A short walk away from Edinburgh city centre is Stockbridge, a leafy village-like suburb that boasts a tremendous amount of independent cafes, shops, and restaurants, including Taisteal, owned by Michelin-trained chef Gordon Craig. Taisteal is an old Irish word for travel or journey, and it’s well worth the journey to this Michelin-recommended Edinburgh restaurant.
A crisp, sunny day is my favourite kind of day, especially in Stockbridge. Wondering around the area with my mum who was visiting from down south, it was pretty obvious this was a really nice part of town. There were young families, well-dressed couples, the odd tourist, and so many cafes and gift shops you’d think all anyone does here is go for a coffee and purchase twee gifts (probably though).
It was getting a bit chilly, classic Edinburgh, nearly lunchtime, and nearing the time of our booking at Taisteal at Raeburn Place, right on the corner of the high street. My friend met us outside and we made our way in. We were greeted by a friendly manager who checked our reservation on the (rather fabulous) booking system and showed us to our table. The restaurant is cosy, homely, and adorned with pictures from Gordon’s travels, hinting at the inspiration for the menu. So, the menu… Once we’d settled in, and I’d figured out how to work the camera, we decided to go for the Market Menu. A (Tai)steal at £13 for two courses and £16 for three. It’s available if you come for lunch or an early dinner (6-7pm) Tuesday-Thursday, or lunch and early dinner (5.30-6pm) Friday and Saturday.
The Market Menu
Although I was going to have a light lunch and go for the soup to start, it was decided that wasn’t going to happen as soon as Mum uttered the word Malbec. This has become a bit of a tradition with my mum and I, as my granddad was from Argentina, and would always order a bottle of Argentinian red when out for dinner. I mean, it would be rude not to. The waitress came over just in time, my stomach was rumbling and I just wanted a wee bit of something. She brought over a bread board with warm bread and smoked butter. It was great. The flavour of the butter was subtle and didn’t overpower the palate before the meal.
Now for the starter. Everything on the menu sounded delicious, and the flavour combinations were original and interesting. I saw the vanilla, saffron and butternut squash risotto, with mimolette cheese, and walnuts on the menu and it reminded me of one of the best dinners of my life. It was a saffron risotto made by my old Italian flatmate, and ever since then I’ve been dreaming about that dreamy golden combo. If you’ve ever seen Ratatouille, it was like the scene where the critic tastes the most delicious dish made by Remy the rat and gets transported back to his childhood, I was transported.
Vanilla, saffron and butternut squash risotto, with mimolette cheese, and walnuts
My friend went for the game pithivier, pumpkin puree, and salted beetroot, and I managed to try a bite, the pastry of the pithivier was crisp, no soggy bottom in sight. The game was cooked to perfection and the salted beetroot added texture to the dish.
Game pithivier, pumpkin puree, and salted beetroot
After we’d devoured our starters, we eagerly awaited the main course. It arrived promptly, and we got stuck in. My friend went for the pheasant and pancetta, with truffle croquettes, parsnips and shiitake puree. He said the parsnips were the best parsnips he’d ever had and the croquettes were light and not as rich as he thought with the addition of truffle.
Pheasant and pancetta, with truffle croquettes, parsnips and shiitake puree
My mum loves a light lunch and shows much more restraint than me (as you’ll see soon), she chose the roast Coley (a lovely white fish), with parmesan mash and crust, chorizo compote, and pistachio. I managed to have a taste of this one, and the flavours worked perfectly. The spicy, acidity of the compote went well with the subtle cheese flavour of the mash, and the fish just melted in your mouth.
Rroast Coley with parmesan mash and crust, chorizo compote, and pistachio
I went for the truffle and egg yolk raviolo, with veggie haggis bonbons, and mushroom ketchup. I’m a sucker for those bursting yellow egg yolk videos on Instagram, and wanted to see one for myself. Cutting through the raviolo was so satisfying and the golden orange liquid burst onto my plate. I was so excited to try this. The bonbons were crisp, fresh, and tasty, I could have had them on their own and I would have been happy.
Truffle and egg yolk raviolo, with veggie haggis bonbons, and mushroom ketchup
I for one, have a sweet tooth. My mum is more savoury and my friend is just not into desserts. I knew I was going to need a dessert and had already decided which I was going to get. I had my eyes on the hot white chocolate mousse with stem ginger ice cream. My mum was more tame and ordered the affogato. My friend ordered himself a coffee and we nattered away while we waited for our desserts. We noticed that the dining room was full to the brim by the time our desserts arrived. Taisteal is definitely somewhere you need to book beforehand, otherwise you might not get a table. Mum loved the affogato, and the fancy glass it came in. The mousse was surprisingly colourful and had a few different additions. There were pieces of chocolate cake, honeycomb and pistachio in it and it was lovely and warm, the mousse was light, and full of air, and was complimented perfectly by the stem ginger ice cream which melted deliciously into the mousse.
Hot white chocolate mousse with stem ginger ice cream
The meal was a surprise in the middle of Stockbridge, go for a wintery walk along the Water of Leith
and stop off at Taisteal. It’s tasty, and it’s a steal.
Taisteal is a tasty treat...
The meal was a surprise in the middle of Stockbridge, go for a wintery walk along the Water of Leith and stop off at Taisteal. It’s tasty, and it’s a steal. If you do go to Taisteal, don't forget to tag your pics with #ResDiaryRated...