After the lunch we had at Café St Honore, I thought an evening at Mark Greenaway’s restaurant at Number 12 Picardy Place would be an enjoyable way to spend the evening.
I have had a fairly long association with this venue. My fellow diner for this evening was a founder member of The Hallion, the absurdly entertaining members club that used to occupy the building. Over the years there, we drank a lot of Champagne, ate a lot of good meals, and had a lot of fun, although it also holds the dubious honour of being the last place I got into a stand-up row (which almost ended in a fist fight, remarkably) with one of my fellow patrons.
It seemed like a good opportunity to come along and sample what the latest incarnation of the place had to offer.
I was delighted to run into my fellow Total Food Geek chum, Hilary, who was having a night off from the reviewing game, and simply here to enjoy a jolly good meal. I was also aware that popular local water-bath enthusiast, Ross, was helping out chef with his crockery hygiene programme, this evening.
We were greeted with an embarrassment of riches to choose from from the menu. After some deliberation, I chose to open with the Cullen skink.
The Cullen skink was a deconstruction of the classic dish. The broth came in a little separate jug, which was introduced to the plate of smoked haddock on potato cake, and sweet onions on charred leek medallions with chive tops. The presentation was really quite something. I was delighted with it, and the little culinary circuit tour it took you on. The onion medley was what Cucina were trying (but totally failing) to achieve with their three onion pasta dish. Greenaway’s interpretation made sense of that baffling dish and further showed it up for the poorly executed mish-mash it was. This dish was an absolute triumph. It’s hard to consider it on the soup league table; it was beyond comparison with regular soup dishes.
I had a little sample of my friend’s raviolo. She had a little reservation that the pasta was touch too al dente for her palette, and I had some palpitations about the slight Thai tinges of the dish, but it was still a complete winner.
My main course was the pea and mint risotto.
For me, The Bonham offers the most consistent quality in terms of risotto in the Edinburgh places we’ve tried, so far. This plate for the first serious challenger I’ve encountered, and I feel I could make the case that this was a little better.
But I had food envy, when the dishes arrived. The skate looked seriously good. From the smidge I tasted, it was a lovely dish.
Two courses down and I was certain that a 5/5 was in the bag for food and presentation. The desserts that followed nailed the message home. The cheeseboard was just great, with a nice brie, a pont l’eveque, a goat’s cheese, blue cheese, and hard cheddar.
It has been a funny old day. I had real expectations of Cafe St Honore, and while I thought the food was very good, I was left cold by the overall experience. Mr Greenaway, on the other hand, has his place buzzing. The food is of the most exceptional quality, the service spot on, and the restaurant a real upgrade on how they’ve had that room layed out in the past. I’m delighted that their participation in the Yelp week compelled me to visit. I’ll be back and I’ll be back often.
Out of 20, Blythe scores Mark Greenaway:
5/5 for food;
5/5 for presentation;
5/5 for service;
4/5 for setting,
giving an overall 19/20
Today’s late Lunch Questers were: Blythe, Ms Gray
We wore: LBD, pink shirt and tie combo
We ate: deconstructed Cullen skink, langoustine raviolo, skate wing with crispy squid, pea and mint risotto
We drank: Chilean viognier
Total Bill: £80