Looking for restaurants in Edinburgh? Read our review of Condita, and check out more suggestions for eating in Edinburgh here.
Condita in a nutshell
Wine writer Mark Slaney has opened a fine-dining outfit in the south of the city showcasing some serious talent in the kitchen.
Conor Toomey is an experienced head chef, having completed stints at The Isle of Eriska hotel near Oban, Amberley Castle at Arundel, Storrs Hall at Windermere and Coworth Park in Ascot.
What’s the vibe?
It’s quiet and low key. Condita’s simple white walls come with hangings that regularly change with the seasons, in keeping with the Scottish landscape. Tables and chairs have a sleek mid-century vibe.
What’s the food like?
Dinner is a five or eight course ‘surprise’ tasting menu that uses produce grown for the restaurant in a walled kitchen garden in the Scottish Borders. Alongside this the best Scottish meat and fish is used wherever possible. The kitchen also uses a forager for wild ingredients. There is no menu as such, just a hand-drawn bookmark with a few key ingredients sketched on it. It’s a great keepsake and provides intrigue as to what’s to come.
A beautifully silky-sweet poached mussel to start is topped by a seaweed emulsion and black pearls of caviar. It sits in an edible shell made from potato and squid ink. It’s only a bite but a perfect one nonetheless.
Haddock is sandwiched between hot, salty and crispy chicken skin. Topped with smoked crème fraiche and confit egg yolk and mousse it’s clever stuff, reflecting a highly technical chef who’s clearly in his element.
Salt-crusted slices of celeriac come topped with very finely cut raw celeriac remoulade and a creamy caramelised sauce. Vivid-green parsley oil is drizzled over it and is mopped up with a mini sourdough loaf just big enough for two, its crispy black crust and soft innards the perfect accompaniment.
A savoury-sweet course that precedes dessert is a stand out. Parsnip mousse, cocoa butter layers, honey foam and honeycomb is akin to the best honey-roasted parsnips you’ve ever had. Light, fluffy and sweet with a delicious honey flavour.
Pudding is a divine Yorkshire rhubarb parfait, freeze dried raspberries and an almond custard orb encased in white chocolate and wrapped in silver leaf. It’s a sensational end to a highly accomplished tasting menu.
And the drinks?
There is the option to have matched wines by the glass with the tasting menus. Wines have been carefully chosen from small-scale producers who work organically or bio-dynamically, and most of them have been shipped to Scotland exclusively for Condita.
Don’t expect this to be a quick night out – Condita is perfect for those who want to linger over dinner.
Condita, 15 Salisbury Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1SH
Words by Hilary Sturzaker
Photographs by Greenshoots Phootgraphy