Small, unassuming Michelin starred restaurant in suburban Edinburgh serving small, tasting dishes
Condita opened in 2018 and means ‘built’ in Latin but also ‘dressed’ salad in Italian. The owner is Mark Slaney (a wine expert) and also run by Rachel at his side. The head chef is Conor Toomey previously of Isle of Eriska, Coworth Park and The Latymer at Penny Hill Park under Michael Wignall, so he has been in some very good culinary company. This visit was during a lockdown whereby it was not possibly to dine inside but thankfully, at the time in Edinburgh, this was no problem and allowed. It was an accomplished meal in an unassuming place where one goes for the passion of the food from those there that are equally passionate about it. The £80 tasting menu only option was not the cheapest relatively, but there was a lot of work and technical skill to enjoy here, making it a good use of time.
First to be served was Scottish crab and seaweed emulsion with crab paprika, avruga caviar. This had a very light pastry and nicely done. Chicken skin crisps were light, crunchy and had lovely emulsion aspects too. Haddock with parsley and celeriac emulsions had a wonderfully smokey feel and were well cooked with a gorgeous crunch on the crisp.
Lobster tempura was delightful – it had a far harder crunch than actual tempura, compared to when having in Japan, but extremely nice. You are always going to lose some of the lobster when deep-fried, but this was still sweet and the miso glaze was lovely and sharp on top with lobster mayonnaise.
Sourdough with 4-year-old yeast with goats butter and green onion oil was a creative offering and a pleasure. Tartare of Dairy Cow Dashi had a lovely flavour running through, with great richness from the emulsion and a brilliant decision of toasted brioche inside – this had just the right crunch and one of the best tartares I have had. Bravo Condita.
Jerusalem artichoke, reduction, Garla cheese, gnocchi was plain, very enjoyable. After the perfectly done gnocchi, the artichoke itself was the stand out star with its chopped thyme and mustard cress underneath. There was just the right amount of pickle in mushrooms to accompany reduction. Next came a beautifully tender partridge. A minor hick-up, unfortunately, was a bone being in the parfait but these things can happen and thankfully caught in time(!). Burnside farm was the supplier for the game.
Suffolk fermented apple, originally known as ‘Bygone’ was a lovely combination all round with good acidity and sharpness of the gelatine bringing all together. A plum dessert sprayed with white chocolate was ok but, the wine gum pieces were a bit too chewy and welded the teeth together – my personal preference is to not have this. An absolutely glorious pear dessert with mascarpone ice cream, spices, cinnamon, and almond cream finished off the meal very well. Guatemala El Douranzo Coffee from Glasgow (Gren Lyon) was served.
There was a lot of heart went into the making of this menu and I couldn’t enjoy any of the wine list as the lockdown laws permitted dining inside restaurants but no alcohol to be served. This didn’t seem to stop someone who chose to sit opposite me in a cafe before the meal open his second bottle of port at 10 am which was a new one for me. Unfortunately, just a little fizzy tea for me and water to accompany an otherwise impressive meal, save for a couple of blipped moments.
Food Grade: 72%
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