Sunday, 25 March 2012

Wedgwood the Restaurant

A group of six of us decided we'd like some fine dining, and booked well in advance but the Saturday night arrived and we were off to Wedgwood the Restaurant, located on Cannongate, Edinburgh.

I arrived (fashionably?) ten minutes late and was shown downstairs where my party was awaiting my arrival.

My first impression of the restaurant was that the decor was very understated, dare I say, plain? There are 2 rooms for dining, one up, one down. I was more than happy that we had a table downstairs, as upstairs seemed to have a lot of foot traffic, and a few too many tables packed into the space. Downstairs was small albeit comfortable. White linen tablecloths, crystal glasses and mirrors a plenty.

As everyone had already ordered their drinks before I arrived I quickly grabbed the wine menu in order to catch up. The waitress was very attentive and saw that my thirst was quenches as possible.

I asked if they had any New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and they did, but not by the glass. I was shown another NZ wine which was 'nothing like a Sauvignon Blanc' or a French Sav Blanc, which I chose, tentatively.

It was promptly delivered, and although it wasn't as crisply cold as I like it, it was soooooo delicious. A gentle sharpness (with fear of sounding oxy-moronic).

We chatted and looked at the menu, chatted, didn't make a decision, we asked for more time and chatted some more.

We realised after almost an hour we should consider ordering.

We all opted for the amuse bouche: Glass of Paul Dangin Champagne and today’s amuse bouche selection £9.95. 

At this stage we were also ready to order our starter and mains. I was delighted that around the table we had a varied selection. (Though with variety also comes the prospect of food envy, but these are the ricks we take.)

I had decided on Lobster thermidor crème brulée £9.95 w/bloody mary sorbet, parmesan shortbread. We had discussed this dish earlier as one of my co-diners who had eaten here before had mentioned upon ordering this starter previously, had been taken aback that I was served cold... it was this premise that got my curiosity going crazy.

Around the table, other starters ordered included Confit pork belly £8.95 w/crisp black pudding, tarragon aioli, sweet pickled apple; Diver caught king scallops £12.95 w/cauliflower korma, pistachio and peanut dust, pineapple and capers and Stir fried shredded beef fillet £8.95 w/pear, rocket and spring onion salad, thai sesame and honey dressing.

My main (which I had decided on ages ago) was to be Wild Scottish deer, creamed leeks £23.45
venison haggis, beetroot, basil pesto, truffle jus. And around the table Rabbit wrapped in pancetta, wild mushroom and spinach £19.95 w/black pudding, carrot and vanilla puree; Mackerel, roasted rhubarb £16.95 w/capers, sweet potato, watercress.

 Our amuse bouches arrived to gasps of excitement.

 Presented beautifully with 2 people to a platter, I was busy snapping while the waitress explained what was on the plate... A cold beetroot soup, smoked salmon with anchovy oil and capers and the little pastry rabbit pie stack with truffle ice cream. We had a brief discussion as to which order we should eat them... I decided I'd eat in order that she explained them, (yes although I actually wasn't listening)

The soup was creamy and flavoursome, I could have had a whole starter of it. Very nice combination of the soup and the cream.

The salmon dish was rather bold but very delicious and fresh.

My favourite was the delicate last one... the light flaky pastry teamed perfectly with the rabbit meat 'pattie' beneath,and almost a shock to the senses when the ice cream touches the roof of your mouth, making it quite a sensory experience.

The champagne was beautiful.

It was a wee wait till the starters made their way out, and we were brought bread and herbed olive oil. The bread was dense and chewy (in the good way) and very tasty.

The starters then triumphantly descended upon our table. I knew they were going to be beautiful, but they were BEAUTIFUL!

There were giggle as i cracked though my crispy parmesan lid on my brulee with the excitement of a child.

I believe my statement half way through was 'savoury things served cold are my new favourite thing'. This was such an interesting and new experience for me. The brulee was such an exciting thing: the tradional cracking thru the brulee to get to the custard underneath crossed with such new flavours to be served in this way. The flavours were sumptuous... The parmesan top, that I had been concerned would be too overbearing against lobster actually lifted the beautiful lobster-meat laced custard. The sorbet I ended up seasoning fairly heavily with salt and pepper, but it was a strange and refreshing side. The shortbread, I felt neither added, nor detracted from the dish.

Around the table, the pork belly stole my heart, it looked stunning. The black pudding was apparently a show stealer. The scallops looked lovely too.

More drinks ordered, and a delightful palate cleanser shot of raspberry, coulis, sugar and ginger beer.
It was lovely, and served its purpose to a tea.

After this, we waited a while before realising that the mains had actually taken quite a while, the waitress must have noticed our restlessness, as she came to tell us the meals were not so far away.

Perhaps ten minutes later the mains arrived.

My main of deer was a very memorable meal. The meat was cooked exactly to my liking. The potato was a real standout for me. The beetroot however I could have taken or left. The stack in the centre containing the leak and venison was a smack of flavour. Compared to regular haggis this was ten times as flavour-packed, almost too much when eaten by itself, but when combined with a sliver of meat: a divine mouthful. The sauces were very complimentary.

Across the table from me, beautiful fishy fragrances wafted from N's plate in my direction. Very strong, but genuinely delicious fishy smells. N said he enjoyed his Mackeral very much, but struggled cutting the rhubarb with a fish knife.

3 of our party ordered the rabbit, and I must say, it was a truly splendid looking plate.
There was so much chat about the carrot and vanilla puree, and I managed to have a taste: what a spectacular combination of flavours. Carrots have always been very close to the top of the 'most boring vegetable' list for me, but alas, that seems to be changing.

All the mains went down a treat, and contented smiles were all about.

Dessert menus were offered, but I was literally at bursting point, and made a valiant effort by saying no to desserts, instead ordering an Amaretto. It was so difficult to say no to sticky toffee pudding, my most favourite pudding ever. But around the table choices of the sticky toffee, and chocolate peanut butter mousse were ordered.

Behold the beauty of the peanut butter mousse. I tasted a wee portion, but decided this was far too rich for me. The banana and honey ice cream was beautiful.
And... the dessert that brought a tear to my eye: it REALLY DID! This was a truly godlike dessert. I can't do it justice in words I'm afraid. I'm sorry, I just cant.

Overall, we had an amazing night.

I feel for the tables that were downstairs with us, as we were a cheery bunch and hearty laughter from our table often flooded the room.

I cannot recommend this restaurant enough for a modern take on lovely Scottish fare.

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