According to the theory of nominative determinism, people are drawn towards their profession as a result of their name:
Usain Bolt – sprinter
Bruno Fromage – MD of Danone UK
JW Splatt and D Weedon – academics specialising in the field of incontinence
Even if it’s a load of tosh, there’s something rather poetic about having a name which reflects your career. I mean, could Tom Kitchin be anything other than one of the UK’s most exciting chefs?
I’ve been yearning to visit the multi-award winning Kitchin for many years. Tom’s likeable appearances on Masterchef and his stunning looking dishes, inspired by his from nature to plate philosophy have all been major draws.
We chose the seven course tasting menu (£70 a head with a further £10 grouse supplement).
A cornucopia of crudités accompanied by a pot of creamy blue cheese dip scattered with crispy bulgar wheat set the tone for the evening; stunning local and seasonal produce served in cunning flavour and texture combinations.
A top drawer bread selection included tomato, wholemeal, olive and sourdough.
Before we began the meal proper, we were presented with a map showing where the ingredients in our menu had been sourced from.
An appetiser of jellied chicken consommé transformed the unappealing concept of meat jelly into the most appetising thing in the world. Meaty, savoury, salty jelly was furnished with oozing quail’s egg, crispy bacon, croutons, leek cream, chicken pieces and dainty carrot slices.
A stunning tartare of Berwick Bay wild salmon was accompanied by wafer thin melba toast, crisp croutons, rich Newhaven crab cream, refreshing cucumber, and salty capers and salmon caviar.
Delicate sliced razor clams were bathed in a luxurious cream sauce spiked with paprika laden chorizo. Sweet and juicy tomato pieces added lightness to this indulgently rich dish.
Shredded boned and rolled pig’s head had my name written all over it. Moist meat was flecked with caraway seeds to add an extra dimension. A light salad, sweet tomato confit, plump scallop and crispy shredded pig’s ear all played their part in this epic plate of food.
The only disappointing dish of the evening was the fish course. Whilst a meaty piece of turbot and summery vegetables worked together perfectly, a sledgehammer of a creamy citrus sauce made the dish a little heavy and sweet.
Getting full, the arrival of our next course gave me a renewed sense of purpose. Rich and dark first of the season grouse had an almost barbecue smoked complexity to it. The traditional accompaniments of creamy clove-packed bread sauce, meaty gravy and crisp game chips married well with wilted spinach, earthy Perthshire girolles and soft gnocchi.
By now only a truly special dessert could have resuscitated my appetite. They say that great minds think alike. In this case, Chef Kitchin must have been on exactly the same wavelength as the great Colonel Sanders when he created this piece of dessert alchemy. A millefeuille of crunchy shortbread, crowdie cheese mousse, strawberry sorbet, pistachio cream and caramelised sugar was reminiscent of the ultimate strawberry shortcake Krushem. Every spoonful was creamy yet refreshing, indulgent yet summery and crisp yet soft. Wow.
We moved through to the bar area to slouch, sip tea and nibble on some excellent petit fours - creamy tonka bean chocolate truffles, blackcurrant macarons, hazelnut nougat, and coconut and blueberry financiers. As we were stroking our food babies, Chef Kitchin made his way round the restaurant to greet each table. Whilst our brief conversation was limited to “That meal was amazing and the grouse was lush”, it was a nice touch to meet the man behind the poetic name.
We had a great evening at The Kitchin. The food was stunning, the front of house were passionate without being overbearing and the atmospheric dining room oozed sophistication. Oh, and Sir Chris Hoy was sat a few tables away.
Address - The Kitchin, 78 Commercial Quay, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6LX
Telephone - 0131 555 1755
If you want a cheaper dining experience at The Kitchin, a 3 course set lunch will set you back £26.50.