For the Brit’s 28th birthday last year, I got him (and myself, obivously) a gift certificate for a tasting menu at The Kitchin, one of Edinburgh’s Michelin-starred restaurant. We took our damn time to book a table so in April when we were ready to book, the closest date we could get was at 7pm on the 12th July. Let’s just say that eating at The Kitchin was a highly anticipated event!
Deciding that we should make a full day of it, we headed early to Edinburgh to have a wander round and visit the Scottish Parliament. Then, we slowly walked to Leith from the city centre, which definitely opened our appetites. We arrived to The Kitchin a bit early, but they welcomed us really well and sat us down quickly.
The Kitchin is the restaurant of Scottish chef, Tom Kitchin and his wife Michaela. He achieved his first Michelin star at age 29, making him Scotland’s youngest Michelin-starred chef proprietor.
His eponymous restaurant is based in a converted whisky warehouse on the old docks of Leith. It is a modest restaurant with a bar, a dozen tables and an open kitchen at the right. They don’t take many reservations per night because, from what I could tell, they only book a table once an evening. We could take our time and stay as long as we wanted. In the end, we were there from 7pm until well past 10pm and caught the 11pm train back home.
At The Kitchin, you can choose to eat a la carte or take one of the tasting menus. We opted for the seasonal surprise tasting menu to be, well, surprised! The Brit went for the original one (read: full of meat) and I went for pescatarian.
Their philosophy ‘From Nature to Plate’ inspires the menu to the smallest detail. Most of the ingredients, from the water, to the vegetables, to the meat and seafood, are sourced from Scotland. We even received a small printed map of Scotland which pointed out which regions the products were sourced from. It was lovely to taste the best that Scotland has to offer.
The menu started with some lovely breadsticks. There were four different flavours and it was accompanied by a smoked salmon purée. It was an absolutely brilliant first entree.
We were then served a carrot and vegetables gazpacho-like soup. It was so beautifully creamy and the little cut veggies were like crunchy confettis.
Then came a tomato jelly with cured mackarel and veggies. Not being a fan of tomatoes in general, this one was difficult to eat in entirety. However, I could tell how delicious it was and the cured fish was excellent.
It was followed by this amazing dish, which I wished I remembered in better details. It was artichoke based and it was delicious!
The next dish came separately for both of us. The Brit ate some veal sweet bread and crispy ox tongue. I didn’t understand what sweet bread was but the Brit knew and found it delicious despite the knowledge.
Instead of the meat, I was served my favourite dish of the night. Plaice (a white fish) with crispy potatoes on top and a mushroom and green peas based sauce under. Doesn’t it look super pretty too?
Finally, after so many courses, we were served the main course. The Brit had lamb with carrots. The Brit loves to eat some good meat at restaurant since we mostly eat pescatarian at home.
I was served another fish, hake, with potatoes, peas, and a dried mushroom powder. On top of starting to be completely full by then, cooked mushroom is my least favourite vegetable so I struggled with this dish. The fish however was an absolute beauty.
Don’t I look positively sickly?
We took our time to eat our main meal because we were both struggling with the quantity of food being served. This means I was more than happy to see arriving at our table a beautiful sorbet. In French, we call this course ‘trou normand’ and this is from the tradition of drinking or eating something fresh between two courses to help the digestion. I don’t remember the flavour, but it was delightful and I adored that crispy bread with meringues.
The dessert was a very cute gooseberry panna cotta served with gooseberries and ice cream. It was fresh and so original.
Though he puts on a brave face, even the Brit struggled with all these courses!
In the end we were served with tea and coffee and some last few sweet bites. I wasn’t even able to eat one of them by that point, but the Brit said they were lovely.
My general impression was that the food was exceptional and so was the service. However, I thought they were really trying to push (extremely expensive) extras on to us. The Kitchin is expensive to start with. A tasting menu for two costs £160. The Brit is of course a student and I had just left my job so we weren’t looking to pay more than we already were. My single glass of wine was £16, which was actually the most ludicrous thing I’d ever seen. On top of all this, they were trying to push their lobster on to me (as the pescatarian) for an additional £15. And between our main meal and dessert, they were trying to push the cheese platter (at £14 per person) by rolling it next to us. To me this was all a bit extreme.
In the end, I would recommend it for the amazing food and the experience. Just know what you’re in for financially. I’m not sure I will be visiting again…unless I suddenly win the lottery…
Have you ever been to a Michelin-starred restaurant? How was it?xx