Taisteal, Edinburgh

Stockbridge was my home for many years. I am very familiar with the tree-lined streets, river walks and friendly shops and bars, which make up the community within Scotland’s capital city.

An invite, therefore, to a comparatively new Scottish restaurant, in the heart of the village, as I like to still refer to it, was very welcome and offered an excuse to re-visit some old haunts and discover some new.

The aptly named Taisteal promised ingredients and culinary techniques, from around the globe, married with some traditional and locally sourced, Scottish produce.

To pull something fresh, new and different out the bag these days, is quite a feat; to make it work, attract new custom and keep the local foodies interested, is something else. Yet, Taisteal seems to have accomplished a new spin on dining in an understated, friendly family-vibe restaurant.

Whilst the menu is different and exciting, it is not in the least pretentious and presents tastes on a new level, from simple ingredients producing culinary creations, which are surprisingly good.

With a theatre date, we opted for an earlier slot for dinner but if we thought for one minute this would mean a quiet restaurant, we were very much mistaken as the tables filled with a mix of reservations and off the street curiosity.

An additional Market Menu is available for early dinner guests and lunches, taking advantage of the locally available produce and offering a choice for a surprisingly low cost.

Our starters of a Celriac & Hazelnut Veloute with Chorizo Oil and a Vanilla, Saffron and Butternut Squash Risotto with Mimolette Cheese and Walnuts, arrived with friendly, low-key service and both typified Taisteal’s dishes of simple ingredients, crafted into wonderfully, unique dishes.

It comes as no surprise that chef-patron Gordon Craig has already found his way to in the Michelin guide, AA guide and The Good Food Guide with his Taisteal brand.

An unassuming style doesn’t prepare patrons for the eclectic blends and quite exotic tastes; first impressions were certainly surpassed also in our mains of Pheasant, Pancetta, Jerusalem Artichokes, Port Cheek Tortellini and a Beetroot and Goat Cheese Cannelloni with Veggie Haggis Bonbons and Chestnuts.

Taisteal is one of those restaurants where you feel you have unearthed some big secret; torn between keeping it as such and shouting to the world of its existence….why had we not been here before?

My return to Stockbridge did not disappoint and nor did my first visit to Taisteal…I shall be back, to both; in fact Taisteal is perfectly located and has given just one more reason to return to haunts of old.