“We sent the Skate back this morning, it wasn't good enough".
A post-prandial chat with Chef Stuart Ralston reveals a demanding attitude to his suppliers “I send things back all the time".
I suspected as much a couple of hours earlier when me and Mr Bite sat down to eat at this new 'neo-bistro'; high-end cooking in a relaxed environment to you and me. Forget a traditional menu, instead you will be presented with a list of ingredients which the chefs will cook to present a set tasting menu; officially four courses.
Loch Etive trout, Ayrshire pork, Carlingford oysters, Heritage Carrots, Yorkshire rhubarb, sweet Cicely, pink purslane, Wye Valley asparagus - all pop out making the words 'seasonal' and 'local' redundant. Produce is quite simply the best available meaning the menu could change daily, skate is off and a nice piece of pork is on.
A leap of faith from the customer is required but you are in the safest hands. Just inform Aizle of any dietary requirements prior to booking.
Business partner to Stuart and mixologist Krystal makes me The Rose, from a small menu of April Cocktails; Tapatio Tequila, raw rhubarb, rose water, rhubarb bitters, and lime (£6). Beautiful.
'Snacks' are Carlingford oysters with sea lettuce and diced 'chipsticks'; a creamy, sea-salt explosion; there is also wild trout and avocado puree on seaweed crackers and lamb ragout and garlic presented in an egg shell. Superb sourdough is from Andante Bakery in Morningside.
Starters are soft veal tongue with sweet, fruity heritage carrots. Mains are Loch Etive trout, the best I have tasted, no contest. The Ayrshire pork that comprises the meat course is so tender you could eat it with a spoon.
Puddings and petit fours keep up the pace. For me, cold poached rhubarb sticks with meringue that is at once frothy and crisp. Cold, sweet-cicely infused soup. Mr Bite refuses outright to part with more than a tiny taste of what is the ultimate chocolate delice. Pate de Fruits of Early Grey, grapefruit and lemon zest are all wobbly and delightful.
I am amazed that a sous-vide hasn't been used in the kitchen. Every ingredient is so tender and flavoursome but Stuart tells me everything is cooked 'old school.
£35 is a steal and an ever changing menu means you can
return often although I suspect it may soon prove tricky to secure a table. (
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