Monday, 12 November 2012

A Secret Garden Meal at The Witchery

Special occasions call for special treatment. So, one crisp Sunday afternoon we treated ourselves to a special meal.

It was a strongly recommended little place called The Witchery located at the base of Edinburgh Castle.

This was part of a whirlwind Edinburgh weekend which included a few of my favourite things: running, fantastic company and good food. What more could a girl ask for?

We found the entrance to the Secret Garden at The Witchery down a quirky little alleyway in the basement level of an old building.

Our lunch venue had timber beams and hanging vines, white tablecloths and many, many candles (which I imagine would have been an amazing addition to the atmosphere in the evening). It felt quite secretive and special.

This place was highly recommended by online reviews (ie: Tripadvisor) for providing delicious dishes made from high quality local ingredients.

I was excited about trying the Three Course Set Lunch which looked as though it offered a glimpse into their amazing menu at only a fraction of their a la carte price.  I do enjoy a bargain! 

The set menu also helped to narrow down the selection which was a bit mind-boggling.  

For my first course I chose the Salt Cod with Crostini and Potato. 

Served on a black slate, the creamy potato lump with two crostini masts poking out was a slight disappointment.  

I'm not sure what I expected but I could not taste anything that was noticeably definable as salt cod (nor could I remember what vegetable I was eating).

Sadly, the only flavor coming through was from the fresh dill. 

The identity of this velvety smooth puree remained a mystery until I saw the menu again at the end of our meal...ah yes, potato.

Across the table, my lovely dinner date was tucking in to his picture perfect first course.  I wanted to reach across and steal it. 

The Roast Partridge with a Scotch Quail Egg was right up there with what the reviews had said about the level of quality food to expect.

It had flavour combinations and textures which all came together perfectly in the forkful I tasted. 

I was having some serious food envy but I had two more courses to make up for a less than perfect first course.  

My second course of Pan Roasted Mullet with Celeriac was centred on my plate like a fish fillet planet surrounded by mini roast potato moons (drizzled with a delicious rich mustard cream sauce). 

I was back in the running with this course. 

I was curious to see the second course choice on the other side of the table, Braised Ayrshire Beef Cheek with risotto and greens. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find it was not some grinning bovine head straight from a horror movie.  Instead it was a succulent hunk of tender beef on top of creamy risotto with an amazing tasting gravy.     

Dessert was up next and it was the best course yet.

In an unusual twist, suppressing my sweet tooth, I opted for the cheese plate.

From the choices available, I decided on an incredibly stink-tastic soft goats cheese.  Oh boy did it whiff! 

Each biteful was so delicious when combined with the fig jelly, chutney and oat cakes.   

Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, the Knickerbocker Glory which arrived looked amazing with it's glassy sugar accents and brightly coloured syrup.

To summarise, the highlight of my meal was definitely the horrendously whiffy cheese course which was the envy of my table.  

Even with this superb course forever etched into my taste bud memories, my first course of bland potato mush, which was unmemorable for the most part, has tainted my overall Witchery experience.

That said, if I win the lottery anytime soon I will be heading back to sample their a la carte menu with my bushel basket full o' cash.