Edinburgh is known for a lot of things: the extinct volcano Arthur's Seat, Holyrood Palace, the famous comedy Fringe Festival, the history-laden Old Town and, the most iconic landmark of all, the magnificent Edinburgh Castle. |
But despite being so connected to its own history, Edinburgh is imbued with a youthful vibe and an exciting undercurrent of creativity – and nowhere is this more evident than in the city's burgeoning gastronomic scene. Not traditionally considered a 'foodie' destination, over the past few years a quiet, very 'British' food revolution has been going on, and today both locals and visitors get to enjoy the spoils.
Here are two restaurants in Edinburgh serving up the best of British cuisine – the first proving it doesn't always have to cost you the earth to get to foodie heaven.
Good Cheap Eats at 'The Dogs'
While the décor may be fitting for its unusual name - with striking canine portraits on the walls and eclectic doggie-themed cushions - thankfully its moniker in no way reflects the cuisine. On the contrary: The Dogs is like a grown-up gastro pub, and chef David Ramsden's take on traditional British comfort cuisine is innovative, inventive and undeniably delicious. A champion of fresh British produce, Ramsden's ethos is one of great value, a chilled out atmosphere, and 'real', hearty food.
To describe the menu, think of all your old favourites from your mum's kitchen with a quirky twist thrown in by your mischievous little brother! You can choose from such delights as 'big fat' vegetable soup of the day; confit duck leg with orange segments, almonds, red chard and prune vinaigrette; butternut squash, stilton and sage barley risotto; and camomile and spiced apple rice pudding with drunken raisins.
After seven years of wining, dining, and winning over the locals, The Dogs' secret is out, and its wallet-friendly prices mean it's packed out most nights – so reservations are essential. Situated upstairs at Hanover St, sadly, your furry best friend isn't welcome.
Reach for the Michelin Stars at 'The Kitchin'
Most restaurants never get within a soufflé's breath of a Michelin star rating, but it only took Tom and Michaela Kitchin 12 months to achieve theirs. They've followed it up with a host of other awards, including 'Best Restaurant in the UK'. It's a lot to live up to, but there's no question that magic happens in the kitchen of The Kitchin.
The difference between this restaurant and many other Michelin-starred establishments is its complete lack of stuffiness and pretension. While the décor is sophisticated, it's so welcoming you almost feel like you’re in a (well-heeled) friend's home. And the food is an extension of that same philosophy: simple, seasonal, from nature to plate. How about roasted Scrabster monkfish tail stuffed with spinach, and served with clams, mussels, lardons and a red wine sauce? Yes, thought so - but make sure you leave room for the salted caramel and chocolate tart served with Perthshire blackberries and wood sorrel.
For the ultimate gastronomic experience, put yourself in the genius hands of Tom Kitchin and order the Celebration of the Season Surprise Tasting Menu, which allows you to enjoy the full theatre of The Kitchin's range. The procession of dishes is unfailingly exquisite, from the delicate amuse bouche to the handmade petit fours to finish. While it's not cheap (£75 a head), it could seriously be (as many diners have described it) the best meal of your life. The Kitchin is situated at Commercial Quay.
If you're keen to visit Edinburgh and explore the fabulous foodie scene, but can't quite stretch the budget, the Telegraph are running a competition that could win you a two-night break in the lovely Malmaison hotel, along with £300 spending money and £250 to spend at The Kitchin. You've got to be in it to win it, and someone's got to eat all that salted caramel…
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip and annual travel insurance policies. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.
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