The newly opened (and already award-winning) restaurant and cocktail bar, Ishka, aims to showcase the best in modern Scottish cuisine while introducing influences and elements from around the Mediterranean. Contemporary interpretations of classic dishes make for exciting eating, and the use of seasonal ingredients means the menu is always changing – not least with Scottish seafood and game.
Daily specials reflect what has been found in the market on any particular day and there’s a dedicated ‘market menu’ offering two or three courses (£17.50/£22) showcasing some of the finest native produce, such as mussels, haggis sausages and hake.
Elsewhere on the menu, European ingredients and flavours feature in the likes of crispy halloumi with shredded red cabbage, carrot, spring onion and sesame seeds, while mains such as Scottish venison with parmesan cream polenta, chestnut puree, sprouting broccoli and Jerusalem artichoke crisps are another option. Desserts head back to the British Isles in the likes of apple and plum crumble, orange trifle, and chocolate and hazelnut cake.
The cooking is simply presented and visually pleasing. As are the interiors, which are stylish and sophisticated – perfect for the cool cats of the Scottish capital. The bar features a marble top, low-hanging pendants and scorched-red bar stools. Move into the restaurant and you’ll find dark leather boots with marble table tops contrasted by bright yellow leather sofas and wooden tables. Mirrors on the walls and a metallic ceiling make Ishka feel spacious, while atmospheric lighting completes the look.
As for the cocktail bar, Ishka’s mixologists add their modern and creative takes to classic tipples. Local gins feature heavily and the bar has a special love for rum-based cocktails. Presentation is impressive – we’re talking ace Instagram material here. An oyster as a garnish for a cocktail? Why not.
An added plus of Ishka is that is brilliantly located for the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and also the Lothian Road Odeon – perfect whether you’re attending a conference or the cinema.