I’d visited Seasons shortly after it opened and been impressed, although it was definitely a work in progress at that stage. I was keen for a revisit so suggested it to regular guest questers Hayley, Ingrida and Jessica who thought it sounded like a good plan.
Seasons focusses on local, seasonal produce. There is a strong Scandinavian influence in the food and aesthetic.
Rather than a conventional menu, they just offer a list of ingredients for you to consider, in a similar vein to Aizle. You can let them know if anything doesn’t appeal. Jessica has a pretty violent nut allergy so that was our only thing to avoid from the diverse list of elements.
It’s then a case of deciding how expansive you want to get with the number of courses: five, seven or ten.
I know the man in charge, Matt, and he’s a generous sort. We ordered the seven course menu but I suspect we saw all the dishes from the ten course version, in reality. I took the drink pairings while the ladies opted for a good bottle of Gruner Veltliner to keep things lighter on the booze front.
First up was a little welcome cocktail of a rhubarb gin fizz. It was a light and fruity start to proceedings.
Our first food courses were snacks of beef tartare and cured sea trout. The tapioca cracker under the sea trout was light and bubbly. There was then a stylish amuse bouche of airy dill espuma atop Arbroath Smokie served in a ceramic egg. It was a memorably strong opening salvo.
Next up was a soup course which had been the highlight of our previous visit. This time we had a nettle veloute topped with pea shoots. It was as notably good as the Jerusalem artichoke soup from last time. I think it was Ingrida’s favourite dish of the evening.
Next up was our first seafood dish. This was a foam-topped langoustine tail on a bed of crisped wild rice and toasted quinoa. Jessica has a horrible knack of diagnosing dishes in brutally honest terms that are difficult to shake from your mind once heard. Her analysis of the cereal bed as “just like Weetabix” was another example of this. I thought the dish showed really accomplished cooking but it was hard to shift the comparison.
We next had a strongly seasonal favourite of saddle of lamb with Wye Valley asparagus. This was classic stuff and very measured in its execution.
We then had a strongly divisive palette cleanser of cucumber and tonic topped with a juniper crumb. The tonic accentuated the cucumber’s bitter notes and made it quite testing but it certainly brought good freshness.
The crab tortellini with plaice brought the whole table back to a unified happy place. It was a dish of simple beauty.
Then it was on to a final savoury plate with seasonal wood pigeon with wild leek jus and braised broccoli. This was not the first pigeon dish I’ve had of late and much like the others it wasn’t quite as scintillating as it could have been. It was well-crafted and perfectly in keeping with the rest of the menu but I’m starting to suspect that the wood pigeon this year just isn’t to usual standards.
We then took a little dessert odyssey starting with a stellar lemon meringue pie on a stick. It was a real delight.
Next we had a multi-element rhubarb dish that really packed a punch.
We rounded out the desserts with a multi-textured chocolate delight that was a fitting end to what had been an excellent meal. Oh, and then there were coffees with a rhubarb marshmallow and cumin chocolate.
All through this, sommelier Jimmy kept me in interesting and well-considered wines, cocktails and beers. Highlights were some excellent Sicilian white and a belter of a Shiraz Riesling.
So overall, Seasons has matured into a really accomplished and relentlessly interesting restaurant of real character and verve. It’s a place to which I’d give a strong recommendation. I look forward to many future trips and very much hope you enjoy it when you visit.
Blythe scores Seasons
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16.5/20
Today’s questers were: Hayley, Ingrida, Jessica, Blythe
We ate: tapioca cracker with cured sea trout, flat bread with beef tartare and labneh; dill espuma topping Arbroath smoke; nettle and veloute, pea shoots; langoustine tail, wild rice, braised quinoa; saddle of lamb, asparagus, jus; cucumber and tonic palette cleanser; crab tortellini, plaice; wood pigeon; lemon meringue on a stick; rhubarb textures; chocolate, honeycomb; petit fours
We drank: Gruner Veltliner; rhubarb fizz; sweet cicely daiquiri; various matching wines and ales, coffees
We wore: multi-course textural layers
Total bill: £277
Address: 36 Broughton Street, Edinburgh EH1 3SB