Graz­ing by Mark Green­away

The Scotsman - - FOOD & DRINK -


Wal­dorf As­to­ria Ed­in­burgh – The Cale­do­nian, Rut­land Street, Ed­in­burgh ( 0131- 222 8857, www. mark­green­away. com)

My late dad once joked that my mum had gained weight be­cause of her snack­ing habits. He dubbed it “graze anatomy”. ( Don’t worry, I will hide this mag is­sue, she need never know).

Like her, I need to pad out the saggy and rum­bling pauses be­tween feeds.

How­ever, to sat­isfy those ge­net­i­cally in­her­ited pangs, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t go to this mis­lead­ingly named place from chef Mark Green­away, whose epony­mous res­tau­rant on North Cas­tle Street closed down last year.

While graz­ing might sug­gest ca­sual tapas and shar­ing plates, it’s ac­tu­ally a pretty stan­dard three course af­fair, with a few op­tions de­signed to serve two. Stuff­ing Your Face with Mark Green­away might be more ac­cu­rate.

As you might ex­pect from a chef with Mark’s ex­pe­ri­ence, set­ting up in the five star Wal­dorf As­to­ria ( aka The Ca­ley) prices for main cour­ses hover un­der the £ 30 mark – a bit more spendy than this venue’s for­mer res­i­dent, Galvin Brasserie de Luxe.

The in­te­rior looks about the same though. It could do with a bit of a re­vamp, to tell us a bit more about the new res­i­dent, but maybe that wasn’t part of the deal.

When it comes to food, it’s not The Pom­padour, so there are no amuse bouche, though din­ers do get some rather good trea­cle stout bread with a pot of meat- flecked sticky duck but­ter. We were lucky it wasn’t yucky, though not par­tic­u­larly sticky or ducky.

From the starters list, I went for the “mack­erel/ hi­bis­cus/ ap­ple/ beet­root” (£ 10). It looked so bon­nie, with the fish’s chrome skin cam­ou­flaged against the tex­tured plate, and there were sliv­ers of beet­root, pansy petals, but­tery blobs of cous­cous and other pret­ties. The flavours were rather re­strained though – I got a wakey­wakey ping from the green ap­ple gel, but noth­ing much else. If this was a disco, I’d be ask­ing the DJ to turn the mu­sic up.

We pre­ferred the “ham hough/ quail egg/ pineap­ple” (£ 9), with a puff of pea purée speared with shards of de­hy­drated pineap­ple, two discs of com­pressed ham and a Liliputian fried egg.

Ap­par­ently, our main course of

11- hour slow roast pork belly/ mash

(£ 27.50) was a dish Mark cooked on his Great Bri­tish Menu telly stint. I missed that, since I have a back­log of Net­flix stuff. It was rather good though, with a block of sea- salted meat, savoy cab­bage, a bank of smooth mash that was a glis­ten­ing ve­hi­cle for a gal­lon of but­ter, some cop­per coloured tof­fee ap­ple jus and cubes of ap­ple.

The “hake/ shell­fish can­nel­loni/ bisque/ leeks” (£ 27.50) was one of Mark’s typ­i­cally aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing dishes. It’s true what they say about eat­ing with your eyes ( though I don’t like it when the crumbs get stuck in my lashes). The mono­chrome can­nel­loni was as stripy as Beetle­juice’s suit, and was stuffed with meaty and sweet minced shell­fish, with a foamy and stock- rich sauce, a strip of bur­nished leek and other bits. Eas­ily the dish of the day.

They have lots of sides here – eight, which is more than any­thing else on the food list. We went for the craggy bol­lards of “Ken­tucky fried cau­li­flower/ gar­lic aioli” (£ 4), but they were hard in­side. Also, the “ugly pota­toes/ gruyere/ thyme/ gar­lic” (£ 4) didn’t re­ally work, since the knob­bly nutty tu­bers were un­der- sea­soned and I wanted more cheese, please.

Since we’d ex­hausted our bud­get on side dishes, we went for a sin­gle pud­ding – the brown su­gar cheese­cake/ tomato/ feuil­letine (£ 9.50). My other half is a bit of a cheese­cake purist, and didn’t rate it much. How­ever, I en­joyed the ozone- y tomato flavour in the syrup and the creamy basil- leaf- topped layer of fluff on top of a toasty- flavoured and crispy densely packed crépe base. Clever.

I get the feel­ing Mark has done some com­pro­mis­ing when it comes to the food. At his own restau­rants – Bistro Moderne and Res­tau­rant Mark Green­away – there was theatre and a sense of oc­ca­sion.

This feels a bit like the sti­fled and lite ver­sion of his cook­ing/ style.

Still, I’m sure he’s just set­tling in, and when he does, I shall re­turn to work on my graze anatomy. n

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