Back in August myself and Nicola were making our annual pilgrimage to the Edinburgh Festival, this time to see magician and comedian Pete Firman. We always end up grabbing a pre-theatre meal in one of the many chain restaurants that clutter the capital but this year when I was looking for dinner deals I spotted that Restaurant Mark Greenaway had a well priced pre-theatre menu on offer. I've written about Mark Greenaway before and we were lucky enough to eat at his North Castle Street restaurant just after Christmas last year so knew just how good the food was so it was a easy decision to choose Restaurant Mark Greenaway as our festival dinner choice.
We were eating from the Market Menu which offered a choice of three starters, mains and desserts for just £22 with a wine flight available for an extra £18 each but as we didn't have a great deal of time between dinner and our show, we decided to just order a glass of wine each.
To start, we both ordered the Pork Ballotine, Crackling, Black Pudding BonBons & Roasted and Fresh Green Apple. This was a hearty opening to our meal with hot crispy bonbons, sharp apple jelly and apple sauce all sitting on top of a disc of chilled, well seasoned pressed pork. The black pudding had a nice level of spice to work with the sweet pork and fresh apple flavours whilst the crispy coating from the bonbon and the crackling helped added another layer of texture.
Nicola's main was a pretty dish of Roasted Free Range Chicken Breast with Carrot Purée, Poached Baby Leeks, Button Mushrooms and Rosemary Mash which was a great piece of cooking. If I served this up for roast Sunday dinner, I would have been so proud. Moist chicken breast with crispy skin was complimented by soft, peppery leek and sweet carrot purée, charred onion and the earthiness of the mushroom. The mash was soft and buttery with just enough rosemary to add another dimension and all of this was finished with a rich creamy sauce. Nicola loves roast chicken and quickly added this into her top three ever!
My own main was a very interesting dish of Pan Fried Fillet of Salmon with Mussel Spring Roll, Wilted Rocket, Caviar & Cucumber Velouté. I don't know what I was expecting from my own main but was blown away by the taste sensation that was served to me. The salmon was cooked to perfection, slightly pink on the inside and with proper crispy skin, that much I had expected. It was the rest of the dish that changed everything - three turrets of spring rolls filled with quinoa and mussels sat proudly wishing a slightly salty velouté made from cucumber and dotted with a spattering of caviar helping to add little bubbles of saltiness to cut through the sweetness from the salmon. The dish was finished of with nasturtium leaves helping to add a rustic feel to my main. Whilst this might seem like an odd collection of ingredients, everything felt that it was supposed to be there. This was a truly accomplished dish and certainly one of the best fish dishes that I've eaten.
Nicola had ordered the chocolate fondant for dessert and we were advised that these are cooked to order so there would be a short delay in service but as we waited we were presented with a little pre-dessert of a strawberry & basil trifle to keep us going. We both love trifle and this grown up twist was delicious with sweet strawberries and aromatic basil working in harmony while the creamy vanilla custard reminded us that this was a proper pudding. I would have been more than happy to have just a huge bowl of this trifle as my main dessert.
Nicola's choice of dessert was an easy one after she spotted Dark Chocolate Fondant, Salted Caramel, Coffee Macaroons, Burnt White Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Cream on the menu and it was definitely worth the 15 minute. What an amazing balance of flavour and texture! The chocolate fondant was crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside and when combined with the coffee macaroon, salted caramel sauce and creamy vanilla ice cream, it was divine. Every spoonful was amazing, at least that's what I was told, Nicola only shared one spoonful with myself.
Nicola's dessert was pure comfort food and the type of pudding that I would love on a cold winter day whereas my own dessert of Raspberry FishBowl, Raspberry Granola, Jelly, Espuma, Sorbet & Meringue was a much fresher way to finish a meal. I'm not sure how many raspberries died in order to make up my dessert but I'm sure that it was a lot. The fresh raspberry flavour ran all through the dish, some sweet and some sharp and the varying textures meant that every mouthful was a joy to the tastebuds.
With three courses down and our show at The Pleasance rapidly approaching, it was time for us to settle the bill and get on our way. The bill was £58 including two glasses of wine which we both agreed was great value for money for the meal that we had just eaten, and I know that had we eaten at one of the chain restaurant, we would struggle to get a meal of similar standard for the same price.
It is worth mentioning that since our visit, the Market Menu prices have increases to £24.50 for three course but even then, the quality and service is still worth the little extra.