Wednesday, 20 May 2009

RESTAURANT REVIEW: A Room in Leith


Seaside splendour
May 2009

On entrance this establishment can be deceiving. The front bit is the pub, (Teuchters Landing), a newly refurbished one full of energy and punters enjoying libations by the shore this Saturday evening. The friendly face behind the bar recognises my look of disorientation and directs me down a corridor to a quieter portion of the building which occupies A Room in Leith. A stunning locale for a restaurant, it is entirely windowed so every diner can enjoy a peaceful experience by the water. It is here that my friend and I forget where we are over the course of the next hour or so, as if we've been transported to a totally different seaside city.


The lofty impression the atmosphere leaves us is only heightened while we pore over the menu, which changes every six weeks or so. Every choice is innovative with ideas as fresh as the ingredients, which have a clear focus on Scotland. My friend eventually decides on baked portobello mushrooms topped with roasted garlic butter and Mull cheddar, encrusted in pistachios and garnished with a pickled red onion relish (£5.25). The flavours here merge from every direction while the dish remains delicate. We also share a terrine made of confit duck and hamhock that is unbelievably light, considering the ingredients, and seems the perfect spring starter with the accompaniments of celeriac remoulade and Arran mustard dressing (£5.45).


Pleased with the appearance of roasted wood pigeon breast on this menu, my friend has this as her main and it is served a beautiful shade of red with very crispy haggis fritters, truffled thyme mash and a Hawthorn berry glaze (£16.25). The meat melts in the mouth as it is more than just tender, it simply dissolves with every bite and couldn't be better complemented with the glimmer of truffle in the potatoes. My sea bream fillet is crisp, expertly seared and served over a lush chowder of king prawns, rocket and butternut squash with citrus brioche croutons (£15.25).


For pudding, we share a warm tart of rhubarb, orange and almonds finished with an amaretto custard (£5.25). Yet another moment when we experience every glorious flavour at once, layered and baked to enviable perfection.


Chef David Hand certainly has two new fans who are already intensely curious of the menu's next transformation. See you again in six weeks!


Also published here in Bite Magazine

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