Being asked to review Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Restaurant was a real pleasure for me as Head Chef and proprietor Jason Gallagher is part of the Slow Food UK Chef Alliance, an organisation I wholeheartedly support. Jason is one of the 24 Scottish chefs in the alliance and has also been well recognised for his contribution in the hospitality industry with previous awards from the Scottish Chef Awards for City Chef of the Year, 2 AA Rosettes , Gold Award from the Edinburgh Restaurant Association and awards from Eat Scotland.
All Chef Alliance members are encouraged to use seasonal and Forgotten Foods, whilst actively supporting the country’s small scale and good quality local producers. No problem with that at the Stockbridge, as both the a la carte and the set menus change regularly to reflect seasonality with clear references to the restaurants local suppliers on menus.
The Stockbridge is almost secretly located in a basement in Stephens Street in the popular and quirky Stockbridge area of Edinburgh and offers classically cooked food with a modern twist. The richness from the painted black entrance and fairy lights is carried through into the restaurant, where the black walls, with large mirrors and colourful artwork give an uplifting but rich and sumptuous feel to the room.
The staff were extremely welcoming and were more than happy to discuss the menu and answer my questions about ingredients and sourcing. The warm homemade bread served with a tiny jug of olive oil, flavoured with chives chervil and mustard was wonderfully moreish, a simple and delicious touch. The small and tasty amuse bouche of Serrano ham, Mozzarella and tomatoes that followed was equally tasty, so far, an encouraging start to our meal.
With both us being game lovers we both opted for for the spiced pigeon breast with duck liver pate. It was served with wild mushrooms, onions, pancetta and a red wine sauce. The pigeon was perfectly cooked, pink and moist well complemented by the earthy flavours of the other ingredients, making it a rich and flavoursome dish.
Our like of rich flavours continued with our choice of mains and neither of us were disappointed. My generously portioned moist and perfectly flaking grilled halibut was not overpowered by the Arran mustard sauce or the accompanying grilled pancetta, spinach and wild mushrooms. It was served with sauteed heritage potatoes, arranged like tiny standing stones and finished with a perfectly cooked soft quails egg.
Our other main of pork fillet wrapped in pancetta delivered equally on flavour. It was served with meltingly tender pork belly, cheeks, crispy ear, sweet potato and a delicious jus. Pork fillet can be quite uninteresting but this almost nose to tail dish had different levels of rich flavour and texture, with small nuggets of black pudding, making it an incredibly good meal.
The choices for dessert were never going to be difficult for us with two of our favourites among the combinations on offer, rhubarb crumble and chocolate brulee. Firstly, the mood was set with a pre dessert of Jason’s own passion fruit sorbet. The perfect palate cleanser after our meal, it was tart, tangy and exceptionally refreshing.
Of course, as you would expect our desserts were far more decadent and lush than just crumble and brulee. Rhubarb and nut crumble suggests a comfort pudding; one that would be perfect for my partner, but a more sophisticated hand had elevated the crumble to more of an elegant ‘pudding’. Served with a deliciously smooth and creamy vanilla sauce and praline ice cream, they were the ideal comfort partners.
The chocolate brulee dessert was more of a chocolate heaven and not the death by chocolate I thought I might be treating myself to. Served with a soft, moist and slightly gooey chocolate brownie, white chocolate mousse and milk chocolate ice cream it was light with sensational chocolaty flavours.
Without a doubt our meal at the Stockbridge had all the ingredients for an exceptional meal. It ticked all the boxes, Jason’s affiliation to Slow Food’s Chef Alliance, the restaurants sourcing policy for seasonality and local ingredients and the star of the show, the food delivered what it promised, an informal take on fine dining.
The Stockbridge offers the perfect ambiance for a relaxing meal. For a small restaurant, I was impressed that it hadn’t been overfilled with tables, still allowing for a more intimate dining experience.
Both the a la Carte and the set menu offered a good balance of choices between meat, vegetarian and fish and diners can chose between both menus. The set menu offers excellent value at 3 courses for £24.95.
Photography credit – The Stockbridge Restaurant.