Eating out should be relaxed. The food should be exciting and delicious and the atmosphere should add to the whole experience. Since opening last summer the Chief Taster and I have wanted to venture into The Gardener’s Cottage for quite some time. With expectations high, we were both very excited about the prospects. Greeted with a glass of prosecco as we took our seats I knew we were on to a winner.
Co-owned by chefs Dale Mailley and Edward Murray, The Gardener’s Cottage feels very much like a home from home. In fact on arrival you feel like you’ve entered into someone’s very own dining room and kitchen. Having renovated and breathed new life into what was once a historical building at the foot of Calton Hill, both Dale and Edward have created a warm and unique space. Diners are parked very close to one and other on long tables, which I believe adds to your dining experience, making it feel relaxed and sociable.
Committed to seasonal and local food, which is imaginative and tastes sublime, the team serve a set menu which changes daily. This appeals to me as it removes the pressure of choosing and there is no chance of experiencing food envy, which frequently occurs when I eat out!Our menu didn’t disappoint. To start with we sampled a large hearty bowl of parsley soup. It definitely stuck to my ribs but was slightly too floral for my palate, although the Chief Taster would happily have had seconds. This was followed by grilled langoustine and asparagus, which was met with no complaints. Our main was superb. It consisted of roe deer, dumplings, salt crust celeriac, served with grilled vegetables and salsa verde. It all melted beautifully in our mouths.
We then enjoyed the amgelica granite and lemon balm cream, which was very similar to a sorbet. Although the flavours were rather odd, they really did work and it cleansed our palates before we swiftly moved on to the next course. This was homemade crackers, served with slices of an artisan goat’s cheese, which went by the name of Rachel, and was accompanied by spoonful’s of carrot jam – another winning flavour combination in my opinion. The finale however was phenomenal – rhubarb hazelnut meringue and beer ice cream. Given my new fascination and fondness of beer and my love of rhubarb this ticked all the right boxes and I couldn’t have chosen a better dessert myself to bring our meal to an end.
The only gripe from the Chief Taster was the portions were a little on the small side. He however is slightly larger than us normal mere mortals. That aside our trip to the Gardener’s Cottage is an experience I would happily repeat time and time again. Not only was the service top class but the fact you don’t know what to expect until you take to your seats really appeals to me.
The Gardener’s Cottage, 1 Royal Terrace Gardens, London Rd,
Edinburgh, EH7 5DX
0131 558 1221