Aurora, Leith, Edinburgh
Nestled on one of Leith’s less picturesque streets, isn’t where you would expect to find a fine dining restaurant of this stature but since Aurora arrived on the scene in 2017, this small bijou restaurant with just 18 covers, has won many awards, and for good reason.
Its unassuming entrance doesn’t give any clues as to the theatre that’s about to unfold but chef-patron, Kamil Witek’s cooking flair and originality certainly shines through with the food, while the knowledgeable restaurant manager/sommelier, Cezar Biegum tickles your palate where the wines are concerned.
Aurora’s décor is simple and unobtrusive. The music – think Dolly Parton and other classics, plays subtly in the background, an eclectic selection of cook books adorn the shelf under the coffee machine, while wine bottles with intriguing labels seduce you to try them. Handbag sized Neal’s Yard hand sanitizer adorn each table – a nice touch - and the smell is so divine that our liberal use attracts compliments from a complete stranger on the journey home.
The six-course summer tasting menu (or seven if you choose the cheese course - a supplement of £7) is inspired by the chef’s travels and marries different cultures on a plate.
Like not wishing to spoil the plot of a good book, I’m avoiding too many spoilers but suffice to say, every mouthful is an explosion of flavours, colours and textures. For most of the courses, there are two choices yet the understated menu’s narratives don’t do justice to the food art that is served.
Each plate is beautifully described by Cezar, along with the accompanying wines, chosen to bring out the unique food combinations, while showcasing unusual wines from countries including Greece, Georgia and Lebanon.
If I were to give you one spoiler, my favourite course – the fifth reveals itself as a 24-hour marinated Suckling Pig, cooked in a sous vide served with pineapple, garnished with a purple heritage carrot, spring onion and apple served on soft mash potato, melts in my mouth.
Extra treats intersperse the various courses include a small, rustic warm loaf, served with potato peel butter, which smokes as you lift off the glass covered dome; an amuse bouche of a fried, crispy potato parcel with truffle and also a zingy palette cleanser of lemon gel with a beer foam.
A hidden gem of a neighbourhood restaurant, if you want to know how the rest of the plot unfolds, push yourself out of your comfort zone and venture down to Leith. You’ll be in for one of the most exciting dining experiences that you’ll have experienced in a long time, even before the pandemic put dining-out on hold.
The six-course menu is available for dinner Thursday to Monday from 5pm and is priced at £52 per person, with a wine pairing of £48, or non-alcoholic pairings of £30. A shorter four course version of the menu is available for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays 12 - 2pm priced at £30 per person.
To book visit www.auroraedinburgh.co.uk
0131 554 5537
187 Great Junction St.