I experienced the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival for the first time last year and I thought it was fantastic! I love trying new places and experiencing new flavours and that is exactly what the Restaurant Festival allows people to do.
What is the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival?
This exciting foodie festival lasts for around 10 days in October and allows food lovers to sample a selection of menus from both new restaurants, as well as old favourites. There are a range of different offers and definitely something for everyone’s taste buds. For me, the Restaurant Festival is the perfect time to try a more up market restaurant that you maybe can’t usually afford, but it’s also great for trying places you’ve always wanted, but never got round to.
Where did I choose?
Deciding where to eat and fitting it all in is the tricky part of the festival; many deals are only available at certain times of the day. In 2015 I chose Rhubarb at Prestonfield House for my boyfriend and I to indulge in because James Thomson’s restaurants are highly acclaimed. This beautiful building is located in the city, but feels very secluded and exclusive. The large driveway at Prestonfield feels very grand and sets the scene for the dining experience ahead. As we visited reasonably early on a weeknight the restaurant wasn’t bustling, but we were seated by the fire, which was lovely and the décor is warm, crimson colours with heavy drapes which is perfect for a chilly Autumn evening. However, we were seated almost side by side facing out into the restaurant rather than across from one another, so it did feel very formal and not very relaxed. I ordered the salmon to start – which was a fantastic choice, the hake for my main and the chocolate molten lave cake as dessert. The entire meal was exceptionally tasty and I certainly couldn’t fault the service.
This year I chose another highly rated restaurant that I have wanted to try for a while, but never had the occasion – Restaurant Mark Greenaway. This time I was thrilled to share the Restaurant Festival with Sam and my Mum, who are both big lovers of food. The menu for the festival really stood out for me and I was excited to try the treacle cured halibut, slow roasted pork belly and apple tart. We were seated at a lovely little table in a corner, which made our evening feel very intimate; Restaurant Mark Greenaway is a good size because it’s not too big, but the layout helps to create a more cozy feel. Sam and I chose to have the wine pairings with our meal and I’m glad we did because the pairings were fantastic and gave us a bit more information about what we were eating and drinking. The food here was not only extremely appealing for our taste buds but also for our eyes, as it is served like artwork. The ingredients used are very complimentary but also take a risk, which means no course is boring. We were also provided with salted caramel popsicles at the end of our dinner!
Fancy something a bit different?
The Edinburgh Restaurant Festival has some special, one off events at different participating restaurants throughout the 10 days, but it was the Moveable Feast that really caught my attention this year. I didn’t realise that there were only 20 tickets available, but luckily I managed to secure 2! We were told to meet at Veeno, on Rose Street at 6pm, but we didn’t know what else was in store for us during the evening
My friend, Kirsten and I were taken to a different restaurant for each delicious course; Cadiz, on George Street for our starter, Chaophraya for the main course, Pompadour by Galvin for dessert and finally the Ghillie Dhu for tea, coffee and petit fours. I had never eaten in any of these restaurants before, so I loved getting to try new places.
I thoroughly enjoyed my evening being part of the Moveable Feast and I would definitely sign up again for next year. The amount of food we got was incredible; the event was fantastic value for money! It was a very well organised event with many pleasant surprises! I will most certainly be looking out for any one off events at next years Edinburgh Restaurant Festival.