15th August 2015 12.30pm
We usually do a nice lunch during Fringe and this time we plumped for Restaurant Mark Greenaway. I have been to his restaurant several times, including the previous incarnation on Picardy Place. This restaurant, situated on North Castle St is a lovely intimate size without feeling other diners are sat on top of you. Muted hues of greys and blues give a calming mood to the venue. The staff were friendly and welcoming and had a polite level of chat, topically about the festivals. Three of us went and two of us opted for the market menu, which is incredibly good value for money at £22 for three courses and even more astounding that it’s available on a Saturday. I had done the market menu a few times so ventured into the a la carte menu which was about double the price of the market menu. The tasting menu, which I have tried before, is also excellent value at £65.50 for 8 courses (or £100 paired with wines). I chose the wood pigeon to start, followed by halibut. My friends both went for the pork ballotine to start and then one went for the salmon for main and the other went for risotto.
Whilst we waited, bread and butter came to the table. A generous amount of bread, two slices each, one of white and one brown, sat in a little basket. The butter was warm enough to spread easily and there was more than enough to go round. The bread was good and somehow managed not to fill me up before the courses started to arrive. I was not drinking but the other two opted for a half bottle of white wine which they commented was very good.
The starters came out and were visually appealing. Mine had all sorts of delights scattered across it. Firstly were three slices of pigeon. Perhaps a little more done than my preference but still tasted moist and succulent. The little confit leg was a joy. The parfait was excellent and packed with flavour and surprisingly also appeared inside the cherries where the stones once were. The hazelnuts added a bit of crunch to proceedings. The nasturtiums made the plate look beautiful and gave an additional lift to the presentation. The other two were delighted with their pork and were amazed at the size of the portion considering they were on the market menu. The pork was tasty and all the accompanying pieces worked well. The black pudding bourbon was particularly favoured. I also heard an audible crunch of the puffed crackling as each of them bit into it.
The mains were also beautiful to look at but mine definitely had the most work put into it. The halibut was presented and the waitress poured over the velouté. I am a sucker for a velouté and this one did not disappoint. The fish was beautifully cooked and flaked perfectly. The ring of accompanying elements were delicious. There was a nice mix of textures and flavours with crunch and softness but all were working in harmony with the fish. This was Mark Greenaway’s pure talent at work. The salmon was also being enjoyed. She couldn’t believe what a generous portion of the fish she had received. The parmesan and spring vegetable risotto was a stunning green and again was really enjoyed. If mine hadn’t been so amazing, I would have been very jealous of that risotto.
Desserts are a must at restaurant Mark Greenaway as I certainly think this is his forte, based on my previous visits (I’ve had the knot chocolate tart twice, it’s that good). I went for the raspberry roks and moss this time. My friends went for the raspberry fishbowl and the chocolate fondant (the latter comes with a warning that it will take 15 minutes). The wait wasn’t a problem and it flew by. Again, these were good looking dishes. Mine had some really interesting parts to it and again mastered the array of textures. As some elements were so strong, I felt that was I think was the consommé didn’t hold up to the rest of the dish (although would have been delightful separately). However, the pieces that created this dish were very clever. The chocolate fondant smelt amazing across the table. It was devoured. Even the waiter asked if it had been worth the 15 minute wait and my friend nodded enthusiastically. The raspberry fishbowl was beautiful and was deemed light and zingy but the granola gave it weight. If desserts really aren’t your thing, there is a nice range of cheeses as an alternative.
This visit to Restaurant Mark Greenaway was thoroughly enjoyable. I love coming here and think you should go too!
Food – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 9/10
Overall – 36/40
Cost £116 for two 3 course market menus, one 3 course a la carte and a half bottle of white wine