I haven't been drinking for the past nine months, but I managed to get a fantabulous buzz a couple of weeks ago -- the kind of buzz only a fine dining experience can offer. David, Danny (the best houseguest ever), and I spent a good four hours at The Kitchin, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Leith.
If you're going to go to a restaurant of that caliber, you might as well go all out and order the full seven-course (plus gorgeous crudités) Tasting Menu and let that be your entertainment as well as your nourishment. Also, I love forward-thinking restaurants that not only offer consistent farm-to-table food, but also understand that vegetarianism doesn't have to be a portobello mushroom sandwich. There was a Chef's Surprise Tasting Menu that was entirely vegetarian and sacrificed none of the quality.
More restaurants should acknowledge the buying-power of the vegetarian -- that a single vegetarian in the party has veto power over group restaurant choices. Don't offer anything good and vegetarian? Well, then you lose the whole group. I'd go back to The Kitchin in a heartbeat.
I guess eating meals like this isn't really something I could handle everyday -- well, maybe someday -- but it's definitely worth saving your pennies and avoiding a month's worth of lattes to enjoy a meal like this on occasion. It's like splurging on a massage, only better, longer, and best savored with good friends.
As each course was served to us -- always with multiple servers explaining the ingredients and preparation in great detail -- we oohed and ahhed and drooled and exclaimed variations of, "Oh my god, this is amazing." David commented that he could never be a food writer because what was there possibly to say besides "delicious/amazing/awesome/so good/divine?" We could babble about umami and stuff, but that's not so fun.
I must say I don't envy my food writer friends the task of writing about every fine dining experience they've had. It's probably akin to English professors attempting pleasure reading or trained music theorists going to concerts (would that I could turn off the theory-ears); sometimes it's best to just experience without trying to analyze -- if you can.
I'm not going to attempt to describe each course in detail, but know that they were all creative, fresh, served with utensils we weren't sure how to use, and absolutely delicious, all in a non-stuffy, modern dining room. Instead, enjoy the photos. Yes, I was that nerdy person taking pictures of food. You're welcome.
Also, the woman in charge of re-filling water glasses deserves a raise. I'm glad it wasn't wine, or I would have been hammered.