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The Kitchin, Edinburgh

by Ross Bruniges on July 24th, 2012

At a glance

The Kitchin, Edinburgh

Chef: Tom Kitchin

Reservations: 0131 555 1755

Rating: 10 out of 10

Cost : £100-£150


78 Commercial Quay




Location map

Don't just take my word for it

The Kitchin on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

In photos

The Kitchin

Tom and I

More pictures

To top off the culinary tour of Edinburgh, and also my birthday, we got a table at The Kitchin, restaurant of the adeptly named Tom Kitchin and somewhere that has been on my list since the first time I heard about his cooking. Having already proven my theory that the quality of ingredients in Edinburgh is awesome his theme of ‘from nature to plate’ which sees him use all the best of the local and seasonal produce I couldn’t see how this could be anything else than amazing, and thankfully I was not proven wrong.

Situated near the Edinburgh docks the restaurant entrance was a little hard to find, the kitchen overlooks the main road and I nearly ended up walking in there only to luckily realise the proper entrance is off road and opposite a little quay and close by to a pretty varied range of other restaurants; including a South African Braii which to be fair was producing a real meaty woody smell that on another day I would have been happy to head off to. Once through the glass doors you’re submerged in ‘Kitchin land’ though with a well stocked bar, a friendly welcome and amazing pre-starter of mixed fresh, juicy crudite and crisp breads with a blue cheese dipping pot putting all thoughts of South African BBQ to the very back of the mind. This was exactly the kind of starter I was hoping for; a good mix of veg that had they been a drink then they would have said that they didn’t touch the sides.

Shellfish rockpool

The restaurant space is dark and moody (meaning I’ve had to tamper with the photos a bit more than I would have wanted) with a large window looking into the kitchen where you can see the chefs busy at work on their creations, the first of which is quickly provided on sitting down, we ate in the first sitting of the night so had an ‘out time’ and lots of food to get through! First up we had a jellied chicken consumme with crispy bacon. They say that bacon makes everything better and this was the case here though the cooling strongly flavoured jelly was the star of the dish, tasting like a Sunday roast but in jelly form. Second up was an inventive, Great British Menu-esque dish of a shellfish rock pool – a mixture of fish (clam, winkle, oyster, prawn, roe and more) arranged beautifully in a bowl to be drenched with a fishy consumme. Seafood and shellfish has been one of the stars of my trip but unfortunately here they were a bit of a let down – everything was supremely cooked, no rubbery texture, no gut wrenching taste of the sea but it all tasted a bit meh, I ate it and loved the presentation but it didn’t do it for me, it was a bit wishy-washy and the soup was a bit dirty tasting.

Pig’s head and scallop

After this one little shellfish disappointment we had more up next, though thankfully a more simple dish of sliced razor clams, vegetables, chorizo and lemon was less showy but a lot more tasty. Rather similar to something I had at Ondine but again it was a winner for me, and a bigger portion size meant that I could enjoy it for even longer. Pig popped up on the menu next, a bit of a take on surf and turf with a DELICIOUS pigs head mountain topped with some crisp ear and served with a big old juicy, fat scallop. A couple of steps above the courseness of pate and packed full of meat the pigs head and scallop were a perfect combo and something that if given the chance I would have eaten much more of.

Lobster – we called him Mr Pinchy

Yet more shellfish was up next but this one came at a supplement, though one that we were happy to pay. Rather similar to when I had squirrel at Trinity we were informed that they had been delivered a bunch of local lobsters in the morning and had decided that they should go on the menu. They even paraded our clawed friend to the table before it went in the pot; though I didn’t have the heart to take a final snap of it – that would have been a bit weird wouldn’t it? It was served thermidor style and topped with additional goodies of squid, fennel and sea vegetables and could be described by one word – lavish. There was plenty of meat and all of it was cooked perfectly and tasted fresh as you would expected from a lobster caught that morning and again I’m left wondering where in London I’ll find lobster that good.

A feast of rabbit (saddle, leg and kidneys)

The noticeable orange ingredients on the plate for our final main course meant only one thing, yet more rabbit. And again I guiltily chomped through each mouthful and enjoyed everyone of them. There were three distinct tastes of rabbit in the dish – moist saddle (stuffed with spinach), rich leg meat wrapped in a crisp case and even richer kidneys cooked with beans and a wonderful silky smooth jus. The last one probably isn’t for everyone and I’m guessing this is why it’s served in a separate jug from the rest of the dish. Following a hefty cheese plate containing a good range of cheese from all over the UK our one and only dessert (I’m very happy that savoury courses were the focus of the meal) was of Scottish strawberry – served fresh, sorbet, crisp and largely layered in part of a delicate millefeuille. The Scottish berries had a much sharper taste then the ones we get in England so the addition of the other parts of the dish to provide the sweetness were needed and thankfully provided with dollops of pistachio and mousse and a delicious nutty crumble sitting under the sorbet; as a fan of Strawberry this was a fab dessert indeed.

I sometimes allow myself to let my expectations to get too high leaving restaurants with an impossible task to make me happy; I had very high expectations of The Kitchin and they were all met. Perfect ingredients, inventive cooking and presentation and a showcase of the best of what Scotland has to offer in season. The service was smooth and perfectly on time, I think we overran slightly meaning we got served out petit fours and coffee in the bar opposed to at the table but even that seemed planned, almost as if they knew that I preferred being in the bar. Portion sizes are generous but if you pace yourself nothing that you shouldn’t be able to handle and with food this good you’re not going to want to waste any of it. If you’re in Edinburgh then I can’t think of a better place to eat.

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