KAI, Edinburgh

KAI is an Edinburgh based food business and I was lucky enough to experience their second supper club last week. Everyone sheltered from the cold inside Honeycomb & Co. in Bruntsfield and it was a lovely setting for the evening ahead. This was my first visit to the restaurant, but I loved the warm atmosphere and friendly greeting we received, as well as the yummy prosecco cocktail.

After mingling and chatting with fellow diners, it was time to take our seats – Lauryn and Lisa (the team behind KAI) had put together a well thought out seating plan, which made it easy to find a seat. We were welcomed to Honeycomb & Co by the owner, before hearing from Freya at Alliance Wine about the different wines that would accompany our meal. After hearing the detailed descriptions from Freya. I quickly got myself involved in the wine flight, which was a decision I definitely didn’t regret.

The tables were set with both the food and wine menus; this was great because it allowed us to remember all of the ingredients involved. However, the dishes didn’t come out in order, which at first, I thought was strange, but then I realised it was a genius idea because we were always discussing what we were eating. The food was most certainly the topic of conversation all night, with plenty of new and interesting flavours.

The menu was split into 3 sections and to accompany the first 3 cold mezze dishes we received a glass of Chateau Ka Source Blanche, a rare Lebanese wine. I had never had wine from Lebanon before, but it was very enjoyable and tasted similar to a sauvignon blanc, which is my wine of choice. First up we were served lavosh, celeriac hummus, preserved lemon, paprika and smoked almonds. All of the food was to share between 2, again this was a great way to get everyone mixing and talking. I’m a big fan of hummus and this one was great because of the texture; the softness of the lavosh and celeriac against the crunchy almonds made for a tasty dish.

Next, we received the labneh, roasted squash, roasted red pepper, currants and pistachios, followed by the burrata, blood orange, toasted coriander seeds and Scottish heather honey. Upon reading the menu I definitely thought that the buratta would be my preferred dish, but I enjoyed the labneh and roasted veg more. Each dish was full of flavour and different textures, but I found the labneh surprised me more and provided a more subtle taste.

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The buratta was delicious, but had more full flavours with the sweetness of the honey and sharpness of the blood orange; I found that the wine worked especially well with this dish.

There were 4 hot mezze plates and we started with shawarma roasted delica pumpkin, spiced bulgar wheat, date molasses and crumbled feta. As much as I loved the labneh, if I had to pick one of the dishes to have as a main course I would pick this one. It felt like the perfect dish for a cold evening and all of the ingredients were delicious.

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Chickpea and coriander falafel, tahini, zhoug, amba and tomato relish was next on the menu and was fantastic. The falafel was crispy on the outside, but soft in the middle and the sauce was a brilliant accompaniment. By this point I was starting to get quite full!

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The next plate of food was the most controversial of the evening: roasted aubergine, black garlic, pomegranate molasses, toasted pine nuts and basil. I’d never had black garlic before, but it has a very strong taste and the whole dish was very overpowering. I enjoyed the texture, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to eat a lot of this.

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The last of the hot mezze was cumin braised leeks, goat’s cheese, za’atar oil, Urfa chilli and coriander. Again, this was quite powerful with the cumin, but I’m a big fan of goat’s cheese and coriander, so I enjoyed the dish. The hot mezze was accompanied by a glass of Cotes du Rhone Rouge; this dry, fruity red was full flavoured, which meant it matched well with the strong ingredients in the food.

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Our final wine was a Moscato d’Asti Frizzante, a lovely sweet wine, with a touch of fizz; this was incredibly easy to drink! We were served 3 desserts alongside this wine, the first of which was a courgette cake, vanilla cashew cream and confit orange. This was a lovely, light sponge, with the sweetness of the cream and citrus of the orange providing the great taste.

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The second dessert was my favourite: malt barley ice cream, date fudge and ginger crumb – simple but effective! The warm fudge and ginger crumb was a delicious way to dress up some ice cream and I could have eaten this all to myself!

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The final dish of the night was char-grilled pineapple, macadamia, lime and coconut. Again, this was quite light, which after 9 courses, I was pleased about! I’m a big fan of pineapple, so this was another winning dish for me.

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I loved the whole experience of KAI: the setting, atmosphere, company, wine and food were all brilliantly interesting. I found the evening great value for money because of the amount of food we had, but I felt that a finishing time of after 11pm was quite late. It’s easy to see that Lauryn and Lisa are both passionate about food and I loved that they served some unusual dishes. I can tell that I’m going to constantly look forward to what this pair do next.

 

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