There’s no one Michelin dining experience quite like 21212. For one, the GBP4.5 million investment is housed in a beautifully restored Georgian townhouse. For another, it is the only restaurant in Edinburgh of its kind with rooms, four beautifully appointed suite-like spaces offering a pretty view of the restaurant’s gardens in the rear and the city of Edinburgh in front.
The experience is as intimate and luxurious as it comes. One could dress for dinner, come down the flight of stairs to the drawing room where a dedicated mixologist takes your orders for cocktails, and, after a tipple or two, make one’s way to the restaurant. Feel like a guest in someone’s home, an exclusive invitation with everything curated to a T, from the hardbound books lining the side tables to the carafe of sloe gin waiting in your room – and yes, to the exquisite dining to be savoured.
Chef Paul Kitching’s dedication to the craft sees the menu changing every week. Culinary aficionados know his name, having carved it from the opening of Juniper in Greater Manchester together with his partner Katie O’ Brien. The restaurant is the British north-west’s only 4AA Rosette restaurant and Greater Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant.
The same magic can be found here at 21212, with the restaurant earning a Michelin star just eight months after its inception in 2010. Chef Kitching’s talent for pairing unlikely flavours and ingredients sees this particular night’s inventive menu of a starter of smoked salmon with a selection of vegetables, quail’s egg and a saffron pancake. Equally desirable is a deep risotto with anchovies and walnuts dressed in an aubergine sauce. For mains, a complex dish of guinea fowl served with a selection of mushrooms, white pudding, ham and strawberries; otherwise, a filet of beef with black pudding and edamame, heightened by a ginger and tomato sauce. The sweets are equally alluring – a lemon tart with strawberry compote paired with a drink of steamed milk, strawberry juice, cottage cheese and gouda topping; the rather dull-sounding trifle is really a creative construction of Willy Wonka proportions – pear compote, white chocolate anglaise, honey crumbed toffee, glazed mashmallows and bananas with a filo pastry top.
21212, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!