Local produce on show at Dine
By Sharon Wilson "I'm with her!" Our waitress at Dine has been a star all evening. Her smiley demeanour and menu recommendations have been spot on, and now she is singing the praises of the dark chocolate tart saying charred orange is a classic flavour pairing. I agree and tell Eleonora I trust the waitress. E decides to have a dessert cocktail. Done.
When the tart arrives, it has crisp pastry, dense chocolate and burnt white chocolate crumbs. All components impress but E, like a true Italian, feels the salted caramel ice cream isn't needed. It comes from Stewart Towers who make immaculately pure tasting Italian gelato, and this is no exception. Cards on the table I know Chef Stuart Muir and his approach to dessert is generous. He would rather over deliver.
Rewind to starters and the waitress had recommended the roast quail for me. It is expertly cooked achieving the tenderness of moist chicken. Puy lentils are al dente, and I get a delicious reminder of just how phenomenally, soft and spicy Stornoway black pudding is. Presentation is colourful and artistic. Eleonora's celeriac veloute announces itself with the scent of garlic and truffle oil. She enjoys this refined, delicate dish.
Halibut, a king of fish, comes on a shimmering iridescent shell-like plate. It is crispy golden on top, white and meaty and then moist in the middle. Artichokes are an earthy yet zingy complement. Supermodel skinny carrots are dusted in tempura while the mash is as smooth and rich as George Clooney. Eleonora cannot believe how tender her venison is - a Szechwan and juniper crust is original and lends spice and perfume. She thinks it is a very well balanced dish.
Her dessert cocktail is Creme a la Edmund where sweetness isn't sacrificed for alcohol. Vanilla infused Chairman's Reserve Rum, Amaretto, Kahlua, a double cream float and scorched Demerara sugar may be ‘liquified dessert’ but with X-rated potency. The waitress insisted it remain on the cocktail list when other changes were made.
Dine is above the Traverse theatre and is a beautiful brasserie to relax in. A feature olive tree breaks up a curvy space and design is classy as befits an official partner of the Edinburgh International Festival. Service is flawless, and Stuart Muir remains the youngest ever chef to bag three Michelin stars.
His approach to food, however, remains homely. Expect tasty dishes which display shy expertise and put local produce centre stage. Dine Saltire Court, 10 (1F) Cambridge Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH1 2ED 0131 218 18 18 Sat 12pm- 3pm & Sun 12pm - 4pm. www.dineedinburgh.co.uk