Having come through the ranks under Marco Pierre White, with ringing recommendations of quality from the man himself and subsequent accolades – including the 2011 ‘Chef’s Chef’ award from the AA guide – under his belt, it’s not surprising that Martin Wishart’s name on this establishment brings the crowds in.
And they’re not disappointed – Restaurant Martin Wishart has been named as one of Scotland’s premier destinations for fine dining, with Wishart’s intention to turn the area into one of the UK’s leading centres of gastronomic excellence well-documented, and his passion for spreading enthusiasm for and skill with food infectious and refreshing.
Wishart’s eponymous venture features a cookery school nearby as well as the restaurant, which is a distinctly elegant leather- and bare wood-clad place on a charming stretch of harbour in Leith.
Alongside White, Wishart has chalked up an impressive roster of mentors and colleagues, also forming bonds with international recommended restaurants for the sharing of ideas. As a result of this, his style is deceptively simple – the dishes’ cornerstone ingredients lead the way often by virtue of their prestige or being in fashion, meaning that you’ll always find plenty to excite and fire the imagination, but the way in which they’re prepared and presented ensures that the restaurant is famed more for skill, technique and imagination rather than merely pandering to ‘what’s hot’.
As well as proudly wearing provenance on its sleeve – with Loch Ryan oysters, Isle of Mull scallops, and Borders hare on the menu – the kitchen produces dishes that are simply beautiful to look at – taking classic-sounding preparations and serving them in an ever-surprising manner. And it’s not just this appearance that has the power to shock and delight – inventive combinations of flavour and texture like sea bass wrapped in potato and served with bone marrow, poached scallops and smoked celeriac jus, or a mille-feuille of veal sweetbreads and kidneys with cabbage, sage and truffle cream also wow.
The colossal wine list features a wide selection of New World and European vintages by the glass, as well as a predominantly French main section.
Although steeped in the techniques of the classical French kitchen, Martin Wishart’s culinary imagination has a distinctly contemporary edge.
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