The sounds which echoed off our plates were not dissimilar to the exaggerated chorus of a cheesy gameshow audience. These enthusiastic eruptions were brought to you live from my latest fine-dining experience, and I can assure you, there was nothing false about them.
My tastebuds were locked in a passionate embrace with the culinary creations of The Stockbridge Restaurant. It was a brief fling, but an absolutely delicious one.
The restaurant opened in 2004 and is owned by partners in business and in love; Jane and Jason. When they’re not looking after their two boys and two dogs, Jane can be found looking after the front of house while Jason, who always dreamed of having his own restaurant, is behind the scenes in the kitchen.
Myself and my friend decided to walk to Stockbridge from Leith, in a bid to counteract the inevitable calories to come. Or just to appease our consciences.
We crossed the cobbles of St Stephen’s Street, just as spits of rain began to coat them. The steps down to the basement-level restaurant were wrapped in ivy and lights, the entrance was lit by the interior glow.
Inside was romantically dim. The feature fireplace deliberately overflowed with a mound of melted candle wax. I loved the setting, and while I had no idea what to expect from the food, I had an inkling it was going to be good; the awards in the window might have given it away.
I had been invited to try the ‘Chef’s Choice’ menu, which was both exciting and a wee bit daunting. Would they serve me something completely obscure, giving my palate a nasty fright?
The waitresses asked if we would like to know what the chef had chosen for us, or whether they should just bring it out. We opted for the element of surprise.
Following our little appetiser, two different starters were placed in front of us. They were beautiful. The waitress did a sterling job of describing each of the multi-faceted dishes, before topping up our glasses of water without prompting.
Luckily, my best friend is the sharing kind, so we agreed to eat half of each dish and swap. We savoured each meticulous morsel, agreeing that the scallops were best we’d ever tasted. No wonder it’s their most popular dish!
As I anticipated our main courses, I was like a small child waiting on the ice-cream van to stop in my street.
I hadn’t quite expected this standard of food.
The mains were like an art installation of the food world. The colours, textures and flavours were all absolutely off the scale. The lamb melted in the mouth like butter, the fish was perfectly flakey, and for the first time in my life I enjoyed the taste of mustard. That is really saying something.
We literally inhaled every last drizzle and fibre of food, until the capacity in my stomach was becoming worryingly low.
Would I manage dessert?
When our dessert and cheeseboard arrived, it was one of those ‘it would be rude not to’ moments in life… multiplied by 10. The cheeseboard alone was an absolute spectacle with an impressive selection of gorgeous cheeses, homemade crackers, and pine nuts in honey.
“Oooft, I can’t eat another bite” was the prelude to yet another mouthful, maybe four times. Our rubber arms were twisted to continue eating, and soon the dessert was gone. We tasted a bit of each cheese, and then some, before finally admitting defeat.
I was beyond satisfied.
Despite my adoration of wonderful food, fine-dining is often paired with stick-up-its-arse service and the sort of tense atmosphere that instantly improves your posture; my idea of hell!
The Stockbridge Restaurant feels like sitting in a friend’s cosy (albeit fancy) dining room; I was completely relaxed and content. All three of the waiting staff were attentive without being intrusive, professional but not pretentious, and just genuinely nice.
As you may have gathered, I really cannot praise the food enough and my best friend fully echoes this opinion. There is a strong focus on seasonal, local produce and you can check out their list of quality local suppliers at the front of their menu. Jane informed me that they will be moving into venison and game shortly – the perfect excuse for me to return!
The prices match the quality and standard of the food – you really do get what you pay for! That said, the cost of the meal which I enjoyed would mainly be suited to my ‘special occasion’ budget. There is a set menu option however offering 2 courses for £23.95 or 3 courses £27.95, which is amazing value. I will most definitely be back in the not-so-distant future to take advantage of that.
I will be recommending The Stockbridge Restaurant at every opportunity, as I honestly don’t think that there are many restaurants in Edinburgh which offer this exceptional quality of food with such a relaxed and unpretentious service style.
Thank you very much to the Stockbridge Restaurant for having me.
I was invited to try the Chef’s choice menu in exchange for a review. Everything that I write is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth