Restaurant Martin Wishart (Edinburgh)

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Address: 54 The Shore
Type of Meal: Lunch

When a Michelin starred restaurant offers a 3-course lunch menu for £28.50 it’s a deal that's hard to pass up. So, we made the short cab ride out to Leith, Northwest of Edinburgh's city centre, to visit the restaurant.

Being a French restaurant, you certainly got that classic upscale French feeling when you walked into Martin Wishart with the crisp white linen, sparkly crystal and shiny silverware. Luckily, the staff were friendly and didn't appear to be snooty, albeit not nearly as friendly as the other Edinburgh restaurants we encountered. 

Not long after ordering a small dice sized horseradish beet macaron was presented meant to be eaten in one bite to wake up the palette. It was an interesting combination with the sweet macaron shell and the creamy horseradish spiked filling; a good savoury take on the French dessert. 

Following was a more substantial amuse bouche trio consisting of a haggis croquette, foie gras shavings and a parmesan cheese puff.  I thoroughly enjoyed the fried haggis ball with its smooth flavourful meat filling and crunchy exterior.  Not being a fan of foie gras, for ethical reasons, I was glad it was only a small portion. Nonetheless, it was smooth and flavourful and almost refreshing in how they prepared it – it appeared to be mixed it with something, frozen and then shaved and topped with a complementary crispy element. The cheese puff was tasty - as cheese and choux pastry generally would be, with an astonishing amount of cheese for such a small ball.

My starter, ravioli of wild mushroom, was my favourite dish of the meal.  It could have easily been a main with another ravioli and the addition of some protein. Even though the pasta dough was thin, there was still a nice chewy texture and stuffed full with diced mushrooms - the mixture being so dense that you could have sworn there was some meat in there binding it all together. The foam was delicate and allowed the woodsy mushroom flavour to shine through.  Even the sautéed cabbage sitting under the ravioli, a smart way to stop them from sliding around the dish, was delicious. 

As can be seen from the picture below, the roast cod was seared beautifully giving it a golden brown crust, which goes so well with the delicate soft fish.  The dish was a bit salty, not sure if it was from the foam, the fish or the wilted spinach on the bottom. The fish itself was good but not very memorable.  The only unexpected highlight was the thin medallions of potato boulangere dotted around the dish - deliciously flavourful with a slight herby essence, which is somewhat sad given they were an inconsequential part of the meal.

On the other hand, the navarin of Dornoch lamb my husband ordered was such an intensely flavourful dish.  This French lamb stew was a good nod to Scottish cuisine and almost like beef bourguignon.  The lamb was tender, flaked apart easily and had a rich deep sauce covering everything. This is certainly a hearty dish you want if you're hungry, Martin Wishart provides a substantial portion topped with typical stew ingredients (carrots, onions and mushrooms). Celeriac purée, served in a separate dish, accompanied the dish and added a silky, buttery and creamy touch to everything. 

French cuisine is known for their desserts and my apple tart bourdaloude did not disappoint its warm flaky crust, beautifully fanned layer of apples and dollop of chantilly cream. Thankfully, the apples were cooked well - tender throughout but still had a slight bite to it.  For me, the dessert was too sweet; I just wish the apple itself was a bit tarter so it could have cut through the sugary syrup. 

I loved that Martin Wishart has a cheese cart, which they roll over when you order the cheese plate (supplement of £10).  There are about a dozen of options available and the server asks your preference before building a cheese plate catered to your palate.  My husband, liking stronger tasting cheddars and not blue cheeses, was given a variety of French cheeses with one lone Scottish cheddar. Not pictured are some crackers and bread that is placed on your side plate when this is ordered.

Enclosed below is a picture of the chocolate macaron with black current filling ordered by another guest. I can't comment on how it tastes since I never tried it, but thought I'd share since it was so beautifully presented.

Sadly, there were a couple of slight hiccups that I found surprising for a Michelin rated restaurant.
  • Perhaps this is common in Scotland, but when we requested tea and coffee with our dessert, we were instantly charged the coffee + petit fours option with the meal (£5.95).  To make things worse, we weren't even brought any of the petit fours, despite being charged to it making each hot beverage quite costly.  I will say that I enjoyed that they heated up their teapots and milk, but still for £6 a cup it was a bit steep.  
  • The second issue was that they just couldn't remember my water choice! My guests prefer sparkling (£5.50 per bottle) while I just like plain ice water.  Both times they refilled my glass, either I or someone from my table had to stop them and state no sparkling water for me as I prefer ice.  After hearing this, they didn't offer to replace my water so I had to drink the carbonated version that I detest.  I know it’s something small, but something that easily could have been avoided – just write down the guest’s preferences somewhere!
All in all, for the price of the meal, Martin Wishart is a great value option.  For the most part the dishes were delicious and atmosphere posh, elegant and relaxing.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!