Taisteal is the re-booted “Field Grill” restaurant, aka the site of the fondly remembered Buffalo Grill in Stockbridge. While the decor hasn’t changed with the name, the menu certainly has with chef Gordon Craig still in charge but this time letting his creativity run riot. They have a choice of five starters, five mains and four desserts all featuring seemingly random ingredient combinations from chef’s travels around the world. We arrived on a chilly Thursday night, and the place was packed – they do a phenomenally good value £10 Market Menu between 6 pm and 7 pm Monday to Thursday and at lunchtimes.
The restaurant is a welcoming place to dine and the slightly harassed staff managed to be both friendly and efficient. The menu features a globetrotting mixture of ingredients and the best of Scottish produce – it wasn’t easy choosing as we wanted to try everything. We nibbled on some homemade sourdough bread served with herb butter while making up our minds.
Our starters duly arrived with Donnie’s plump golden hued scallops resting in a pool of lightly spiced satay sauce. Bite-sized cubes of crispy black pudding surrounded the scallops along with the garnet coloured pomegranate seeds – the dish looks stunning. The beautifully cooked scallops – soft in the middle with a delicate crust along with the nice addition of crispy peanut wafers was a triumph. The unusual flavour combinations transform this traditional scallop/black pudding combo into something special, and Donnie loved it.
My starter had two generous fingers of tangy goats cheese whipped into a creamy frenzy and scattered with chopped up bits of walnut. The truffled honey is the perfect accompaniment, and the tart apple matchsticks give a welcome bite of freshness and crunch. It was all very indulgent with the addition of a golden crumbed nugget of baked soft cheese taking things a bit too far – well almost!
For the main course, Donnie went for a generous sized portion of grilled venison haunch that was beautifully pink in the middle. The meat was tender and is surrounded by the roasted butternut squash, fluffy pillows of gnocchi and topped with nutty sesame seeds. Underneath are meaty mushrooms and the fruity cassis jus makes this a rustic treat.
I could almost smell my duck breast before it arrived, the heady scent of five spice is warm and comforting. Cutting through the caramelised exterior, the duck breast was pink and succulent, the maple syrup giving a rich, sweet flavour. The char-grilled pak choi and edamame beans are a nice leafy green contrast. The lucky dip in this dish is the shitake mushroom samosa, a perfectly formed baked crispy morsel. I eat duck quite often when eating out, and this is one of the nicest combinations I have tasted- a delicious plateful of flavours.
Room for Dessert?
Chef hasn’t run out of creativity when it comes to desserts either. We quite often share a dessert due to a lacklustre menu but found the choices here hard to resist. Donnie went for a delicious chocolate fondant with a gooey yuzu flavoured middle that was sharp and tangy enough to counter the richness of the sponge. The orange curd powder and sorbet were also deliciously tart and citrusy. He scraped the plate to within an inch of its life.
My cheesecake had a perfect consistency neither too blandly soft or too dense. I don’t know how they managed it, but the delicate and slightly perfumed lychee flavour shines through, given added excitement from popping candy. The ice-cream introduces more eastern flavour into the dish and is deliciously creamy with chunks of heat from the stem ginger – fabulous!
Taisteal means journey in Gaelic and chef Gordon Craig invites you on his travels while still remembering his Scottish roots. The food here seems eclectic but is well thought out and beautifully presented. We enjoyed our visit, and the fresh and exciting menu has lots of hidden surprises up its sleeves – you won’t leave disappointed. The staff are also very charming and the fact that they were two bodies down that evening is a testament to their level of professionalism. This menu provided one of the best meals we have in Edinburgh in a while – highly recommended.
How to book a Table at Taisteal
1-3 Raeburn Place
Tel 0131 332 9977[/su_gmap]