27 August 2013
The Grill is unlike any restaurant I've been to with bizarre Scottish tartan and murals of men in kilts, it was like eating in a plush Scottish shortbread tin, thankfully though they were playing soft jazz and not bagpipes. I doubt there are even places on the Royal Mile with this much tartan. Upon walking in there is a hushed atmosphere such is the level of decorum and slightly older clientele.
So onto the food. We went for the tasting menu, but realistically it was just a chosen set of the best dishes from the á la carte menu.
To start we were brought out an array of bread rolls to share that were baked in-house. Sourdough, rosemary and olive oil, an aniseed flavoured one amoung the most unusal. Taking things up a level though was olive butter, brown butter and most intriguing charcoal butter, a thick tar black spread that I'm thankful I didn't get anywhere near my shirt. It was magnificent though, adding a unexpected dimension to the butter without being grainy and bitty.
The amuse bouche was also very high standard, and not a mere morsel as you normally get in places like this with slithers of mullet, green beans, radish and and asparagus puree. The menu is very well set out for the seasons and as such the fresh flavours really jump off the plate.
For starter was a chilled pea soup, with dried yogurt and mint, with a pea moose. It was a bland soup and without heat or much seasoning didn't really have much to bring it alive. The tuile however was great with delicate placement of dried yogurt and mint on top of the soup bowl, striking textures and sharp flavours really brought to life in the mouth
The fish dish was wild sea bass with beans, panchetta and tarragon with an oyster and a light apple foam. The oyster was sat on a salt jelly for decorative purposes, know one told me, I thought it was part of the dish. The sea bass although small was lovely, clearly cooked sous vide, fantastic texture and very crispy skin, perfection
he main main dish was spring lamb (shoulder, loin, belly, I'm going to guess) with a pea puree, morels, asparagus and potato risotto, continuing on with the vegetables in season. The lamb shoulder came with a crust of mint on the top and was beautifully tender
They left it to the end for a bit of theatre with the dessert, a large sphere of hazelnut chocolate that broke open when tapped to revel a liquid chocolate interior, like a posh kinder surprise. The chocolate covered popping candy sprinkled on top of the ice cream brought even more 'OOoo's round the table.
It's worth reiterating how professional the service was, I've not experienced this high standard before, but yet the waiters were also friendly and engaging offering insight into the dishes and drinks.
While it did not really push the culinary boundaries, it was very high standard of classical cooking with quality seasonal british ingredients. I'm told they have a grouse in Autumn, that sounds fabulous, and goes even more with the Scottish theme!