Edinburgh-born Dominic Jack began his career at the internationally renowned Gleneagles Hotel at the age of 17, where he met fellow chef, Tom Kitchin, and the two became firm friends. After four years at Gleneagles, Dominic honed his skills in Paris where he worked his way round several starred kitchens. In 2008, he returned to Edinburgh working alongside his friend Tom Kitchin at The Kitchin, while searching for the perfect new restaurant premises and in July 2010 Dominic became Chef Patron of Castle Terrace where he uses his expertise and passion to serve outstanding French-Scottish dishes showcasing the finest local produce. Castle Terrace was awarded a Michelin Star in October 2011.
The atmosphere in the restaurant was quite relaxed, but there was a definite air of old school fine dining about it. Staff were generally friendly and attentive, marred only by one female waitress who walked around with a face like thunder and talked so quietly we have no idea what she said all night! I think it was probably because she was a bit shy and lacked confidence though.
As we were treating this meals as our Valentines Day (albeit a couple of days early) we decided we would go for the full surprise tasting menu. A few canapés greeted us while we were looking at the menus – A salt cod barbajuan, a caper and cumin burger, and most deliciously, a ‘caesar salad’. The last of these was truly lovely – a green lettuce flavoured sphere on a small croûton that burst in your mouth and filled it with a sumptuous liquid that tasted like Caesar Salad.
As I’ve mentioned before, certain events or little touches always make a meal more special and memorable, and for this meal, that will be the little tartan baskets that the bread was served in. Oh and of course the woman who got so drunk during her tasting menu that she almost fell asleep on the table and had to be removed by her boyfriend/partner by about the 4th course. Hilarious!
Back to the food. The first course of the tasting menu was simply named Baked Potato with Cheese and tasted just like one. Really creamy, if only all baked potatoes with cheese tasted like that!
After this was a fantastic Loch Duart Salmon Tartare, served sushi style. This had some delightful elements including a salty soy jelly, crispy puffed rice for texture and peppery wasabi ice-cream. One of the standouts of the meal for me.
The next dish was Hand Dived Orkeny Scallops served with a Castle Terrace style ‘Light Curry’ This had an adorable mini naan bread and the curry sauce was delicious, along with some coconut shards and dehydrated pineapple. The flavours were great but were hovering dangerously near overpowering the scallop itself in my opinion.
The next course was unusual and utterly fantastic. An organic Spelt Risotto with Crispy Ox tongue and Confit Veal Heart. Now had I been able to hear the waitresses’ dish description I may have been wary of it – I’m not the biggest offal fan, but seeing as I didn’t hear it I tucked in and it was fab! I couldn’t quite believe it when I read the description at the end! Just shows you shouldn’t be put off by the idea of things without trying them!
A fish course next – Fillet of North Sea Cod with an Asian Style Broth. The cod, as would be expected was cooked perfectly, with a crunchy peanut and ginger skin, as well as a little crab ravioli and a delicate broth.
The last savoury course was Aryshire Pork with Braised Fennel, Smoked Aubergine Puree and Basil Gnocchi. This course I wasn’t as keen on as all the rest. Part of that was because I’m not the hugest fan of aubergines or fennel, but as well as this the basil gnocchi was a bit chewy and the aubergine overpowering with smoke. The pork itself though was lovely. Not a cohesive dish for me or my husband. A shame as we had loved the food up until then.
Dessert picked us up again and it was a brilliant dessert – Rhubarb Panna Cotta with a Yoghurt Sorbet and Caramelised Oats. The shard of rhubarb you can see sticking up in the picture was amazing and all the parts of the dish worked really well together.
Coffee (or tea in my case) was accompanied by some cute little petit fours. An adorable little carrot cake, pineapple jelly and I can’t quite remember the third! Good petit fours are always important as it’s the last thing you taste it can leave a lasting impression if they’re bad!
Overall a very well-balanced tasting menu with some very big highs and a couple of lows but an extremely enjoyable meal. Definitely one to consider if you’re in Edinburgh.
Have you been to Castle Terrace? I’d love to know hat you thought if you have!
33/35 Castle Terrace
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own