Great Places to Eat in Scotland
- Off The Wall, Edinburgh
Off The Wall (telephone tel 0131 558 1497 and e-mail email@example.com) is at 105 High Street, The Royal Mile.
Edinburgh's Royal Mile is a favourite haunt for visitors to the city, stretching from the Castle at the top of the hill down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the foot. This is a perfect street to stroll down with its quality gift, whisky, tartan and woollen shops with a choice of cafes, bars and bistros. You may walk past one particular fine-dining restaurant hidden up a curving flight of stone steps opposite the Crowne Plaza hotel - Off the Wall, a quiet haven for a truly memorable lunch or dinner.
The bright airy dining room with a row of tall sash windows overlooking the bustle of the Royal Mile below, simple decor featuring cream and claret-red walls and soft lighting creates an ambience of elegant sophistication. Restaurant manager Aileen Wilson gives a personal welcome and ensures the service is genuinely friendly and attentive without any sense of formality and fuss. Each course is served with just the right pace to enjoy a relaxing meal.
The phrase "Off the Wall", may indicate something rather wacky or crazy. There's nothing wacky about the cuisine served here - the best Scottish seafood, game, meat, salads and vegetables prepared by Chef David Anderson with exceptional imagination and culinary flair. The emphasis is on blending contrasting tastes and textures with unusual combinations to enhance a particular style of fish or game.
Sitting at our corner table (crisp white linen table cloths and napkins, glistening cutlery and glass), we sipped a chilled glass of sparkling wine as an aperitif. A basket of warm wholemeal and white rolls was brought to the table with a perfect round pat of butter on a blue porcelain tile. Then we were presented with the chef's appetiser, a tiny portion of Parmesan and Parsley Risotto (cooked al dente) with a slither of Salsify and black Truffle, a subtle blend of savoury flavours. Then our selected starters - a miniature soup pot of Cream of Jerusalem Artichoke with Truffle oil - creamy, hot and very satisfying. My partner enjoyed a warm salad of crab, smoked salmon, rocket leaves with pesto dressing.
Our main courses arrived: Seared Salmon on a bed of green beans, roast potato with a sweet and sour sauce, a curious choice yet the delicate flakes of fish combined well with the tangy marmalade-like sweetness, [just a tad too sweet for my taste]. Meanwhile my partner delved enthusiastically into his Pan Fried Halibut - a succulent slab of pure white fish beautifully presented against the ivory-green braised chicory and parsley sauce. I had a sneaky taste - again a delicious blend of flavours and perfectly cooked.
Otherwise on the frequently changing menu, there may also be a choice of Seabass, Scallops, Tuna, Venison and Beef. While there is no vegetarian dish on the menu, equally tasty and inventive dishes will be prepared on request.
And so on to Dessert and a scrumptious choice of tarts, chocolaty puddings, ice-creams and cheese - the latter which I selected and was presented with a marble slab of the best quality perfectly ripe cheeses direct from a small speciality shop in Paris. My companion selected the Orange and Almond Tart with Mulled wine sorbet and a marzipan sauce. I could not resist a spoonful: utterly sensational.
Then time to relax with a double expresso and café latte to help the digestion as we finished our bottle of wine - a fruity Sauvignon Blanc from Chile.
Contact the restaurant for current menu and prices.
Off the Wall is warmly recommended - simple yet superb Scottish cuisine creatively prepared to tempt and tease the taste buds. All in all, outstanding quality amidst elegant surroundings. No wonder it has now been included in the prestigious Good Food Guide which is enticing more and more diners up the steps to this hidden gem of a restaurant.
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