One of Scotland’s most popular and highly acclaimed restaurants – The Kitchin - is nestled in the richly textured stone walls of a disused whisky bonded warehouse on the waterfront close to Leith docks.
Perhaps being graced with a name like Tom Kitchin, he was always fated to enjoy a career in the culinary arts; he certainly has the dedication and flair to live up to his promise. This natural talent was augmented by his education at the hands of great French chefs Pierre Koffman and Alain Ducasse. Perhaps the only surprise is that his Edinburgh restaurant has so far only been awarded one Michelin star. More are sure to follow.
The Kitchin restaurant — Photo courtesy of The Kitchin
The building retains the original stone, and this is complemented by dark wood and muted grey tones with flashes of purple and turquoise. The main dining area is warm and intimate without being too fussy. Simple but elegant walnut tables are surrounded by chairs upholstered with plush purple and brown fabric.
The clean, hard lines of the wood are softened by judicious use of lighting and the intricate detail of the bespoke wallpaper. The tables are dressed with cutlery and silverware that once graced another of Pierre Koffman’s restaurants – the three-star La Tante Claire.
Guests can see into the pristine stainless steel kitchen though a large picture window. There is also a relaxed conservatory-style bar serving lighter meals and snacks.
The cuisine is inspired by classical French styles and techniques, but merges this with wonderfully fresh Scottish produce. Diners are presented with a map of Scotland noting the provenance of the ingredients. Kitchin stays true to his mantra “from nature to plate."
This is particularly reflected by the seasonal menu and his insistence that all butchering and filleting is done in-house. Rather than try to shock the diner with odd combinations and showy techniques, Tom Kitchin gets the most from the wonderfully fresh ingredients available to him and seeks to please the palate above all.
Food critic Jay Rayner commented that Kitchin manages "to take the obvious and, by sheer strength of execution, give you more than you expected."
The a la carte menu is brimming with delectable treats, but it is also worth seeking out the Land and Sea surprise tasting menu, which includes an amuse bouche, a six-course tasting menu (focusing on the freshest seasonal ingredients) and tea or coffee with petit fours. You can also add to this a wine package, which includes a glass of champagne on arrival and a glass of wine matched to each course. The Vegetarian Surprise tasting menu is also rather better than the usual offerings.
The Kitchin was awarded its Michelin star within six months of opening, and the restaurant regularly receives rave reviews from critics. The only possible drawback here is the undeniably high price tag. But the sample set lunch allows those on a more restricted budget to sample high-quality Scottish cuisine without bankruptcy!