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eòrna - a new home for Michelin duo

Food

The Chef’s Table seats 12

Michelin duo Brian Grigor and Glen Montgomery have opened their fine-dining home ‘eòrna’ in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge.


The name means barley in both Irish and Scots Gaelic so is a nod to the respective nationalities of Brian and Glen whilst also signifying a union between chef and sommelier. These hospitality veterans got their stripes at places like Andrew Fairlie, Chez Roux, Number One at The Balmoral, The Heron, and The Kitchin.

Brian Grigor prepping canapés

Eòrna has a bifold frontage onto Hamilton Place and the inside is decorated in a Scottish winter palette of blues, blacks and greys with an eye to both sleek lines and texture. We are going to experience the products of Scotland’s land and seascapes crafted into contemporary cuisine.


The countertop ‘Chef’s table’ overlooks the kitchen; our entertainment derives from the produce that comprises tonight’s menu: Belhaven Smoked Salmon, Isle of Wight tomatoes, hand-dived scallops, Wye Valley asparagus, Orkney beef, berries, honeycomb and Brian’s patient, meticulous cooking and plating. It’s an exercise in transparency showing no shortcuts are tolerated.


It tickles me that the one picture in the restaurant kitchen depicts the ‘daddy of them all’, Albert Roux.

Belhaven Smoked Salmon

We enjoy three canapes, Company bread, and homemade butter alongside six courses and chat with Brian and Glen. It’s an intimate experience where a love of food, drink, its provenance and treatment is shared. I ask Brian about the butter and am rewarded with a flash of insight into his ethos. Briefly, he ferments it for three days then emulsifies it with rapeseed oil and whips it to ‘creamy and spreadable’ revealing a pet hate of hard butter in restaurants. He says: “If you can’t get the small details right you are not worth your salt”. Behind Brian’s affable, unassuming persona is pure drive.


He also chats about the importance of relationships cultivated with producers saying you can have the best produce in the world (eòrna ticks this box) but it also needs to be treated well from provenance to plate.

Chocolate Tart

For us, this means cuts of Belhaven Smoked Salmon with a bespoke cure to a rich, sweet taste. Pipettes of beet purée and lemon gel are just two delicious, precise details among a multitude. A palate-cleansing course of swollen raspberries, heritage tomatoes, and feathery bronze fennel precedes chunky Scallops with oyster leaf purée and coral sauce. Orkney Beef has been cooked sous-vide, its unique flavour and texture living up to its PDO credentials. East Lothian honeycomb in a Crème fraîche, yoghurt, lemon and thyme shortbread and strawberry dessert is a floral, chewy candy. Valrhona Chocolate Tart with Barley Ice Cream is a fitting finale. Crockery is white, grey or glass to best display dishes in colourful glory.


We had a very special gourmet evening at eòrna luxuriating in the full experience. (S. Wilson)


Wine

The very personal precision of this endeavour shows equally in sommelier partner Glen Montgomery’s selections for our evening.

Sommelier Glen Montgomery serving Louis Roederer

Our ‘welcome’ drink (fittingly for Sparkling Wine Week, a Champagne) is not just any old NV. Louis Roederer decided to rethink the rulebook recently with their ‘Collection’ series, now making use of their ‘Perpetual Reserve’ system (a similar philosophy to the ongoing solera blending of sherries), while in this case the ‘243’ blend also includes the finest examples of the top 2018 harvest. An ideal accompaniment to our fine canapés.

Just to prove there’s no such thing as too much Champagne, our memorable salmon starter is leavened by the same house’s Vintage 2015. Roederer specialises in classic ‘chalky’ Champagnes but this one from the fabled 2015 hot summer has real depth & power, moving up from the NV and adeptly cutting through the very rich oily salmon flesh.


Speaking of balancing acidity, with our prettily palate-cleansing tomato & raspberry bowl the butteriness of the ‘Rooidraai’ 2021 Chenin Blanc from the highly-respected Carinus family vineyards of South Africa’s Swartland smoothes the transition to the next part of our menu.


With the scallops, a switch to a classically-labelled ‘Bruderberg’ from Grûnhaus, 2012 (with Riesling, the real fun tends to start from age 10 and can continue for decades!). A really interesting pairing, lightly echoing the sweetness of these shellfish.


The arrival of a covetable flare-lipped Riedel Pinot Noir glass announces we will be enjoying red Burgundy with our steak and asparagus. Dom. Arlaud’s ‘Roncevie’ 2018 references that excellent vintage again as an impeccable pairing with its raspberry colour & cherry flavour to the meat on our menu.

Cream sherry!

I spy what looks like the arrival of a ‘painted glass’ Madeira bottle but it transpires we have a modern take on ‘East India Cream Sherry’, a solera blend by Lustau, adding the toothsome raisiny layer of a sweetened oloroso to an already gloriously rich but light chocolate dessert. (E. Bowman)


Eòrna is at 68 Hamilton Place and is open from Tuesday to Saturday at 7 pm.





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