As 2013 quickly draws to a close, on reflection you can be assured Edinburgh’s culinary landscape has not failed to disappoint. With a focus on fresh, local, seasonal produce my favourite hotspots throughout the capital have continued to champion Scotland’s jam packed larder, with an emphasis on sustainability. What’s more while some of my most loved places to graze and drink continue to go from strength to strength, satisfying my ever increasing appetite and coffee adiction, we have also welcomed a collection of new restaurants to Edinburgh’s eating scene, adding to its strength in depth.
In no particular order here are my top picks for 2013. If there are some you haven’t frequented, make it your new years resolution to grab a table and place your order for 2014. You won’t be disappointed.
Happy New Year when it arrives!
1. The Scran & Scallie
Tom Kitchin’s most recent venture to make the headlines in 2013, The Scran & Scallie, allows diners to get a real taste for what this culinary genius is all about. Located in Stockbridge, this is a gastro pub like few others, which has stepped things up a few notches. Boasting a stylish and rustic interior, the ethos behind the food is local and seasonal. And most importantly taste and flavour feature pretty high up on the agenda of the menu too.
2. Bistro Moderne by Mark Greenaway
At the opposite end of Stockbridge, continuing to breathe new life and increase the gastronomic choice in this part of town, is Bistro Moderne by Mark Greenaway. This is Mark’s second restaurant and although it only opened at the start of December, my first impression over a long pre Christmas lunch was pretty good. Chic and stylish on the inside, the menu also provides a collective mix of dishes. The cocktail menu is also extensive – I’ll be back to put them to the test in 2014!
3. Leo’s Beanery
An old favourite, since first arriving in Edinburgh four years ago, Leo’s Beanery, located on Howe Street, in my humble opinion does the best breakfast as well as a cracking cup of coffee and a wide selection of homemade cakes and scones just too good to resist. A first class flat white, accompanied with a steaming bowl of porridge, honey and stewed apples as well as a selection of newspapers makes for a pretty good start to any weekend if you ask me!
4. The Chocolate Tree
I can’t rattle off my favourite foodie haunts in Edinburgh without a shout out for The Chocolate Tree – a personal favourite of the Chief Taster I might add! We’re both huge fans of this bohemiam chocolate haven in Bruntsfield and what’s not to love. Famed for its artisan handmade organic chocolates, no where else will you enjoy a mug of exotic hot chocolate, guaranteed to hit every chocolate craving you might have. The macaroons are also to die for, especially the lavender and lemon variety.
5. The Gardner’s Cottage
Eating out for me is very much a sociable occasion. For this reason The Gardner’s Cottage is my number one choice for 2013. Dale Mailley and Edward Murray have created a home from home, renovating and breathing new life into what was once a historical building at the foot of Calton Hill. This is a unique dining space, where you will be parked side by side other diners. As for the food, the menu very much champions local and seasonal produce and with a set menu which changes daily, this is a must for those who enjoy a taste adventure with an added sociable twist.
6. The Galvin Brasserie de Luxe
I’ve been fortunate enough (but perhaps my waste line not so much) to scoff one or two delightful afternoon teas in The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel this year. The Chief Taster and I also spent out first night as Mr & Mrs Cross in this opulent hideaway, which I have fallen in love with. Within this magnificent landmark in Edinburgh’s West End is a taste of Paris in the shape of The Galvin Brasserie de Luxe, which I would challenge you not to love. Allow your imagination to transport you to Paris and enjoy deliciously cooked brasserie classics, a warm atmosphere and good wine.
If you’re prepared to stretch your purse strings a little wider for that special occasion, which will equally deliver delicious memories then Paul Kitching’s, 21212 is a pretty good option. As one of only five Michelin star restaurants in Edinburgh, and the only one with rooms, this is a dining destination not to be missed. Opulent but not too stuffy, the menu is imaginative and changes weekly. Go that extra mile and opt to order the five courses matched with wine. The cheese course itself is worth it. And if you can conquer the wide and impressive selection then I salute you!