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Monday, July 9, 2012

The Kitchin (Ediburgh): Force of Nature

(Visited: June 2012)

We generally tend to dislike chefs who are too media-savvy... but we'll make an exception for Tom Kitchin by virtue of a recent stunning lunch at his restaurant. 

Away from media fluffiness, when he commands his kitchen, there's an admirable substance and power to his cooking style.

After a promising, fresh and vegetable-dense amuse... will be hard to forget the sumptuously greasy, both moist and crisp, deep-flavoured pig's head that forms a pair with the langoustine tail in one of Kitchin's signature dishes (including a picturesquely vertical and shadow-casting crispy pig's ear):

A truly majestic lobster a la plancha (special of the day) with an ever so fine cuttlefish garnish and a fantastic condiment made us think it would be hard to have a better lobster (only a Thermidore had at the Peat Inn is a match in our memory):

In a starter of scallops and asparagus, what lovely, lovely ingredients, what a graceful presentation: 

And a stuffed rabbit with crispy legs and the kidneys in ragout on the side, again, featured a rich harmony of flavours and texture:

A previously weaker point in our (very) modest opinion were the desserts. Now we are left without gripes, as even those are excellent. Here is a delicious and supremely airy oat and cherry souffle' (inclusive of a well-made ice-cream), care of the dedicated pastry chefs:


The previously uncomfortable chairs have been replaced by comfortable upholstered ones, with other improvements to the furnishing: larger tables, new curtains etc. Also gone is the bread trolley (last year's innovation, but apparently they decided they have too many trolleys in the room). Talking of bread, if one really nitpicks, well the crust could have been better: on the day, probably due to the horrible weather and high humidity, the bought-in bread lacked the perfect crust we remembered from a previous visit. We wish one day they will accompany their splendid dishes with the splendid home made bread we're sure they're capable of.

We had the coffee and (very good) petit fours while slouching on the comfortable sofa of the bar area at the entrance:

Prices are high, true, but in line with Edinburgh Michelin starred dining. Look at the £200 mark for three courses for two with acceptable wine.
Given the very positive words we're using, just remember that unlike some fellow bloggers we are always paying customers...

Kitchin is a force of nature in the kitchen. Dishes of great power and clarity encapsulate minute attention not only to flavours but also to textures. His direct, muscular style, so different from that of his starred (and also excellent) Leith Neighbour Martin Wishart, reminds us a bit of the great Koffmann, albeit with more elaborate dishes than in Koffmann's current bistro style. A great restaurant with a chef at the heights of its powers; we're so happy for the positive tweaks, and we'll definitely return. 


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