I’m a huge fan of Edinburgh. It’s a such beautiful city, with loads to offer and it delivers two of my favourite pastimes in abundance; theatre and dining. I absolutely love going to the Fringe Festival in August to see an array of weird and wonderful shows and there are fabulous pubs and restaurants aplenty to keep even the most fussy of food critics happy for a week.
Perhaps this should go without saying, it is the capital of Scotland after all, but compare it to somewhere like Leeds with a population of around 50% more people and you soon realise that the residents of Edinburgh are very lucky indeed.
Apart from the weather that is. I honestly think I would move there if it wasn’t so blummin cold!
On my latest (rather windy) trip to Edinburgh I had two fantastic meals and found a delightful little coffee shop as well. The first was at Ondine, a seafood and shellfish restaurant just off the Royal Mile, which prides itself on being passionate about the sourcing, seasonality and sustainability of its ingredients.
The fabulous oyster display as you walk in gives you a good idea of what you are in for, no less than four options to choose from, this is a place that takes its food seriously.
The menu is mainly aimed at those of a seafood persuasion but there are a few non fishy items on the menu; a chicken and foie gras terrine, a whipped goats cheese and beetroot salad and Orkney fillet of beef. But however tempting these might sound, I can’t imagine any fish eater opting for them when there is so much else on offer.
We sampled preposterously light tempura squid, generously dunked in a delicious sour, salty vietnamese sauce. Razor clams with rich, spicy chorizo. Fresh, thickly sliced oak smoked salmon with classic horseradish, red onion and caper accompaniments. Each dish was simple but perfectly executed. A classic act one, satisfying but leaving us eager in anticipation for what was to come.
Mains included a generous fish stew finished off with a dash of pastis, which my husband referred to as “mental”, an affectionate term only ever used once before, to describe Glynn Purnell’s Masala Spiced Monkfish.
I was so tempted to have the fish and chips but I felt like I might be missing out so instead I went for grilled lemon sole with lashings of parsley, garlic and caper butter and a side of broccoli with hollandaise, it was faultless.
The moules marinière and the diver-caught scallops with spicy pork sausage also got a resounding thumbs up.
To finish, our deserts of treacle tart with clotted cream and an orange and almond cake with ice-cream were great, light but decadent and very precise – which I’d say sums up the food at Ondine pretty well.
If you love fish, a trip to Edinburgh would not be complete without a visit to Ondine. Generally I much prefer meat but I’d have happily gone back here for a second helping the next day!
The service was fabulous, the chef was both charming and talented and a great time was had by all. 9/10
If you’re on a budget I would recommend trying the lunch or pre-theatre menu. At £25 for 3 courses it won’t break the bank and I very much doubt you would feel short changed with 3 choices for each course.