Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Witchery, Edinburgh

Wednesday 4 July
First, we want to give a shoutout to our lunch spot, which was called Oink.  Actually it doesn't need a name, because this hole in the wall has an entire pulled pig in its front window.  They pile the pork on a brown or white bun, add a smear of haggis (surprisingly inoffensive) or sage and onion dressing (preferable), decorate with relishes of sweet chili sauce or apple (we recommend both), and hand it to you.  Makes an excellent quick meal.
Our dinner venue, however, was as spiritually far from Oink as it is possible to get: The Witchery hotel and restaurant, right in front of the entry to Edinburgh Castle.

The view through the portal actually looks like a castle itself.  The darkened dining room was welcomingly warm after the chilly fog outside (though the host greeted us with "It's like Malaysia in here!"), and had elegant painted wood ceilings, elaborate lights, candles, and beribboned napkins. 

Every local supplier is named and praised on the menu.  We started with Guy Grieve's scallops baked with herbs, garlic, and Iberico pancetta (much subtler than the usual chorizo); and six luscious oysters from the Lindisfarne nature reserve.
Then we progressed to hot-smoked Loch Duart salmon with warm sea vegetables (samphire, perhaps?), thick sweet potato chips and oyster hollandaise; and gamey rump of Borders roe deer on a crusty circle of pommes Anna, adorned with chocolate oil, a few dice of roasted squash, wild garlic, and a little purple fig.
Our wine was a bottle of Mont Joie sauvignon blanc, and a glass of Montaguillon with the venison.  And tonight's scotches were Bun and Ben: Bunnahabhain 12 year old, light, flowery, but with a punch of alcohol; and the much richer and heavier Benromach Sassicaia, aged in the winecasks. 
We walked home in a romantic fog.  No, really.

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