In my last review of Ishka (you can read it here) I mentioned that I wished I could eat the menu backwards starting with desserts, as Ishka in my book, are one of THE BEST places for desserts in Edinburgh. They truly are dessert masters.
So for this review I’m going to start and finish with a dessert and everything else inbetween.
It’s a strange thought, going into a restaurant and just eating dessert. But we go into a restaurant and just order starters or mains, so why not dessert??
This brightly coloured dessert is the Elderflower cheesecake, raspberry macaroon, muesli soil, peach crisps and peach puree.
This has all the components that make your tastebuds do a wee jig. The flavours of the Elderflower were subtle allowing for the raspberry to take centre stage. It was a delicate dish but robust at the same time. The macaroon was spot on – a little chewy on the inside with a soft crunch on the shell; the cheesecake was smooth and creamy and the muesli, crisps and puree added all the additional elements that changed every mouthful.
From dinnertime desserts to breakfast. As we were sampling the dinner menu, we also got to try out some of their fabulous new cocktails. This one is the Breakfast with Earl. Minus 33 gin, blood orange liqueur, marmalade, Earl Grey syrup and lemon juice. You’ll pick up lavender on the nose and definitely an Earl Grey tea finish. It’s an unusual taste but one that keeps you sipping.
Tropic like it’s Hot was a favourite. Pineapple, cardamom, walnut bitters, Chairman’s Reserve Rum, Coconut and Vanilla.
It all sounds innocent enough until you take a sip. You’ll feel the heat from the chillis start to build in your mouth, but then magically is dissipates and turns sweet. So very drinkable.
Enter the Dragon is one pleasing cocktail. It looks superb and enticing and tastes just as you think it would. Calle 23 tequila, Creme de Passion, Lime Juice, dragon fruit cubes and a lime salt rim. It’s sweet and sour at the same time. I loved the super lime salt rim.
For starters we enjoyed the Scottish Salmon with heritage tomatoes, garlic & shallot chutney, spring onion salad and spiced tomato water.
You could smell the aroma of this dish before it hit the table. The heritage tomatoes were perfectly ripe and fresh and adding the spiced tomato water enhanced this dish. It worked so well with the soft flaky salmon fillet. An absolute perfect Summers dish.
Onto one of the most colourful, bright and vivid plates of food I’ve been served in a long time. It’s like a flower in bloom. Beautiful. This is the seared pigeon breast with berry jam, black pudding croquette, diced beetroot, candy beetroot and pistachio nut soil.
The pigeon was served warm, pink in the middle and it was melt-in-the-mouth. The beetroot served two ways, really livened up this dish but also brought the rich earthiness of this dish to the fore. The black pudding croquet and the nut soil provided the crunch element. All in all, delicious!
For mains I tucked into the Atlantic Cod with coconut, garlic & coriander poached fennel, layer potato cake, shredded kohlrabi, mangetout and spinach.
The fish was a large succulent fish fillet that had been pan fried and was well seasoned with the skin cooked till crispy. However the lovely cod was out shone by the sides of vegetables. The fennel, kohlrabi, mangetout, spinach with coconut, garlic and coriander were the perfect medley of flavours and textures. Great crunch, with soft garlicky spinach to wrap the coconut flavours around the large serving. My only small gripe is that the poached fennel water had gathered in a pool around the entire dish, covering the plate with a translucent opaque liquid.
My dining partner went for the char-grilled chicken, pancetta mash potato cake, broccoli & Strathdon blue puree, pancetta crisp and buttered kale.
The chicken was char-grilled bringing a slight smokiness to the dish, the pancetta mash potato cake was soft and mushy but in a really home-cooked loving way and the broccoli and blue cheese puree when smothered on the chicken was rich and savoury.
And now for the last dessert which was exceptional! Feast your eyes on the Berry and Coconut Dessert. Frozen berry mix, warm coconut & vanilla soup, salted peanut crumble, mint syrup and candy floss.
Oh my……. the coconut and vanilla soup needs to be packaged and sold in a vat. It’s insanely good. Plus it has everything that sweet tooth foodies will crave – peanuts, crumble, mint, candy floss, edible flowers and frozen berries. I can say no more other than encourage you to go and eat this dessert.
These dishes are all from Ishka’s new Summer menu. You’ll also find mouth-watering dishes like their Spiced Strudle of roasted root vegetable and curried lentil filo strudel served with cauliflower puree and buttered kale; or the Scottish Sea Trout served with diced potatoes, yellow and green ribbon courgettes, sunflower seed pak choi, tapenade and caper dressing, and crispy kale.
The food is filled with healthy ingredients with interesting twists and flavours that you wouldn’t necessarily put together yet they compliment each other well. I think it’s a well thought out menu for Summer. They also run a great Market Menu – 3 courses for £22, Monday to Friday, 5-630pm.
Still go for dessert…..
Ishka, 83 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8BU
Tel : 0131 2287517 www.ishkaedinburgh.co.uk
My Spoon Award : Gold 9/10