Merienda: A rare jewel for fine dining
Carrie Mitchell discovers a rare jewel in Edinburgh’s fine dining scene...
Joppa might seem an unlikely place to discover one of the world’s most prized ingredients but when Edinburgh chef Campbell Mickel heard that a local woman had found what she thought may be a rare white truffle (known as the diamond of the truffle kingdom) in her garden, he was in the car in seconds.That very white truffle is the star of the show in our lavish meal at Campbell’s new Stockbridge restaurant Merienda but it is by no means the only precious flavour presented to our lucky palates.
Serving artfully assembled Mediterranean-inspired small plates, the elegant yet unfussy eatery on North West Circus Place seats just 20 diners, allowing Campbell and his team to provide the most personal service you’re likely to get in the capital. Tempted away from Michelin-star winning restaurant 21212, chef Robbie Probert is Campbell’s right hand man in the kitchen; while front of house is the delightful dungaree-clad Paulina who is as passionate as she is knowledgeable about the food and wine on the menu.
And there’s plenty for her to get excited about. The lengthy menu features a monthly-changing roster of dainty but delicious dishes designed to allow diners to create their own tasting menu. Our favourites include a decadent meaty Ox Cheek Gateau with Turnip Fondant, £7.50; that wonderfully white-truffle blessed Hot Potato, Parsnip & Truffle Air, £6.50; and the most flavourful, creamy, salty Cullen Skink with Saute Potatoes and Chive Oil, £8. For dessert, we have a silky Crème Brulee, £4.50; and opulent Orange Chocolate Mousse with Gingerbread, £4.50.
No stiff white linen, uppity staff, just great food, wonderful wine and a warm, fun atmosphere.
The accompanying wine list features some of the best wine we’ve ever tasted, many served by the glass and most at ridiculously affordable prices, including our top picks, the aromatic Aramis Colombard Sauvignon, and a juicy Spanish Tempranillo, both£5.And that’s the best thing about Merienda –how accessible it all feels. The food and wine are easily as good as anything on offer at the finest gourmet restaurant but there’s no unnecessary ceremony or pretension here. No stiff white linen, uppity staff, or reverential silence; just great food, wonderful wine and a warm, fun atmosphere. Go, wear trainers, make a noise, it’s all fine here. Just don’t shout about it too much afterwards. We have a feeling it’s going to be hard enough to get a table here soon as it is.
30 N W Circus Pl, Edinburgh EH3 6TP. Tel. 0131 220 2020. eat-merienda.com