We've always wanted to go to Taisteal, as we follow the chef on Instagram and he always posts amazing looking dishes which really peak our interest. We've had a really busy (and expensive July) so weren't planning any more dinners out but after seeing a great offer for Taisteal via Stockbridge local we felt it was a sign too obvious to pass up! So we booked in for a Tuesday evening with the chance to try either their A La Carte menu or their interesting 5 course tasting menu. I'd also like to add up front, the value that Taisteal offers is exceptionally good - even without any offers - so I feel we really got a steal here.
Visit Details: Tuesday evening, July 2018
Menu Choice: A La Carte
Food Creativity: 7/10
Taisteal offers a set 5 course tasing menu as well as an A La Carte menu. Taisteal utilises the best of Scottish ingredients and combines them with techniques from around the world to create an interesting food fusion with a definite influence from Asia. This can be most seen in the tasting menu which - while we didn't opt for it on this occasion - offered interesting dishes like Gin Cured Salmon with Octopus and Compressed Watermelon or Maple & 5 Spice glazed duck breast. While the food fusion is interesting, it is still seated firmly in widely tried and tested cooking techniques.
Cookery Skill: 8/10
Nothing can beat a good scallop and we had been craving them for months so having those on the A La Carte menu was the main driver behind us opting for that over the tasting. And boy did they deliver! They were cooked perfectly with great caramelisation on the top and bottom and being juice and gelatinous in the middle. I can firmly say I've never had Scallops with Satay before but the combination really worked and delivered an excellent dish. For my main I had roasted cod with Ham Hock Raviolo. Again, all aspects were cooked brilliantly, the cod being meaty and flakey and the tender juiciness of the ham hock pairing well again. Chloe went for the Pork Belly. The Pork was tender and fell away easily and the Black Pudding Gnocchi was an innovated way to create the classic pairing. The only disappointment was the lack of a crispy crackling on the pork. It wasn't that the fat on top wasn't rendered, it was just completely missing, not sure if a cooking decision or an omission but it would have been next level with some beautiful crackling to contrast the meat.
A cosy and casual restaurant nestled in Stockbridge, it's already on to a winner. It's a small restaurant and you really feel the buzz when it gets busy (which is great) but also manages to maintain an individual cosiness at each table. With it being small you feel like more focus and time can be given to you and that comes across in the attentiveness of the staff and the food.
Service is perfect for the feel that Taisteal is going for. Informed and casual. Staff were very polite and attentive with good knowledge of the food and drinks but without being over the top. Just allowing you to enjoy the food, surroundings and your company to the fullest. NOTE: A 7 is in no way reflective of a bad service. Service is very good and exactly as I would want from a restaurant like this. It just does match (and doesn't try or need to) the detail etc of some very high end restaurants.
Even without our voucher I would have rated this a 10. For the level of food, the prices are exceptionally good, you'll be hard pressed to find many dinners as good as this in Edinburgh for less money. Particularly not in Stockbridge.
Taisteal has a lot to offer with changing lunch and dinner options and at the price point, I'm certain we'll be back numerous times. I described Taisteal to a friend as a perfect date night that won't break the bank. Taisteal delivers great value whichever menu you go for.
01 - Pan Fried Scallops with Satay sauce, black pudding and pomegranate (yes both of us!)
02 - Roast Cod with Crushed Peas, Arancini and Ham Hock Raviolo
- Pork Belly, Black Pudding Gnocchi , Celeriac and Apple
03 - Cheese Board from I.J. Melis
Wine - Conda Valdemar (2017)