Gardener’s Cottage opened in July 2012 and Owner Chefs Dale Mailley and Edward Murray have done a marvellous job of making Gardener’s Cottage a destination restaurant for those who know.
Word about the Cottage has spread with virtually no advertising because Dale and Edward consistently deliver dinners that make you go mmmmmmmm. It’s often fully booked even though it’s not yet well known across the piece. And it feels even more special to be indulging in a pleasure only a few have experienced.
Dale and Edward focus on using locally produced ingredients and pushing the envelope with unusual textures and flavours (more of which later) all sprinkled with the perfect amount of friendly service. Above all they’ve kept the rustic feel of the gardener’s cottage. Indeed they grow vegetables and herbs for the restaurant in the garden.
I thought I might look through the window at any moment and see Lady Chatterley’s lover chopping wood.
Find out more about the history of the building on the Gardener’s Cottage website.
There are two dining rooms at the Gardener’s Cottage, the main room from which you can see the kitchen and another room which, if I recall correctly, has one table for 10.
A little bit different…
The Cottage experience is not for everyone. You will be sitting on large tables, with other people. I enjoyed that aspect as it was a bit different, and totally in keeping with the ‘feel’ of the place. We exchange a few jokes with our ‘tablemates’ but other than that it was no different from being at a restaurant where the tables are close together.
And the menu is a set menu. This is a great chance to try different things and explore options you wouldn’t normally try. The Cottage ask about allergies and are happy to cater for ‘strong dislike’ too. Pete went for fish instead of deer for example. Our waitress explained each course as she brought it. It felt more adventurous than your average restaurant experience.
To get us started delicious freshly-baked bread. Fluffy, creamy and oh so moreish. My mouth is watering with the memory.
The starter of asparagus, crab, cucumber hollandaise and radish was simple and tasty. The freshness of the ingredients and the perfect balance of flavours and textures, the crunch of the asparagus and the creaminess of the crab show how much care goes into offering plates which are at the same time elegant, rustic and close your eyes divine.
This is our view out across London Street. OK it’s still cold in Edinburgh. In May. Sigh. But it’s brighter. And when you’re an Edinburgher, you have to be grateful for small mercies!
Look at the tableware darlings! Vintage, quirky and showcasing a surprisingly good soup. Who knew artichoke and parsnip soup could taste so good?! It must be the lovage oil.
For me the roe deer was the highlight. It was perfectly cooked, velvety in texture and utterly flavourful. As I chewed, I may have emitted the odd mmm, if not an aaah. I really shouldn’t be allowed out! But for you, I must subject people to me.
What made it really special were the details. The potatoes buttery, creamy and the dehydrated kale crispy and the roasted cauliflower crunchy. Oh. My. Goodness. It was pleasure overload. It really was.
Beetroot and cheese?! But again brilliantly executed and even a non-beetroot-liker ate the lot and declared he’d been ‘turned’. That’s Gardener Power.
On my earlier visit we were served a turnip sorbet. Four of were out on that occasion and 3 of us loved it. The other is remaining staunchly anti-turnip-sorbet. But what a talking point for a date. You’ll find out a lot about your potential partner at the Cottage.
And and and, have I said? It’s incredibly good value. I really don’t know how they do all of this for £30 per head. But they do. And we can reap the benefits of their obvious love of food in a beautiful, relaxed, rustic setting and experience the pleasure and excitement of taste sensations with every one of the 6 (yes 6!) courses. Plus the bread, we can’t forget the bread.
There’s no need to wait for a special occasion to book at table at Gardener’s Cottage. But do me a favour, keep it to yourself. It’s hard enough to get a table as it is.
Let me know your thoughts below
Have you been to Gardener’s Cottage? Would you like to go? Do you think it’s a good restaurant for a date?
If you’ve written a review of Gardener’s Cottage, please leave a link to your review in comments below. I’d love to read it.
EDINBURGH DIVA RATING: 10/10
1 Royal Terrace Gardens, London Road, Edinburgh EH7 5DX
0131 558 1221
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