After the much publicised closure of Mark Greenaways restaurant at Piccardy Place we always waited with baited breath to find out where he was heading to. From his words at the Foodies Christmas Fair to his updates on twitter he was giving nothing away. So clandestine was this becoming that a head chef from another restaurants comment on twitter that he looked forward to having Mark as a neighbour lead to the rumour he was off to the Royal Mile. Then, just two weeks ago, he announced his new location as 67 North Castle Street the site of a former Italian Restaurant and once upon a time an RBS branch.
I was delighted to have a reason for booking for opening weekend, as Stephs parents are in town for their birthday weekend and we couldn't think of anywhere we would rather take them. So roughly 3 minutes after the announcement of the new restaurant was made I had my reservation request sent. Roll on two weeks and last night was the night I've been waiting for, all the more eagerly after such positive comments from those who attended the launch party and Yelpers Jackie.G and Claire.L who were there for opening night.
The first thing that strikes you upon entering in that all of the staff have stayed with Mark, infact he confirmed later he didn't lose any of his staff despite being closed for 7 weeks. Once seated you soon see that Mark and his team have been able to recreate the wonderful ambiance they had at Piccardy Place. To the menu and from the à la carte it was good to see he has kept the favourites while also introducing something new to lift the menu further.
Once we had ordered, the sommelier Loic who we have gotten to know was kind enough to show us his new wine vault, with this having been an RBS the original vault in the basement remains. Given how little time they have has to prepare its amazing how much they have achieved. The wood work and the style they have given this room is really impressive. Loic explained that they intend to further develop the vault and diners will be able to select their wines with an illustrated world map on the wall providing further details. Loic will also be on hand advising and giving diners tasting samples of suggested pairing wines.
As soon as we sat down we were presented with our amuse bouchée, as espuma of shallots. Can't say much about this other than it was delicious. Slight sweetness with earthy undertones it was a great way to start our meal.
For my starter I chose the pave of pigs cheek, served with warm apple jelly, apple purée a flavoured meringue, the pave is wrapped in beetroot carpaccio. This is a dish which has gone through a few developments since I first had it at the Great British Menu party and its only gotten better. The balance of the deep flavour of the cheek with apple and beetroot is superb. It's a dish I would happily order again and again.
For my main I went for the tasting of lamb. Succulent tender lamb, deep jus, aromatic rosemary, buttery mash and earthy brussel sprouts…….delicious! The lamb came three ways, a loin chop, a piece of filet and some leg. The flavour of the lamb was just incredible, the seasoning brought out the taste as much as any producer could hope for.
To finish I decided to revisit a favourite of mine the broken citrus taste. This dish simply put is a work of art in appearance and just as tasty. The zing of the parfait is beautifully matched by the coconut, watermelon cubes clean the palate and the pistachio purée adds another dimension when combined. After dinner Loic was also kind enough to take me back to the vault and give me a sample of the most incredible muscat I have ever tasted, larger quantities will be required when my dry January has finished.
All in all the meal was superb, Stephs parents were delighted and then even more so when they had a good ten minute chat with the man himself Mr Greenaway. Mark is such a friendly guy and willingness to chat to customers at the end of a service does him great credit. With the excitement that has surrounded this opening I can say the product more than lives up the hype. Undoubtedly they have a lot of work to do but with Marks inventive cooking and the team he has around him I am confident this new venture will be a massive success.
Restaurant Mark Greenaway comes highly JD Recommended!