Boys Eat Scotland review of dinner at Contini Cannonball, at Cannonball House on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
After a cry for help on Twitter for suggestions on where to dine in Edinburgh at short notice on a Saturday night, a very nice person from Contini Cannonball kindly offered us a table in their new restaurant. This restaurant has slipped under our radar and so we thought why not give it a try? I’m so glad we did. The restaurant is the last stop before the Castle and is located in a historic Old Town building that has a colourful history and has been sympathetically restored to house a Gelateria, a Cafe and on the top floor a stunning fine dining room. The building was a primary school in a previous life and this influence can still be felt throughout the restaurant behind the very chic interior design. I felt transported back to my old Perthshire village primary school with the large sash and case windows and clunky grey radiators – hopefully the food, toilets and a rap on the knuckles with a ruler wouldn’t complete the nostalgia trip…
|Cannonball House right at the top of the Royal Mile|
The entrance to the restaurant requires a little ingenuity to find but there was a lovely greeting from a member of staff and (I think) Mr Contini himself. We were ushered upstairs to our table that had a great view of the castle glowing pink from the dark Autumn night – a lovely start to the evening. The restaurant has a very welcoming and comforting feel to it which is impressive considering the very high ceilings and large windows. The room is dominated by the hefty marble topped bar where the friendly staff bustle about lit by large globe lights suspended from the ceiling. The atmosphere is also very pleasant with the sound of happy diners enjoying the relaxed surroundings and efficient service.
The restaurant’s focus on Scottish ingredients starts with the fresh warm bread served with butter and Hebridean Sea Salt and continues throughout the menu. I decided to go for the not so Scottish herbed Ricotta served with organic local beetroot, pine nuts and an orange dressing (£6). Donnie had the potted chicken liver parfait with Tobermory 10yr old whisky soaked figs, rosemary butter and charred focaccia (£7). My starter was light and fresh tasting with the earthy beetroot taking centre stage – a lovely combination of textures and flavours. The parfait was also a hit with the figs providing a juicy accompaniment although the flavour was slightly too subtle for this lover of whisky.
For the main course I ordered the most seasonal item on the menu, Burnside Grouse with Contini Corvina red wine, blackberries and roasted Phantasie organic beetroot (twice in one night) – £18. Donnie went for chargrilled venison with Scottish kitchen garden redcurrants and Scottish chanterelle mushrooms – £20. The grouse was absolutely delicious, the gamey flavour was lifted by the tart brambles and the earthy taste of beetroots – can’t wait to see what they do with the grouse this time next year. The venison was also nicely cooked (someone knows how to cook game), pink inside with the delicate flavour of the mushrooms. Treat yourself and add on a side of jacket chips – hot, thick cut wedges of crispy goodness.
To appreciate the castle view for even longer we decided to indulge in desserts. I chose the chocolate torte that consisted of Valrhona 70% chocolate with amarena cherry and chantilly cream – £8. Donnie went for the whisky Affogato – espresso with vanilla ice cream and Tobermory 10 year old – £8. The torte was surprisingly light in texture considering the intensity of the chocolate. This is one of my favourite flavour combinations and it didn’t disappoint-the sweet sticky amarena cherries tasting nothing like an actual cherry fruit but reminiscent of holiday ice cream in Rome – heaven. The Affogato went down equally well and he’s still raving about it – how can something so simple taste so good?
Our bill for the night was just shy of £100 for three courses, coffee and a bottle of Montepulciano (£24.95). We loved the location and the obvious passion that the owners have for their ingredients and also their customers. Mr Contini spent the evening chatting with his patrons and you don’t often see that in restaurants – the confidence in their menu is justified. We look forward to going back to school soon…
Thank you for the complimentary glass of Prosecco on arrival.
356 Castle Hill
EH1 2NETel:0131 225 1550
EH1 2NETel:0131 225 1550