By Simon Bennison – Food writer
Away from the tartan and tat of the castle end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, sits the refined and inconspicuous Wedgwood The Restaurant. Since 2007, husband and wife team Paul and Lisa Wedgwood have created their own version of fine dining without pretence, to sit perfectly amongst the hidden gems of the old town. A perfect night out in the old town would consist of Wedgwood sandwiched between drinks at Blackfriars and The Devil’s Advocate.
Wedgwood specialises in fine dining within comfortable, informal surroundings. From the outset, as we were brought delicious warm bread with rosemary and garlic oil, our waitress took the time to talk us through the wine list and recommend wines away from the ‘usual suspects’ as the perfect accompaniment to our starters and main courses. A fresh and crisp white Albarino Rias Baixas to compliment the seafood starters, and more robust glasses of red Fleurie, and Arele Apassimento for the hearty main dishes.
We deliberated over what to order. You could visit Wedgwood every night for a week and order something different and delectable every night, but we were confident in our choices.
Lobster thermidor créme brulée, with sea lettuce bloody mary sorbet, parmesan shortbread, caviar and lobster oil. Every bit as good as it sounds, I’d ordered one of the chef’s specialties, but this was surpassed by the choice of my dining partner for the evening. The diver caught king scallops, with pistachio and peanut dust, pineapple and capers, were fresh, soft pillows of seafood pleasure. The perfect starter, and I would certainly have suffered from food envy were it not for the fact I got to try both.
The palate cleanser, a refreshing shot of ginger beer with raspberry coulis and a fresh whole raspberry was just the perfect intermission between the starter and main course. As the waitress pointed out, with a little alcohol it would make the perfect cocktail. Stir well before downing in one.
When it came to the main course, I was confident I had made the right choice: Venison, with creamed leeks, venison haggis, beetroot, truffle jus and basil pesto. A delightful celebration of Scottish produce, executed to perfection and cooked rare the way the chef recommends (and the only way it should be cooked). The potatoes with this dish made me marvel that potatoes could even be this good. I would eat a bowl of these alone.
My dining companion, a self-confessed seafood addict, was torn between choosing the plaice or the sea trout. It was the Japanese twist to the latter, to be served with sesame and soy glazing along with with scallop roe, braised pak choi, lobster and black bean nori roll, that won her over in the end. I can guess that either choice would have made her happy. Tender and moist sea trout, married to the sweeter notes and crispier textures of its supporting cast, as the crisp of the scallop roe and seaweed provided contrast to the texture of the fish.
For dessert, the sticky toffee pudding was a tower of sweet delight, perfectly coupled with a simple, delicious vanilla ice cream. Double espressi to finish came accompanied with cubes of dark and light fudge, and sent us off on our digestive stroll through the old town streets.
Wedgwood is an exceptional restaurant that I would heartily recommend for anyone’s special occasion. The prices reflect the quality, so this is not an everyday restaurant for most people. It is however a fantastic experience and a great night out shared with unpretentious, friendly, welcoming staff and outstanding food.
Wedgwood can be found at 267 Canongate, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH8 8BQ or visit www.wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk