Aizle has been wowing Edinburgh diners since it opened back in 2014. I’d never made it along previously so following a chat about it a while back with old pals and regular guest questers Iain and Malcolm, we booked for a chill November evening and arrived with great expectations.
The set-up is a straightforward multi-course tasting menu, although this is presented as a listed of ingredients on the board, rather than as a menu of dishes.
Upon arrival we were shown to a window and brought the drinks list. The dining space is simple but feels quite magical. It felt extremely comfortable and beautifully considered.
We started with cocktails which were replete with locally sourced and in-house created ingredients that gave a good insight into what was to follow with the food.
We opted for the paired drinks which featured a beer and four wines. First up was a familiar favourite in the shape of Beavertown’s Gamma Ray matched with snacks of soudough and cultured butter, lavosh cracker topped with cheese and quince, a pig’s head ball, and some cured sea trout wrapped in kohlrabi and topped with avocado and apple. The kohlrabi rather overpowered the trout, but these were otherwise very elegant openers.
Next up we had roe deer tartare with coffee-baked beetroot and recurrants, topped with crisp fried noodles. The beetroot was dominant but the textures came together well for enjoyable mouthfuls.
Our fish course was the outstanding dish of the evening. Plaice and razor clams topped with a lacy ink cracker sat on an intensely green sauce. It was a simple and elegant use of fresh ingredients.
The main course of sticky veal served with parsnip root prepared in a range of ways was a hearty meat dish. The Gran Cerdo temperanillo that accompanied it was mighty fine.
We were then into sweet treats but paused to share some knockout Vacherin cheese served like a little fondue. The ciabatta to dip in it was delicious.
The main dessert came with the outstanding drink of the evening, an Antic called Consolation. It was sweetness incarnate and served to balance the dessert which was heavy on the seabuckthorn.
We rounded things out with enjoyable sweet snacks of sesame and miso brittle, and pumpkin and maple tart. This was accompanied by coffee, prepared using a chemex, from Steampunk.
This brought the curtain down on what I think was overall the most enjoyable dining experience I’ve had in a long while. The atmosphere created by the exceptional front of house staff and their approach to service is entirely splendid. There were elements of the food and presentation that I didn’t connect with but this in no way detracted from an experience that ranks as one of the best in the city.
So overall, I was delighted to finally visit Aizle and sample their excellent approach and ethos to locally sourced, lovingly prepared food. It remains one of the hottest tickets in town so book early and book often as I suspect their ever-changing seasonal menu is worth checking out on a regular basis.
Blythe scores Aizle
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
5/5 for setting
5/5 for service
giving an overall 18/20
We ate: bread, lavosh crackers, cheddar; pig’s head balls; cured sea trout, kohlrabi, avocado; roe deer tartare, coffee baked beetroot; plaice, razor clam, sauce vert; veal and parsnip root; vacherin fondue, ciabatta; seabuckthorn, carrot, yoghurt sorbet; sweet snacks
We drank: water, Gamma Ray, pinot noir de Bourgogne, biodynamic pinot bianco, Gran Cerdo temperanillo, Antic Consolation, mead, coffee, cocktails
We wore: our drinking trousers
Total bill: £316
Address: 107-109 St. Leonard’s Street, Edinburgh EH8 9QY