Last weekend myself and Nicola were through in Edinburgh attending the Edinburgh Juniper Festival at Summerhall Distillery thanks to having won a pair of tickets from drinks distributor, Hi-Spirits. After sampling over 30 gins from across the globe, we made our way back into the city centre for dinner.
We had been kindly invited to dine at the multi award winning Wedgwood The Restaurant which is located on the Canongate, towards the bottom of The Royal Mile, and is run by Chef Paul Wedgwood and his wife Lisa.
Paul has been in the hospitality industry for many years, gaining his cooking experience in pubs, leisure parks to fine dining Michelin starred restaurants, before opening his first fine dining restaurant, Georgian House in Kendal back in 1999. Six years later the couple made the move north of the border to set up Wedgwood The Restaurant. Since opening the doors in 2007, the restaurant has gone on to become a key player in the Edinburgh dining scene.
We arrived just before 6pm and were the first diners through the doors although it didn't take long for the restaurant to start to fill up. The interior of the restaurant is very modern with a light and airy feel to it, thanks in part to a very recent refurbishment.
We only needed a few minutes to look over the menu, partly due to the fact that we had skipped lunch whilst at the Juniper Festival earlier, and partly down to the fact that there were a couple of dishes that caught our attention straight away.
To start, Nicola chose the Sound of Mull Diver Caught Scallops which were served in a scallop shell with cauliflower korma, pineapple, capers, pistachio and peanut dust. This was a generous starter with 5 plump scallop halves layed over a perfect purée of cauliflower that had just the right amount of Indian spice kick. The addition of tiny cubes of sweet pineapple, salty capers and the earthiness from the nutty dust all worked in harmony with the perfectly seared scallops. We've eaten a lot of scallop dishes in the past and this was definitely one of the best we've had.
My own starter of Buccleuch Estate Fillet of Beef Carpaccio, with smoked Hebridean sea salt, Brazil nut milk, and sesame courgette spaghetti was every bit as mouthwatering. The prime beef fillet had been encrusted in crushed coriander and pink peppercorns before being seared in the pan then thinly sliced and layered on the plate. Corguetti (courgette spaghetti) was seasoned with sesame oil and served on top of the beef along with deep fried shredded spring onion. All of the flavours on the plate were individually delicious but when combined with the Brazil nut milk, they were lifted to another level.
Before our main was served, we were presented with a little palate cleanser of raspberry coulis and lime sorbet served in a shot glass topped up with ginger beer. Lime,raspberry and ginger are like old school friends and get along brilliantly well, This was a clever break in the meal although if I were to make one little criticism, I prefer my ginger beer to pack more of a fiery kick than the sweeter style ginger beer used here.
Service was slick and it wasn't long before our mains were delivered to the table. As is often the way, Nicola ordered the lamb dish. The Lamb fillet, lamb shoulder bon bon, pancetta, braised baby gem, peas and olive gnocchi looked like the perfect Sunday roast dinner. The fillet had been cooked sous vide before being browned in the pan and although cooked all the way through, the lamb was just on the very edge of acceptable for Nicola. The fillet was light in flavour and a perfect contrast to the huge flavour in the crispy bon bon. In addition to the generous serving of lamb, there was also a thick slice of confit pancetta which added another dimension to the dish. The lamb was served on a bed of fresh peas and braised baby gem lettuce and a handful of black olive gnocchi in the richest lamb gravy that I've tasted. You certainly couldn't accuse chef of scrimping on flavour - this dish delivered it in spades!
It took me all of about ten seconds to choose my own main. As soon as I seen the word 'rabbit', that was me sorted. I've only ever eaten rabbit in fine dining restaurants, always trusting that the chef knows what they're doing with this often overlooked meat. When my main course was served to me, it was like a little work of art and I knew then that Chef Paul was more than capable of turning this protein high meat into something special. My main of rabbit, pancetta, with garlic potato gratin, and asparagus didn't just look great, it tasted fantastic. Cylinders of tender rabbit were wrapped in pancetta and stuffed with barley and cavolo nero and accompanied by a well seasoned butternut squash purée, and al dente asparagus spears and heritage carrots. The balance of sweet, salty and smoky was a perfect match and was rounded off by the most amazing potato gratin. I had a rabbit dish cooked for me by Jason Atherton at his Michelin starred Pollen Street Social, which is still the best meal that I've ever had..... The rabbit at Wedgwood The Restaurant runs a very close second!
We were both feeling suitable well fed by this point and after having a look at the dessert menu, we ended our meal with a rich espresso before settling up our bill and heading on our way. Service was quick and efficient during our visit and we were in and out on just over an hour although we never felt rushed at any point. Perhaps if we had both been enjoying a bottle of wine or working our way though the tasting menu, our stay would have been longer. In fairness, after a long day at the Juniper Festival, it probably suited us that dinner was served quickly. That said, with the quality of cooking on show, I know that the next time we eat at Wedgwood The Restaurant, that we will make sure to savour our time at the table.
That's right, there will be a next time. With cooking at this level, there has to be be a next time plus there's a pretty decent wine list with wines to suit all tastes and budgets. I would have no hesitation in recommending Wedgwood The Restaurant if you're looking for somewhere for a special occasion or if you fancy dipping your toes into the fine dining scene. In fact, why not do yourself a favour and check out the well priced lunch menu with three course on offer for just £18.75?
I would like to thank the Chef Paul and his staff for their hospitality and whilst our meal was complimentary, my review above is an honest account of our experience.