Edinburgh's Hawke and Hunter unveils new signature restaurant
- Margaret Craik
- 7 March 2011
Polished, relaxed, and the food is absolutely fabulous
Flash Edinburgh bar-venue-club Hawke and Hunter has unveiled a new signature restaurant. Margaret Craik had a peek under the hype
Put on those designer threads and shiny new shoes, the new restaurant at Hawke and Hunter has landed. It’s polished. It’s relaxed. And the food is absolutely fabulous.
This elegant townhouse with its chic cocktail and whisky bars has been working the glossier end of the Edinburgh social scene for a while. But the arrival of new chef Mark Greenaway earlier this month is taking the restaurant and private dining rooms to a new level of destination dining.
Born in Biggar, Greenaway’s training and travels have included a stint at Glasgow’s One Devonshire Gardens, then five years absorbing cutting-edge techniques and trends in Australia. But it was while working as head chef at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel in the Borders that a chance encounter with old schoolfriend and Hawke and Hunter MD Barrie Brown sparked the idea for a signature restaurant in the capital.
Technical virtuosity is the hallmark, with the odd circus trick of presentation thrown in to keep things interesting. White onion is distilled to a mellow, light-as-air frothiness and speckled with black mustard-seeds for a deliciously pretty amuse bouche. A whip streak of raspberry dressing and intense orange jelly spike the richness of confit duck, while pearly white skate and squid enchant both the eye and the palate paired with the intense gothic inkiness of black olive mash and ruby-red beetroot.
Just a few days after launch, Greenaway is already noting subtle shifts. ‘At first, chicken and beef were the top picks. Now everybody wants the skate.’ Fillet of Borders beef with bone marrow beignets and braised beef pithivier is a good dish in anybody’s book, but this and the free-range chook with pied bleu mushrooms is the safe way to go. The fact that within days diners are buying into the risk-taking end of the menu’s spectrum suggests that word is out and people are coming here for serious dining.
And if you’re really up for it, there’s the tasting menu (£65.50). No names, no pack-drill, just eight surprise courses of the chef’s choosing. Break out those Jimmy Choos and come in.
+ ‘Look, Ma, I’m dancing’ dining
– The odd touch of Blumenthal too far