Once a run down and undesirable part of Edinburgh, Leith now boasts some of the cities best dining with The Kitchin and Martin Wishart, Edinburgh’s best known Michelin restaurants, holding shop on its canals. Having been suitably impressed by our dinner at Tom Kitchin, expectations were equally high at Martin Wishart. Whilst his food veers more towards French than British, Martin’s execution, I found, a little more gimmicky and much less attention paid to menu planning, and sadly, was many steps below our experience at The Kitchin.
Starting off with a vinegar macaroon, chardonnay mayonnaise, toasted wild rice illustrates the gimmicky aspect straight away – a sour, sticky thing that went crunch even though it had great potential. The crisp polenta with pepper fared much better. My starter of Stuffed slices of pigs trotter, girolles, peas, colonnata, spelt grain sounded fantastic and even tasted great, but didn’t really need the colonnata on it to make it any richer than it already was. The dish did get a bit monotonous towards the end. Miss N’s Carpaccio of John Dory, grapefruit and soy dressing, salted plum and creme fraiche had pretty much the same monotonous theme running through it and desperately needed some sourness in the dish. One would expect it to be quite strong with the soy, salted plum etc, but a good effort had to be made to distinguish those flavours.
My main of Calves sweetbreads roasted in buckwheat, asparagus, girolles, florentine gratin was a flop on all fronts. The sweetbreads weren’t crispy, the garnish was exactly the same as my starter (ok, so they added tiny bits of asparagus and then flooded it with peas and girolles) Yes, I know the yellow-green combination of girolles and peas is classic, but dear god, chefs need to get a bit of creativity and stop all using the same garnish for every dish! Miss N’s Roast goosnargh duck, vegetable and foie gras roulade, poached apricot and fresh almonds, duck pastilla was a tad bit better, though the roulade simply tasted of bland boiled vegetables and even looked as boring and the apricot for a poached fruit was even more sour than its fresh avatar.
Dessert, however, saved the day with a millefeuille of strawberry, lemongrass and cardamom custard. Clean, fresh, perfectly balanced in flavour and even the gentle nuances of lemongrass came through wonderfully.