We were recently invited to an amazing leisurely lunch in Edinburgh alongside fellow media people at Restaurant Mark Greenaway in the New Town. The lunch was arranged by Seafood Scotland as part of the Year of Food & Drink to showcase the wonderful quality and diversity of Scottish seafood paired with another premium and national product – no, not whisky but gin! We have some of the best seafood in the world yet most of it is exported, which is good for the economy but disappointing for Scottish chefs and hungry bellies! We now also have some of the finest gin in the world with a plethora of well-regarded and award-winning distilleries.
And so we jumped into a fusion of Scottish seafood and botanical beverages, with the exquisite dishes of chef Mark Greenaway matched with cocktails utilising a number of bottles from the Edinburgh Gin range.
We loved the first course of smoked Gigha halibut, it was pretty unusual and delicious – served in a little “fish bowl” it comprised compressed mango, fennel, smoked halibut consomme with a filo pastry and cauliflower roof! I’d like to try making something like this for Christmas – perhaps go for a snow globe angle (might even make a good pudding?!). This was served with 25ml of the standard Edinburgh Gin topped up with Mediterranean Fever Tree Tonic and a sliver of mango making this a crisp and fresh gin cocktail.
Course two was the most theatrical dish of the day, served in a driftwood box with a floor of seaweed and dry ice with a vial of water on the side; once the water was poured into the box a smoky vapour emanated from underneath the shell holding a perfectly plump scallop which went weirdly well with the vanilla, pork crackling and sea vegetables (samphire and sea purslane). This was paired with a Seaside Martini: 50ml Edinburgh Seaside Gin and 25ml Cocchi Americano stirred with ice, strained into a martini glass and garnished with sea purslane.
Next up was confit salmon fillet with grapefruit cells, beetroot pickled shallots, cucumber relish, compressed cucumber, puffed rice, fennel puree and baby coriander, phew! This Nordic-looking dish reminded us of trips to the Baltics with fresh and lightly fragrant ingredients. This was served with an Edinburgh Gin Grapefruit White Lady which was far too easy to drink!
White Lady: 50ml Edinburgh Gin, 25ml Grapefruit juice, 25ml Sugar syrup and 25ml Egg white. Place all ingredients into a shaker without ice. Shake vigorously. Add ice. Shake again. Double strain into coupe. Garnish with cucumber twirl.
A blackened mackerel fillet with carrot meringues, roasted shallot puree, crab tortellini, shallot tuille served with an Edinburgh Gin Beetroot Tom Collins. WOW so many flavours here! The carrot meringues were fun and colourful (I must find out how to make these) while the tortellini looked like a little mermaids purse. This was our joint favourite dish along with the first course. The Beetroot Collins was another gin cocktail that was far too easy to drink.
Beetroot Collins: 50ml Edinburgh Gin, 25ml Lemon juice, 25ml Beetroot sugar syrup*, Soda water. Add ice to glass and pour all ingredients into glass, top up with soda water, add straw and stirrer, then garnish with Pickled beetroot on a cocktail stick with an orange peel twist. *For the syrup: 8 Small cooked beetroot, chopped, added to 2kg of Sugar and 2 1/2 litres of water with a handful of coriander roots. Boil, strain into bottles and allow to cool.
Finally dessert! Sticky toffee pudding Mark Greenaway-style. Date meringues, crumble, sheep milk ice-cream and marshmallow. Again dollops of flavour, this was the first time we’ve knowingly had sheep milk ice-cream and it was creamy and not what we imagined at all – we feared a strong ammonic taste but thankfully it was just like a good cow’s milk ice-cream. Once again the meringues stole this dish for us. Served with a cannonball negroni which was that good (or perhaps the after-effect of so many gins!) that we forgot to take a photo!
Cannonball Negroni: 25ml Cannonball Gin, 25ml Campari, 25ml Cocchi Rosa. Stir with ice. Garnish with Orange Peel.
Mark deserves his three AA Rosettes as this was extremely delicious food; all fresh and local (Scottish) produce served with a twist – each dish was redolent of the sea (in a good way of course!). We reckon this is possibly the closest thing we have to a Fat duck in Scotland and we hope he gets the smoked Gigha halibut on the menu as it was especially delicious and looked the part too!
Restaurant Mark Greenaway, 69 North Castle St, Edinburgh EH2 3LJ