scott Smith and his team have made his “truly brilliant” Leith yearling (on the site of The Plumed Horse, RIP) a very “refreshing arrival on the Edinburgh scene”. “It’s strictly informal, with small tables, no cloths or flim-flam, and friendly, very well-informed staff who explain about ingredients, provenance and technique”. “Each dish is brought to the table and explained by the chef who had cooked it” and “it’s worth hearing about them: local suppliers are heavily championed, as is seasonal produce and heritage techniques and ideas”. Did Michelin only press their nose to the window this year?
“A long way to go, but boy is it worth it”. This “most magical and mystical location” – a “remote”old crofter’s cottage “with a little river running past” and “the most amazing views” – is often completed in reports for “some of the best food I’ve ever eaten”. “The colourful food is beautifully presented and tastes fantastic” and experiences at the Chef’s Table are particularly memorable.
“A winner on so many levels!” This well-known country inn a short drive outside of St Andrews, has been a culinary destination for decades, and run by Geoffrey and Katherine Smeddle since 2006. It had a contemporary refurb a couple of years ago, and nowadays offers a “relaxed” yet “first class experience that is hard to surpass” with classically-rooted, ingredient-led cuisine that’s “exceptional”. “We moved to Fife from London last summer – this is as good as anything we had in town with none of the pretentiousness: we count ourselves very lucky to live so close!”
“What a find!” – a tucked-away and affordable Morningside bistro where the local/seasonal food (from an “interesting and unusual menu”) is “always exceptionally good”. Add in “friendly, professional service” and it’s several reporters’ “restaurant of choice”.
“There are very few restaurants that have 17 unbroken years with a Michelin star” but, by all accounts, Keith & Nicola Braidwood’s “unexpected”venue – cross a cattle grid to get to the isolated cottage – “always delivers outstandingly on all fronts” and “no one can make you feel more at home”.
“It’s a long journey to get there, but worth it!” – an imposing country hotel, at the end of a loch, whose restaurant provides “an excellent ambience, great food – especially the seven-course tasting menu – and fine wines”. Stop Press – Ross Stovold, ex-of the acclaimed Isle of Eriska hotel, took over chef duties in summer 2017.
A three-year-old neo-bistro “with no fixed menu but a larder of seasonal ingredients that the chef plays with each night”; notwithstanding one bad trip reported, all other feedback on this five-course experience is of the ‘rave review’ variety.