Tom Kitchin, on a chef’s tour of Edinburgh … and Lothian

September 3, 2013

The Michelin-starred chef dishes up a tour of restaurants and foodie highlights in his home city, Edinburgh and further afield

For me, sourcing produce from a farmers’ market is a delight, and most of what you find is seasonal and local, which I’m fanatical about. It’s also a wonderful way to learn about ingredients straight from the experts who grow, farm and produce them. Stockbridge Market is on every Thursday and Sunday, and it’s up the street from our gastro pub, the Scran & Scallie, which opened in March, so I like to pop along to see what local suppliers have fresh that day.

Not far away in Leith, the Ship on the Shore seafood restaurant and champagne bar is where, as a family, we often spend Sundays. It epitomises everything I enjoy about Scottish pub food. They respect the produce and keep it simple.

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In central Edinburgh, Castle Terrace restaurant is going from strength to strength. The proprietor, Dominic Jack, is a talented chef and has made his mark on Edinburgh’s culinary scene. His menus are modern and innovative and he makes the most of the fantastic produce we have on our doorstep, delivered straight from land and sea and cooked that day.

Edinburgh has really upped its game in the past few years when it comes to dining at all levels, and we have some of the best restaurants in the UK, where the chefs really focus on the quality of the produce. I really enjoy Ondine, Roy Brett’s restaurant off the Royal Mile. The shellfish is of fantastic quality and I especially like the eye-catching fruits of the sea platter.

Something my wife Michaela and I love to do when we can is get together with friends and head out of town. Whenever we do, we make a stop at the Lobster Shack on the harbour in North Berwick, a small seaside town just outside Edinburgh. The lobster is freshly caught and served with garlic and herb butter.

Although I’ve travelled the globe with my job, there’s nowhere quite like Scotland. St Andrews is a must visit for anyone coming to Scotland and my wife and I love The Peat Inn, which is close by. Geoffrey Smeddle and his wife, Katherine, do a fantastic job up there and the food is first class.

Up in the Trossachs, Monachyle Mhor overlooks Lochs Daine and Voile, a few miles from Balquhidder. The stunning surroundings make it an idyllic retreat. It’s a family-run business and some of the produce is sourced on their doorstep: the bread they serve is from their bakery, and their farm provides the fresh eggs, pork, venison, beef and vegetables they use in the restaurant. It’s a real Scottish hidden gem.

Over at the Gleneagles Hotel, in Auchterarder, Andrew Fairlie is one of Scotland’s finest chefs. His eponymous two-Michelin-star restaurant is in the heart of Perthshire, where I grew up, and sits in a spectacular location.

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Tom Kitchin is Michelin-starred owner of The Kitchin, Leith, Edinburgh (0131-555 1755, thekitchin.com), and owner of The Scran & Scallie, Stockbridge, Edinburgh (0131-332 6281, scranandscallie.com)

Tom Kitchin

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