A new menu at Monteith's.
Updated: Nov 13, 2020
By Sharon Wilson
Monteith's new menu hits the spot. It's concise, but I could stick a pin in it and not be disappointed. Some items appear to have been chosen specifically for me - Fried Goats Cheese, Venison Scotch Egg, Halibut, Chocolate Tart. But dishes I wouldn't usually select like Cod seduce with additions of piquant Cafe de Paris butter, chard and black cabbage. It does what a menu should; gets the juices flowing in anticipation of a great meal.
Monteith's entrance on the Royal Mile enchants with an arch of twinkling fairy lights while further inside, the restaurant has a cosy modern Scottish ambience. The perfect place for a catch up with the Italian 'food fairy'.
Cocktails are top drawer, and I can recommend the Bees Knees (Ocho Blanco Tequila, burnt pineapple cordial & Cointreau). On this visit, though the barman declares us cocktail guinea pigs and delivers Stone Fruit Daiquiris made with Appleton's Gold rum and lemon (rather than lime). Chilled and confident the drink is in keeping with the general vibe. Monteith's has 'posh hipster' down pat.
I choose that 'bite' of oozy Goats Cheese fried in crispy panko crumbs topped with - wait for it - truffled pecorino; it is a dish that is both dirty and divine.
The food fairy has Hand-Dived Scallops beautifully presented in their Venus-like shells. Slippery pickled girolles and bacon fat butter are present as is cauliflower puree. She says the scallops perfectly cooked; tender and caramelised, but while the brassica complements the sweetness of the shellfish, it is also one element too many on the plate. Bacon, fungi and scallops are enough.
I can't decide between Sea Bass, Cod and Halibut so ask our waiter. Halibut it is; that king of fish that comes here with 'chicken butter sauce '( a reduction of stock and fat). The first bite of both Jersey Royals and charred baby leeks results in bursts of flavour; nutty and grassy respectively. Pork Loin is served pink to the food fairy, and there are puffs of rich pig fat like pieces of knobbly rice cake in appearance only. We love that the house Chenin Blanc is served in elegant wine glasses that are as long-stemmed as a tulip or model.
When the food fairy orders Crème Caramel for pudding, she does so with the wide toothy grin of a delighted child. The twist is that it comes in a tart form with a river of caramel sauce. I would be jealous if it weren't for my decadent Chocolate Tart with clotted cream and boozy cherries.
The new menu at Monteith's salutes produce and transforms it into delicious plates of food that delight and satisfy. Food and drink are presented with pride by a dedicated team in a manner that befits the restaurant's location in one of Europe's top cities.