As an extra special treat, Donnie booked restaurant Mark Greenaway for dinner on my birthday which happily fell on a Saturday.  After a couple of delicious cocktails at Chaopraya’s Palm Bar, we were ready for something tasty for dinner.  The restaurant was buzzing when we arrived although our table was situated in a smaller room just off the main dining area.  This bit has a few tables and not much atmosphere – it does feel like you’re missing out on the party next door and the decor was more shabby than chic complete with a vase of flowers that had seen better days.  We ordered a couple of Caorunn gin and tonics from our super-efficient waiter to have while perusing the menu.
There are a few different options to go for on the menu including an eight course tasting menu but we  decided just to do it Frank Sinatra style.  Our super-efficient waiter returned to our table after about two minutes to take our order – we hadn’t got past starters on the menu so we asked for another 5 minutes.  There were enough options for each course to satisfy most diners and they all sounded delicious using the best of seasonal Scottish ingredients.  A lot of restaurants pay a bit of lip service to using locally sourced seasonal ingredients but it’s nice to see a chef practice what they preach on telly.
We ordered our food and chose a Chablis Fevre (£45 – Chablis 2013, Domaine Nathalie and Gilles Fèvre) – the wine is expensive and this was a bit more than we would normally spend but it was my birthday and I’m worth it – turned out to be a good choice.  We were presented with a complimentary chilled tomato amuse-bouche which was a nice touch.  Donnie has a tomato allergy so I got to scoff two while the concerned waiter zoomed off to the kitchen to bring back an alternative leek and potato version which was very kind.  He did lose a few brownie points by standing over Donnie watching him eating it then whipping off with the unfinished amuse-bouche and even worse his unfinished gin and tonic.  We managed to recall the latter but it did leave us slightly un-amused.


Our starters arrived and I went for the parmesan and spring vegetable risotto with a soft poached hens egg and basil oil (£8.00).  Donnie went for the Loch Fyne crab cannelloni with smoked cauliflower custard, lemon pearls, herb butter and baby coriander (£11.00).  Mine was the more conventional of the two starters and tasted very fresh with the crunchy spring vegetables topped off with pea shoots and the perfectly poached egg.  Donnie’s starter made a bit more of an entrance and thankfully also came with eating instructions.
The dish was served in two parts, the top half had some salad leaves, the cannelloni with crabmeat, herb butter and lemon pearls while the bottom half had the cauliflower custard, more crabmeat and the actual woodsmoke.  After removing the top part, a puff of woodsmoke escaped into the air giving us a slight panic that we’d set off the fire alarm.  Happily it didn’t and Donnie got to enjoy the most fabulous starter that actually lived up to the theatrics – the crabmeat was delicate and delicious with the lemon pearls giving a zesty burst of flavour.  A memorable way to start our meal.




After the ta-da excitement of Donnie’s starter, we were keen to see what was in store for our mains.  Mine was the 11 hour slow roasted Clash Farm belly pork with pork cheek “pie”, blackened fillet, sweetcorn and toffee apple jus (£22).  This ultimate comfort food dish was a collection of expertly cooked pork dishes brought together by the sweet toffee apple jus and sweetcorn.  I really enjoyed the crispy crackling topped pork belly, the tender pork fillet and most of all the flavoursome shredded pork cheek topped with creamy mash – happy birthday to me!
Pork Belly


Donnie ordered the roasted Gartmorn Farm duck breast, confit duck leg and potato ballotine, roasted salsify, parsnip and orange puree and tarragon jus (£28.00).  The duck breast was perfectly cooked pink with a crunchy layer of skin and the confit ballotine was delicious though it was a little bit overshadowed by the diva of a starter.


As it was my birthday, there was no way I was leaving without dessert and I went for the baked Alaska, salt baked pineapple, green tea sponge, coconut meringue, lime espuma and vanilla ice cream (£9.00).  The waiter presented the dish with a little surprise that was taken away to reveal the deconstructed version of this classic underneath.  I did really enjoy the different elements (except the slightly bland green tea sponge) although they didn’t quite add up to a satisfying enough whole.


Baked Alaska
Donnie’s was a similar deconstruction on a gooseberry Eton Mess with marshmallow, custard jelly, chantilly cream, frozen espuma and meringues (£8.50).  It was certainly an enjoyable abstract mess that again didn’t quite come together but then that’s maybe the point – full marks for adding a bit of fun and humour to dessert.


Eton Mess
Last but not least were the petit fours that came unbidden and were a delightful end to our lovely evening at Restaurant Mark Greenaway.   The bill for three courses, bottle of wine plus a G&T was £144.70 which we thought reasonable for this exceptional standard of food.  I’d definitely try and book a table in the main restaurant as we did find the annexe a bit like waiting in the wings of a theatre production.  The service could also do with being a bit more relaxed although staff were very knowledgable and thoroughly pleasant.  It’s also nice to see the actual chef in his kitchen rather than just being a name above the door.  We will come back to this restaurant because they serve imaginative food that is full of flavour, wit and above all is never dull.


Petit Fours


69 North Castle Street
Tel: 0131 226 1155


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