Having visited Russell Smith’s Edinburgh Catering Company kitchen for its launch party and having dined with David Crabtree Logan in the kitchen at the Scratch Series, the prospect of the two of them joining forces for a Winter Feast, the Feast of the First Frost, was too good to miss. There was also the additional bonus of Sariann Lehrer, who’d cooked up a storming feast for the Citylink Fireside Collective dinner at Summerhall, helping out.
I assembled a crack team for the visit, with both members of Our Beer Team along with our 1,000th Twitter follower Kris. As it turned out, we were joined by many further friends of Quest with Caz, Claire, Leila, Sally, Craig and Dan all along for the Friday night sitting of their three night run.
The menu promised a multi-course epic, which kicked off with some deliciously sweet and seasonal mulled beer. As the twenty four diners took their seats around three large tables, we were greeted with crab-filled kohlrabi tacos and puffed rice bites topped with pumpkin and parmesan. What a delicious opener they were.
Next up we had some delicious wild mushrooms and cobnuts topped with a dried roe deer dashi broth. It was one of the finest soupy soups of the year, without doubt, with the sensational cobnuts in particular a flavour-packed delight.
The salad course was, by consensus vote, the revelation of the evening, with barbecue grilled brassicas and jerusalem artichoke slices topping a slow confit egg. It was outstanding stuff, rendering the room a contemplative and conversation free zone, with the appreciative sound of cutlery on crockery all that could be heard.
This reverential drop in the conversation was soon filled with further merry banter around the table, and a fish course of butter poached hake, purple sprouts and shaved broccoli stems. The fish “crackling” was my personal highlight of the evening with the super crisp skin shard an absolute winner.
The main course of texel lamb two ways and a lovely wedge of baked celeriac was beautiful in its simplicity and its excellence of execution. The crisp crust on both pieces of lamb was again outstanding.
The cheese course was the most memorable dish of its type I’ve been served. With Errington’s Corra Linn at its heart, the dish drew together a raging panoply of different flavours and textures, with autumn fruit syrups, toasted buckwheat and apples. I’m running out of superlatives…
Dessert was a dark chocolate delice with passion fruit, creme fraiche sorbet and cardamom meringue. It was just magic.
This was all accompanied by a focussed wine list from which we sampled excellent Bordeaux and Burgundy, and I ended the evening with a lovely Balvenie. Oh, and delicious sourdough bread with outstanding black salt topped butter was there throughout, too.
So overall, the English language is proving a constraint at articulating just how good this dinner was. It was certainly the best meal of 2015 and very possibly the best meal that I’ve been served across all quests. In terms of the balance between welcoming, joyful atmosphere and stellar food of spectacular quality and provenance this was simply as good as it gets.
Remarkably, there are a few seats left for tonight’s sitting, so make sure to take the opportunity to sample this quite amazing collaboration between chefs at the top of their game. What a privilege it was to bask in their considerable talent.