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Borough ,
50-54 Henderson Street, Leith,
0131 629 2525

Date night - It's been five years since Cat and I got married. Without being too schmaltzy, those five years have been incredible, and I consider myself very lucky indeed. To celebrate, we offloaded The Boy to some generous family for the night, pulled on our gladrags (any remaining clothes without snot/felt-tip/mystery stains), and enjoyed a rare date night.

Borough serves an exquisite, seasonal and ingredient-led four-course set menu. I added three of the cleanest freshest oysters I’ve tasted to start and the cheese board to finish, and we had some very agreeable wines by the glass. 

The set menu lets Chef Darren Murray lead the diner on a journey of his choosing.

 Light, fresh asparagus custard cut through by salty smoked cheese, was followed by beef shin ravioli served in an intense mushroom broth. A perfectly seared fillet of sea trout was accompanied by bitter braised chicory, sweet fresh cauliflower, and sharp blood orange for a citrus pop. A bonus anniversary dish comprised rhubarb granita served over white chocolate custard with toasted hazelnuts, and it totally blew our minds. 

Dessert was a testament to the intelligence of the flavour combinations, a buttermilk panna cotta with chamomile meringue and whisky sponge. Each component was tasty enough, but together they sang. I had the cheeseboard (of course), and was quivering with excitement at the first mouthful of olive jelly – a cheese accompaniment made from the loosely jellied leftover brine of Gordal olives (probably a bit of a Marmite experience, but I absolutely loved it!)

There is real confidence in this cooking and Chef knows when to stop adding elements to a dish.

Talking to co-owner Aleks (who covers the front-of-house while her husband Darren keeps the kitchen whirring) after our meal, I got a real sense of a venture which is all about the food. A passion for provenance, ingredients and flavour is what drives this pair. 

Alongside this is a sense of community-minded stewardship of the food scene. When I asked about the jars of fermenting asparagus I had spotted through the pass,  Aleks's face lit up: "if you ever need a starter culture for a ferment, drop by, and we'll see if we can help you out", she said," adding: "that's how we got ours!" Nice.

(R. McKelvie-Sutherland) eatdrinkdad.com

Darren Murray’s fish croquette is a thing of beauty. Toasted to a golden crumb is presented on a shimmery earthenware plate and is topped with spots of mayo and lemony cream. It would be a shame to eat it if it weren’t so damn delicious and easily devoured.

New to Leith, Borough’s menu in the words of Head Chef Darren:” foregoes the rigidity of a tasting-style format or even the constraints of ‘starters, mains, desserts’, instead offering a flexible selection of savoury and sweet selection plates that are ingredient and flavour-forward.”

So you drop in for a bite when passing or stay longer for something more substantial like Sirloin or Monkfish. And thus Borough sets itself apart from the award-winning Norn, its former self. Bite loved Norn but the restaurant’s former and current owner comments ‘that has been done now and we wanted to move forward’.

With a voracious Edinburgh market always nosing out the new this seems like harsh but ulimately smart move.

Located in that tricky spot between North Junction Street and The Shore hopefully Borough will become a destination eatery as well as a handy pit stop. The food Mr and Mrs Bite sampled on the opening night would certainly justify this.

Apart from ‘that croquette’ we tasted beef tartare,  a pretty courgette tart with nasturtium and a black olive tapenade and oyster with tomato and bone marrow from a summer menu which reads like a roll call of the season’s best and includes ingredients such as mackerel, green strawberry, peas, lamb, summer leaves, baby gem, gooseberry, mint.

Everything was vibrant and fresh and tantalising.

 The liquid options merely added to the temptations.

Twenty wines are available by the glass and Restaurant Manager Archie Kyle, formerly of Fishers in the City says they have been carefully selected to suit everyone’s taste from a New Zealand Pinot Gris to Monetpulicano d’Abruzzo.

Mrs Bite very much enjoyed the clean crisp LaCourte Godbillon Brut Nature 50% Pinot 50% Chardonnay as well as the liberally poured 85% Pinot Noir 15% Chardonnay expression; from Reims or course via Terroir Wines.

Mr Bite drank Local Motive from Fallen Brewery. The spirits list has some very interesting offerings indeed including rums and gins that were new to us. It is a Brooklyn Gin that forms the basis for the Borough Brooklyn Negroni.

There is much left to taste from the Modern European menu at Borough and I suspect it’s going to be good. (S. Wilson)

Read more Modern European Restaurant Reviews here 



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