This is partly a constraint of money, as we post every day, and fine dining prices don’t lend themselves to that model, but I rarely find myself in the mood for the constraints of set or tasting menus. Also, I think one of Edinburgh’s great dining strengths is the excellent quality of the mid-market with places like The Dogs, Field and Purslane offering exceptional quality at great prices and a more relaxed dining experience.However, with regular guest quester Frances soon to leave us for Manchester we decided that somewhere a bit special was required for a last-blast lunch. Accordingly, we booked a table at one Michelin starred Restaurant Martin Wishart, on The Shore.
I’ve walked past it a thousand times but this was my first time dining there. I was greeted on arrival by one of a succession of starchily friendly waiting staff, then shown to our table in the light and airy dining room.Frances was soon with me, then wine lists and menus were soon with us, along with some little nibbles, which were elegant and flavour-packed. This was the first example of the meticulous attention with which they catered to Frances’ gluten and dairy free requirements, as she got an adapted version of the same bites. We had an opening glass of Champagne with these, along with a slightly odd amuse bouche of courgette espuma and a little cocktail of halibut served in a hollowed-out passion fruit.
One of the waiting staff stepped us through the menu options, including dishes that were suitable for Frances as they stood or could be straightforwardly adapted. We settled upon foie gras then rabbit for Frances, and lobster tortellini then halibut for me. We added the matching wines.
Starters arrived promptly looking very bonnie indeed. Frances was just back from northern Spain, where she’d eaten a not inconsiderable amount of foie gras. Even against this background, she was highly impressed with this vibrant dish.
The lobster tortellini was similarly elegant and accomplished, with beautifully judged pasta and deliciously soft filling. Crumbed pig’s trotter meat brought a good textural element and the dish was brought together by flavourful lobster foam. It was a top class dish.
Main courses maintained the exceptional standard. My halibut was a simple dish delivered with near flawless execution. It was the clearest summation of the classic dishes that seem to be Martin Wishart’s calling card. Frances was very happy with her rabbit dish, too.
I couldn’t resist a go at the cheese wagon, while the kitchen put together a much appreciated bespoke, off-menu dessert for Frances featuring seasonal berries, sorbets and jellies.
The cheese wagon had been the undoubted highlight of previous Michelin visits, so I was keen to see what delights this held. My only direction to the wagoneer was to include some of the Epoisse. The four other choices were another softly creeping beauty, a hard goat’s cheese, gruyere and a light blue. This was served with excellent crispbread, jam and jelly. I think the highlight was probably the Epoisse, but everything was excellent. We accompanied things with delicious dessert wine, with my recioto particularly good.
Very good coffee and petits fours followed bringing the curtain down on a suitably celebratory lunch which had impressed on all counts.
So overall, Restaurant Martin Wishart was a quite spectacular treat packed with elegance, style and dishes of classic excellence. I can think of few better dining experiences I’ve had in all quests. At £28.50 for three courses, this is a lunchtime deal that you simply must try soon.
Blythe scores Martin Wishart
4.5/5 for food
5/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for setting
5/5 for service
giving an overall 19/20
Today’s questers were: Frances, Blythe
We ate: lobster tortellini, foie gras, halibut, rabbit, berries and sorbet, cheese
We drank: Champagne, matching wines, sparkly water, coffees
We wore: deep red jacket, brogue boots
Total bill: £161.90