Ever wanted to go to a restaurant and eat the menu backwards? Start with dessert and end with the starter? I wish I had, when I went to Ishka for lunch!
Ishka, is situated directly opposite the EICC and is the latest addition to Edinburgh’s vibrant restaurant and cocktail scene.
Their menu is a combination of Modern Scottish food with a nod to the Mediterranean, featuring Scottish seafood and game and vegetarian dishes.
The bar is situated to the right hand side of the restaurant and I can imagine on a Friday night, it would become very busy spilling over into the seating area of the restaurant.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to sample their cocktails but they look sensational. The above images I took from their Facebook page!
But onto the food…
We started off with the Seared Pigeon Breast with puy lentils, sunflower seeds, beetroot and cherry balsamic vinegar. This was a dish created to showcase the main ingredient, the pigeon set in a pool of thin beetroot discs. The pigeon was seasoned well, albeit slightly dry but the soft puy lentils compensated for that. It was a very earthy dish but tasty.
I ordered the Cauliflower Veloute with black pudding and curried potato crisps. An absolutely beautiful looking dish. The veloute was smooth, very creamy and packed a cauliflower punch. The black pudding croutons floated in the centre of the dish and were definite tasty morsels. The potato crisps were crispy on the top and a little soggy underneath from lying in the soup. This veloute is a very large portion, however scrumptious it was, I had to leave half of it as I knew I had another two dishes to make my way through.
Other dishes on the menu include Grilled Asparagus with with truffle paneer or Dressed Crab gazpacho. Both came close to being ordered.
For mains, my dining partner ordered the Rump of Lamb, haggis bon bons, aubergine and zhoug (a paste of coriander, cloves, parsley and green chilli). This arrived on a large red plate with the vibrant zhoug and white of the mash, really standing out. The lamb unfortunately was quite bland but cooked well. The haggis bon bons were the stars here – lovely deep fried breaded haggis balls.
I went for the Pan-fried Hake, quinoa and parsley risotto, cockles and capers. Wow! The smell was incredible and ever so pretty! The fish was delicately cooked, the cockles and the capers added a lovely saltiness in contrast to the butter-iness of the fish. I didn’t like the quinoa and parsley risotto as it was just too mushy and there was far too much of it on the plate.
Now onto what are probably THE BEST desserts in Edinburgh!
We decided to share both desserts so we could have a fair taste but I certainly wasn’t expecting to taste two of the best desserts I’ve had in a long time.
We ordered the Cranachan of vanilla pannacotta, honey flapjack, whisky jelly and raspberries. My initial thoughts were – ah just another take on a cranachan, how many versions of our traditional Scottish dessert can there be!? How wrong I was. The vanilla pannacotta was outstanding. Oh my – the wobble! It was incredible. The whisky cubes, flapjacks and raspberries all played their part but oh, the pannacotta. Just visit Ishka for this alone and check out the video of the wobble on my Instragram page.
Our other dessert didn’t disappoint either; this was the Passion Fruit Tart, with coconut cream and lime leaf ganache. This little tart turns around and hits you in the face with the tangy sweetness of the passion fruit. The pastry is short, buttery and makes for a perfect snap when you press your spoon through the passion fruit set custard. The coconut ice cream was subtle and quite delicious.
The food at Ishka is good. There are elements that need a little work and I would say that the menu is quite hearty rather than light and summery. The staff are friendly enough but as they are promoting ‘Scottish seasonal produce’ some staff training on provenance of food might not go amiss. Saying that ingredients definitely do come from somewhere in Scotland doesn’t quite fill the brief!
Ishka, 83 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8BU Tel : 0131 228 7517 www.ishkaedinburgh.co.uk
My Spoon Award : Silver