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Heller's Kitchen
Heller's Kitchen
15 Salisbury Place,
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0131 667 4654
Monday-Sunday 8.30am - 10pm

May 2009
This is the new venture from Richard and Michelle Heller who also own The New Bell restaurant in Newington. Compared to its counterpart, Hellers Kitchen is a more modern space, with white walls, comfy chairs and a large skylight. The menu, like that of the New Bell, is seasonal and imaginative but more extensive and supplemented by an array of daily specials.

The bustle of the kitchen boded well for the freshness of our starters and I chose fried squid with lemon aioli and dressed salad (£5.00). Body and tentacles were very fresh and delicious with a squeeze of lemon and a dunk of mayonnaise. My partner was more than pleased with his Shetland mussels which were cooked with white wine, cream, garlic and pine nuts (£6.50). He commented that each mussel was smooth and tasty, not a dud amongst them, and he liked the texture of the pine nuts in the dish.

For mains I chose a very seasonal special, John Dory with spring onion and pear polenta, Savoy cabbage and pancetta (£14.90) and my partner had one of the menu's stone-baked pizzas with haggis, chilli flakes and rocket (£9.00). For the umpteenth time I delighted at how pig goes with fish; it was the saltiness of the pancetta that complemented it on this occasion. A layer of underlying sweetness came from the pear in the polenta and the whole dish recalled the Nigella Lawson quote, "Cooking is about balance and harmony." Plate-scrapingly delicious. My partner's pizza had a thin, bubbly base which was good but could have been slightly crisper; a slight char would have been good. Haggis, chilli flakes and rocket, however, made for a particularly fiery and thoroughly enjoyable feed.

The bar had been set and we were looking forward to dessert. My partner chose orange mascarpone cheesecake with rhubarb and ginger compote (£4.50) and I had the cheeseboard with cheddar, a pungent, runny Clava brie and Strathdon Blue (£6.00); all good. The cheesecake was rustic (a good thing) and home-made. An infusion of orange essence was uplifting and heavenly, and the compote provided a sweet mouth-watering accompaniment.

Hellers Kitchen really hits the spot. The food is fresh, seasonal, delicious and imaginative; the ambiance is casual but not too casual and the menu is extensive covering breakfast, lunch, light bites and dinner. You can eat a little or a lot depending on your pocket and appetite but whatever you have it is sure to be good.

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