There’s something rather special about chef patron Dominic Jack’s contemporary dining room in a Georgian townhouse beneath Edinburgh Castle Mound. Stylish and bright, the ambience of the restaurant is welcoming, yet relaxed; simple, but uncluttered. Neutral tones are blended with flashes of colour, including a striking hand-drawn mural of Edinburgh Castle, while soft furnishings throughout give the place that classic, homely Scottish feel.
Like its elder sibling The Kitchin, Castle Terrace is the real deal: the food is out of the top drawer, service seldom misses a beat, and there are treasures galore on the high-value wine list. The well-balanced and exciting menus reflect Jack’s many years of training in some of Europe’s top Michelin-star kitchens, so whether you opt for a swift two-course pre-theatre dinner or a leisurely six-course surprise tasting menu (or vegetarian equivalent), you’re in for a treat.
‘From nature to plate’ is the now-familiar mantra, and raw materials of distinguished provenance go into starters ranging from a tartare of North Sea gurnard with apple and crispy croûtons to ravioli of fresh herbs with a spring pea velouté. Every detail is also spot-on when it comes to clear-flavoured mains such as seared monkfish with bacon, endive and Isle of Mull cheddar or roasted and braised Inverurie lamb partnered by a selection of mushrooms and basil gnocchi. To conclude, a veritable galaxy of smile-inducing desserts might feature anything from a warm apple cheesecake served with tarte tatin and sesame tuile to Scottish heather honey soufflé with sour-cream ice cream.
If you’re into the theatre of cooking and fancy watching the master at work, you’ll be pleased to discover that you can book a seat at the chef’s table in the state-of-the-art, open-plan kitchen where the magic happens. Wherever you dine though, the friendly staff will make you feel valued.