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54 The Shore, Leith
Chef and well-respected restaurateur Martin Wishart has held a Michelin star here since 2001, and standards remain sky-high at his suave flagship restaurant on Leith waterfront. Thick pile carpets, stripped pine panelling and mellow colour schemes create a mood of suave sophistication, while Wishart’s cooking takes account of Scottish produce – although his seasonally changing repertoire bears all the hallmarks of rarefied and refined French technique. You could open your account by ordering ravioli of snails with Shetland mussels, Ayrshire wild leeks, garlic shoots and white onion velouté, before tackling braised veal cheek with a fricassee of peas, morels and broad beans. After that, a dessert of brown butter pannacotta with blackcurrant crémeux and Granny Smith granita might beckon. There are also two tasting menus (including a veggie version featuring the likes of basil gnocchi with sprouting broccoli, monk’s beard, celeriac and Parmesan), while the superlative wine list offers some fine food-matching possibilities. Some readers applaud the “flawless attention to detail” and the service from “friendly French-speaking staff”, while others point out that lunch is “excellent value for money”.
SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2018 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2018. Thousands of readers took part and the results were moderated by SquareMeal’s editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The UK survey does not include any restaurants in London. Click here for the full list of SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
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Best restaurants in Edinburgh
54 The Shore, Leith
Edinburgh Station 3km
Haymarket Station 4km
Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh 949m
Royal Museum of Scotland (Queen Street) & National Portrait Gallery 1km
Tues-Sat 12N-2pm (Sat – 1.30pm), 7-10pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
My visit to Martin Wishart was one where I was fortunate enough to be a part of an exclusively booked event, ensuring not only an exceptional menu but first rate service in an elegant and refined setting. The menu, which incorporated six courses of good quality -accomplished cooking skill and painstakingly precise presentation, started rather interestingly with an amuse bouche trio featuring beetroot, horseradish, smoked haddock and parmesan amongst other flavoursome ingredients.
Courses continued with an innovative ballontine of foie gras served with Madeira sauce and crisp toasted brioche followed by scallops with bellota ham and parmesan veloute. Though the latter dish is a popular combination it did lack full execution, with the scallops a little overcooked and tough, but otherwise well balanced. Tin context, this was thankfully the only disappointment of the night and one that was quickly forgiven given what followed.
Up next was a rather interesting ceviche of halibut served with what seemed a bizarre combination of mango and passion fruit, leaving both the mouth and the mind in disbelief over the apparent success it had in pleasing my taste buds. Further meatier dishes were met with equal satisfaction, including a loin of borders roe deer (tender and delightful) served with a crisp yet not overcooked braised baby gem lettuce and creamy sublime goats cheese gnocchi.
With all that, the stomach required a light yet interesting finish and we were not disappointed. On our table arrived a clementine and lemon cream with lemongrass infusion – light, juicy, fragrant and a delicious end to the night. All in all a gastronomical triumph and one that blows the mind as well as the taste buds.
Food is fresh and well cared for with plates showing fantastic flair as well as an understanding of balancing world flavours with tried and tested traditional dishes.
Well done Mr Wishart!
I dined at the restaurant on Tuesday; I was very impressed that I could book online, especially as I only booked on the Monday when the restaurant was closed. I also received a telephone call in the morning to confirm my reservation. Other restaurants in Edinburgh take note.
The atmosphere was relaxed but elegant, a good value lunch options was available but my guest and I selected the A la Carte. For starter my guest had the Kilbrannan Scallops and Bellota Ham, which looked delightful and I choose the Scallop Risotto Special, which was superb. For main course I selected Loin of Borders Roe Deer, which melted in the mouth and my guest choose Braised Beef Cheek, Pumpkin Seed Brittle, which I am told was excellent. I admitted to knowing very little about wine but our Sommelier was very helpful and selected some beautiful wines for us and didn't make me feel in the least intimidated. Desert was equally as good. I couldn't fault this restaurant. To say it was a Tuesday lunch time the restaurant had a good atmosphere, with guest taking advantage of either the tasting menu, or reasonably priced lunch menu in equal measure.
I look forward to returning when next in Edinburgh.
Just in case we’d not eaten enough over Christmas and Boxing day, we visited on the 27th, mainly due to the 28, 29 and 30th all been fully booked at time of booking. As indeed was our night, partly as it is a relatively small restaurant but also, I suspect, partly because of the restaurants excellent reputation.
It was a tasting menu only on our evening, but that is fine with us as we always go for the tasting menu. The majority of courses in the tasting menu also had choices which gave welcome extra variety.
Kicking of with a trio of amuse bushes set the standard high, which was maintained thought the evening. Course included pressed Fois with pheasant, the pheasant taste a little too subtle against the fois. Langoustine Ravioli, very tasty and delicious, scallop mouse, which tasted great but texture was a little mushy. Braised shin of beef, very strong, rich and yum. The finally being a towering soufflé but despite being cooked to perfection not really my thing as was pear flavoured. They were also happy to serve just one plate of cheese for the whole table, which gave us all a taste and didn’t leave us too stuffed.
Service was good and attentive, but sadly it did wane a little towards the end and we were left to wander up and down the restaurant when it came time to find the (unsigned) toilets.
At £60 for food, £40 for matching wine, £15 for the cheese, coffee and water adding another £50 (four of us), reasonable value in a restaurant of this class.
I’d be very happy to return when the menu changes in spring.
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