Tony Borthwick’s Plumed Horse in Leith, recently relocated to capitalise on the growing wave of foodie destinations in the vicinity and riding high on his ever-growing reputation, has won praise from up and down the UK which far outweighs its relatively diminutive size.
Situated in a quiet street behind a frontage done out to look impressively stable-like, the restaurant has been notice for its service, its cosy atmosphere and – above all – its food. Much has been made of Borthwick’s story: namely, the accident which gave him time to reflect on a change of career, and the path of hard work which took him to his Michelin star. Here, the food speaks for itself.
The dining room is small and intimate, pleasantly refined with understated decor and country-house touches, and the food matches this.
Luxury ingredients and delicate touches of global flavour – marinated fruits, juices, jellies – rub shoulders with much more robust local fare on the menu here. So starters might consist of a guinea fowl and woodpigeon terrine accompanied by bacon vinaigrette and thyme brioche; foie gras will make it onto the menu accompanied by wine-flavoured jelly and marinated grapes.
Classic combinations like monkfish and Alsace bacon could arrive with sauce vierge and smoked eel alongside the garlic mash and green beans, and roast duck breast might be augmented with exotic pineapple and wine braised pak choi among other things.
There’s a knowing nod to cuisine of the past – be it in the form of casserole of veal, albeit one which is augmented by fashionable kidney and sweetbreads, or in his desserts, which encompass knickerbocker glories, baked Alaska, and sundaes.
The wine list is very extensive and covers broad sections of the globe, with several available by the glass; champagnes and dessert wines also receive some thoughtful selection.
Tony Borthwick started his culinary career after an accident on his horse led to a broken neck and a year-long recovery, during which time he decided to pursue his dream.
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