It might sound odd, but when you’ve been a food blogger for a while, going out and not writing about it is a treat. So I wasn’t going to write about Fhior. But, you know, it was too good not to share. Give me a few minutes to tell you why you should be going. Imagine me sitting in front of you, eyes gleaming. There might be arm-waving. There will be superlatives.
First off, Fhior makes its own beremeal bread and it is, in my opinion, the best bread in the world. Warm from the oven, spread with their whipped and cultured butter, sprinkled with a little salt it is absolute bliss. At some point, we’ll be able to buy it as we leave. I’m looking forward to that day: what a lovely way to prolong the pleasure of a visit.
Creativity, seasonality and great ingredients
Then there’s the food. Always seasons, creative and interesting. You can have the full experience – seven dishes – or a more modest four. We went with four : it was Wednesday, after all, and we needed to function the next day. We shared a bottle of wine but you can also get matched wines for both menu sizes. To soak up the atmosphere we had apertifs in the bar. That’s where we enjoyed the pre-dinner snack of beetroot and herbed cheese (Christopher) and gorgeous air-dried ham (me).
If you need to know what you’re eating in advance, you can get the menu up-front. They prefer to give it to you as you leave as a memento. Let go of the your inner control freak and enjoy the surprise.
Here are some solid reasons to go before the current menu changes:
The amuse bouche was pickled mackerel in a light broth with sweet cicely oil and leaf for an aniseed lift. Morsels of oh so perfectly balanced flavour and texture. (Pickled turnip for Christopher.)
The first dish was halibut, swiss chard and salt-march vegetables. It was delicate, delicious and pretty. Christopher had carrots instead of fish.
Then we got a bonus dish – asparagus, spruce, wild garlic, wood sorrel. This is how to elevate asparagus. Perfectly cooked and the flavour lifted by the fabulous greens it was served with.
Baby gem lettuce, hogget, pea, goat’s curd opened a whole new view on lamb. The desiccated peas were sweet, the lettuce crunchy and refreshing, the goat’s curd tangy and all of that the perfect companions to young, tender hogget.
I’m not usually big on chicken but the chicken, mushroom, barley, lovage dish was utterly sublime. The chicken was incredibly moist and flavoursome, the mushrooms rich and the barley full of umami. Christopher had broccoli instead of chicken. (When I char broccoli, it burns. Obviously, not at Fhior. Instead: essence of broccoli.)
Finding fun in food
Food at Fhior is fun.
One of the reasons I enjoy chef Scott Smith’s cooking is the love he shows his ingredients. Another is the fact that there’s a sense of fun, of playfulness, about the food. It might be perfect but that doesn’t mean it takes itself too seriously. This is particularly evident in desserts (and the hogget dish – that made me laugh with delight).
White chocolate, beremeal, seaweed doesn’t sound very promising but it is! This dish was fun and unexpected. The sweetness of white chocolate was tempered by a salty crumb and rye-rich beremeal crisps. A sprinkling of seaweed brought out the caramel notes of the chocolate and brought it all together.
This sense of fun is reflected in the art on the walls: gorgeous cartoons with food puns. The whole feeling of Fhior is light, bright and cheerful. The restaurant rang with laughter and the conversation of happy and excited diners. I can’t want to have a reason to go back. I want to know what happens with the menu as the seasons change and new dishes appear. (And I want the seven-course dinner too because there was lobster with rhubarb and cucumber, which sounds like another fun dish to eat, as well as strawberry, woodruff and rapeseed.)
I’m keeping an eye on Fhior, chef Smith and his talented, friendly team. They create dishes that make me a little giddy.
36 Broughton Street
Edinburgh, EH1 3SB