Edinburgh Food Studio – Arctic Feast
Having popped in briefly on their launch night, I’d been slightly remiss in not visiting the Edinburgh Food Studio for a meal before now. I was glad to rectify that for their Arctic Feast which gave a showcase to Roddie Sloan’s extraordinary seafood.
Sloan is quite a character, living in a tiny community in the northernmost part of Norway where he fishes for a quite dazzling array of fauna. Most famously, he supplies the legendary Norwegian Green sea urchins to Rene Redzepi at Noma. This was a rare delivery of these and other beasties to a Scottish kitchen.
Food Studio magicians Sashana Souza Zanella and Ben Reade were full of their usual ebullient enthusiasm as we were warmly greeted upon arrival. I was accompanied by regular guest quester Eleanor, and there were a number of familiar faces along including Fred and Betty from L’Escargot Blanc/Bleu and Danielle and Graham from Edinburgh Foody.
Our evening opened with some mosaic saison brewed in collaboration with the Hanging Bat and some Kitsch sodas, both of which were exquisite.
Roddie then opened proceedings with tales of what we were going to be eating through the evening, including how to open (either with nail scissors or a big knife) the famous sea urchins. This culminated in us munching on their delicious golden gonads. With an initial hit of salty sea freshness, the flesh soon resolved into a wonderfully subtle creaminess. It was a remarkable opening morsel.
Next up we sampled the amusingly phallic soft shell clam. Served in a spinach foam this was absolutely outstanding, as were the juniper smoked mussels.
We then moved on to mahogany clams served sliced raw atop a wild mushroom skirlie filled shell. It was another excellent dish.
The main course of birch-salt baked cod was another spectacular triumph. With power-packed little nuggets of Roddie’s homemade bacon sprinkled through the bedding of crushed potatoes and kale, this was stunningly effective simplicity.
Roddie had given us the heads-up that there was a fair amount of fat in Norwegian cuisine with this evening’s menu no exception. This was given most obvious expression in the rice porridge which was topped with a dollop of melted butter and cinnamon. A traditional weekly Saturday afternoon treat in Norway, this was another firm thumbs up.
A cheese course of Norwegian brunost atop a little waffle followed. This is apparently a bit of a polariser, but I didn’t think it contained much to quibble with. It was a lovely little bite.
The Food Studio is roasting its own coffee so it seemed silly not to try an espresso. It had an initial brightness that resolved to a good smooth finish. This was accompanied by a dainty almond petit four. I can rarely resist talk of aquavit, so rounded things out with a really light, citrusy glass of that.
So overall, I couldn’t have been more impressed by my first proper visit to the Food Studio. Sashana and Ben have developed an absolutely inspirational project that’s open, accessible and delivered with humour and devilment. Roddie Sloan was full of hugely compelling tales and his magnificent seafood dishes have to be sampled to be believed.
I’m back again for a couple of the Food Studio’s upcoming brunches, delivered in partnership with David Crabtree-Logan. You should make it your business to visit this place soon to bask in the glory of their compelling food stories and outstandingly high-quality cooking.
Food was £35 per person (it was using my Kickstarter reward, this evening). Drinks bill was £40 for the two of us.
Address: 158 Dalkeith Rd, Edinburgh EH16 5DX