A Radish Revelation

When dining at a Michelin starred restaurant, one expects to be wowed by fancy pastry work, complicated cooking techniques, and food presentation striking enough to warrant space at the Louvre. During my recent meal at The Kitchin I was amazed by a radish.

The simple root veg was presented whole, leaves in tact, as part of a complimentary crudites starter. Figuring anything they put on the table was going to be of a high standard I decided to be brave and try a radish — a vegetable I've done my best to avoid ever since I grew teeth. To me they were just bitter watery disks, lurking in salads, requiring a swift removal. But this one looked different; more stunted-carrot in shape, with a colouring bleeding from hot pink to white tip. I crunched down, and it was a revelation. Crisp, peppery, refreshing and spicy, I'd never tasted such a radish. Do I like radishes? By the time you get to your 30s you don't have many moments when you realise a food you detested as a child is actually nice, most of those transitions happened more than a decade ago. But for me it obviously took a multi-award winning restaurant to restore the humble radish's reputation.


Tasting Menus: Edinburgh and Glasgow

Recently Alex asked me to set aside a long weekend, he'd planned something to celebrate our anniversary. Four days, hmm, enough time to venture to another climate. In giddy anticipation I impulse-shopped a sun hat and a new pair of shorts. Just in case, you understand. "We're going on a Scottish city break!" he announced the night before our departure. Quietly, I tucked away the summer wear, and undertook a flurry of food research. Twitter is a fantastic resource for restaurant recommendations when you're short of time. I was happily overwhelmed with suggestions.

While I'd wrongly gauged the climate, he had very rightly gauged where to go. For years I've talked about wanting to visit Scotland's metro gems — Edinburgh and Glasgow. He listened. He planned. We went! And it only rained for half a day! We canvassed many acres of pavement throughout these two beautiful cities, and worked up quite an appetite. This is by no means a travelogue of everywhere we ate. These are the true stand-outs, the menu choices that I'll still be thinking about next anniversary.

The Kitchin
This one he chose. And he chose so very, very well. Run by a chef who was christened to cook, Tom Kitchin, the restaurant is located in Leith, a dockland area about 10 minutes from Edinburgh centre. The Kitchin's slogan is 'From Nature to Plate' and I've seen the chef on TV enthusiastically divulging how he really gets to know the people who provide the restaurant with ingredients, sometimes even accompanying them foraging or on fishing trips. His love for cooking with seasonal ingredients is evident the moment you open the menu. There is a Celebration of the Season daily specials menu, alongside the seasonally-minded a  la carte menu. The space manages to feel simultaneously decadent, friendly, buzzing, and relaxed. A huge window allows diners to watch the action in the kitchen and extends a bit of drama into the room.

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