Can you imagine a more fantastic way to spend an afternoon than a lunch of culinary delights alongside fellow foodies in one of Edinburgh’s top restaurants?
Along with fellow food bloggers and enthusiasts; Danielle from Edinburgh Foody, Emma from Foodie Explorers and Nadine Pierce from Eating Edinburgh, I was invited to explore all that the incredible Castle Terrace had to offer.
Philippe Nublat, Director of Food & Beverage of Castle Terrace (and The Kitchin & Scran and Scallie) and Holly, the restaurant’s Training and Development Manager, spent the afternoon with us and educated us throughout the afternoon.
A rather large sum of money, around one million pounds, has recently been spent on Castle Terrace, and the changes were immediately apparent. The restaurant was more informal and open. Gone was the formality of the previous space, replaced by a sophisticated and modern, yet relaxed and welcoming, feel. Gypsophila enhanced the already elegant tables while Riedel wine glasses beckoned diners to order something crisp and refreshing to add to their experience.
We soon settled down at our table, perfectly placed to admire a striking Nichol Wheatley mural of Edinburgh Castle, a delicate reminder of our proximity to the historic landmark. The interiors, designed by chef Kitchin’s wife, Michaela and Burns Design are clean, classic and discreetly opulent. Heavy, structural wallpaper adorns the walls and brings a touch of Scandinavian design to the traditional build.
Although stunning, the interior soon paled into insignificance when the food started to arrive. Canapés were served and consisted of a Beetroot and goat’s cheese biscuit, Salt cod barbajuan & Caesar Salad – like you’ve never seen it before. A taste explosion, the Ceasar Salad is not only astoundingly clever, but playful and lighthearted.
An appetiser of astonishingly smooth Panna cotta with Arbroath smokie followed – not to be confused with a boiled egg – yet another playful course from Chef Patron, Dominic Jack.
While Emma enjoyed a delicious selection of heirloom tomatoes, I found it difficult to see past the next course, a dish even more spectacular on the palate than on the plate. Nadine and I both ordered Braised black faced Sheriffmuir lamb with aubergine and apricot – and were surprised, and delighted with the dish presented to us.
Tender braised lamb in a delicate naan bread surprised us both, and while rich and flavoursome, was further enhanced by a crispy aubergine tempura and spiced flavours of the East. I would recommend this dish to anyone who is fortuitous enough to visit Castle Terrace. Paired with a Spanish Bierzo Bodega Pitticum, the spiced flavours of the lamb were further enhanced – a true winner.
A main course of Ayrshire pork with sautéed ‘Mayan Gold’ potatoes, mushrooms and tarragon was to follow. Tender pork, cooked to perfection, served alongside buttery potatoes, tarragon mousse and luxurious, silky jus – what’s not to love? It was quite simply, divine. The sommelier recommended a Moulin de Gassac to accompany the course, and I was more than happy to oblige.
A tour of the kitchen
After a whirlwind of flavours, we were delighted to be shown the kitchen, where we found ourselves star struck by Chef Dominic Jack himself. After a complete redesign, the brand new kitchen was designed exactly to Chef’s requirements. A dream kitchen, indeed!
The introduction of a ‘chef’s table’ allows a select number of guests to enjoy one of their courses right next to the kitchen and enjoy both the food and the buzz of the space, a true culinary journey and insight into the heart of the kitchen.
After our tour of the kitchen and the wine cellar, we were beckoned upstairs to enjoy a selection of French & British cheeses served alongside quince, dried figs and calvados jelly.
What followed the cheese was a series of triumphant and spectacular desserts – fit for the most discriminating of diners.
The Profiterole of Blacketyside Farm strawberries with a lime parfait was a firm favourite. The natural flavour of Scottish, seasonal strawberries is hard to beat, but the flavour here was simply outstanding. Paired with a light profiterole, parfait and Chantilly cream, silence descended on the table.
As an additional treat, in the unlikely instance that we had not indulged quite enough, a Vanilla crème brûlée and Chocolate and orange pavé with orange sorbet arrived for the table to enjoy.
The crème brûlée was light and perfectly creamy with hints of vanilla, while the chocolate pavé was a celebration of all things chocolate. Encased in a hard chocolate shell, we discovered layers of mousse, sponge and ganache, paired with sharp orange pieces and orange sorbet to lighten the dish and cut through the richness.
A new lease of Life
Castle Terrace has established itself as one of Edinburgh’s leading restaurants, and while the loss of its Michelin star last year was a shock to many, I do believe that the restaurant is now producing more inspired, challenging and delicious food than ever before.
I will certainly be booking to return soon, and would like to thank Chef, Holly and Phillipe for their generosity and time. It was incredible to be back at Castle Terrace, and the experience was incomparable to previous visits. The space, and the team, seem to have benefitted from a new lease of life, and while always incredible, the food and experience this time around was exceptional. I look forward to my next visit – and hope that every Tuesday afternoon may bring so much joy!
Find Them: 33/35 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2EL