I was lucky to get sight of one of Edinburgh’s most anticipated restaurant openings last night, the Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage. The first ever restaurant on Calton Hill, with breath-taking views across the Firth of Forth and the city skyline, it opened on Saturday and its spectacular; although my pictures won’t do the views justice, with too much reflection of people in the glass windows.
The menu includes breakfast, lunch or dinner, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling views of Edinburgh and beyond. Built on a cantilever so the restaurant is partially suspended over Calton Hill’s northwest slope, the restaurant is open five days a week, offering a relaxed dining experience, serving a modern take on the food they have evolved over the last six years at the Gardener’s Cottage.
Whilst I didn’t get to experience the full dinner service, the guests did get to sample some spectacular bites of Peelham Farm mutton sausage roll, freshly shucked oysters, the tenderest venison skewers I have ever eaten, whisky mice (made from madeleine batter and shaped like little mice) and pistachio macaroons.
The lunch and dinner offerings are centred on a seasonal and inventive a la carte menu, complemented by a prix fixe menu. Breakfast is also served from 10am.
When the bookings finally die down and you can get a table ( it appears the Lookout has created quite a stir and everyone’s been rushing to be the first to dine here), guests can expect to see dishes like Douglas Fir-cured sea trout with sauerkraut, seaweed and rye bread; Gigha halibut, butternut squash purée, golden sultanas and brioche and clam vinaigrette; lobster smoked over oak with seaweed butter; Tweed Valley mallard roasted on the crown; and spiced pumpkin and chocolate tart, star anise and molasses ice-cream with pear, honey and walnut crumble.
With only 42 covers, it’s an intimate space with the kitchen space visible from the dining area. You’ll have to work for your food though – as there’s no parking on Calton Hill (except for disabled cars) and that walk up the hill, either from Royal Terrace or Waterloo Place, can be quite challenging. I was told later though that taxis can drop off and pick you up!
The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage is a partnership with Collective, the organisation that has redeveloped the City Observatory site on Calton Hill into a new home for contemporary art. As well as the purpose-built restaurant, the world-class development incorporates the restored City Observatory and City Dome, along with new purpose-built exhibition space The Hillside.
The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage
Edinburgh EH7 5AA
0131 677 0244