Every city has their own iconic restaurants. Sydney has Aria, Quay and Icebergs. London has Aqua Shard, and the Grill at the Dorchester. New York has Delmonico's. Well Edinburgh has The Witchery.
Located just mere steps from Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Royal Mile, this stalwart of the Edinburgh dining scene is a must-do on any discerning diner's visit to this impressively historic city. It has earned its worldwide reputation through impeccable service, quality food and an interior that has to be seen to be believed.
The ambience is nothing short of utter romance, with tall pillar candles offering throwing gentle light onto the impressive Baroque furnishings. You cannot help but think 'if walls could talk', for the ancient oak paneling of several walls coupled with the stone framework belies the age of the sixteenth-century building. It is complemented beautifully by the ornate seating, gentle use of plants and naturally, impressive dining settings. There is no doubt when you enter that your meal will be special.
The Witchery had long been on my wish-list for Edinburgh dining, and it did not disappoint. In all honesty, I cannot think why I had not visited sooner, particularly with their offer of 2 or 3 course lunch at £22 or £27 respectively, which is a very generous entry point when compared to other restaurants of its calibre in Edinburgh and indeed, the rest of the UK. As you would expect, there is also an a la carte menu, and dinner 3 course set menu is slightly higher at £38, however don't feel you must be proud and avoid the set menu. We observed that all 5 tables dining for lunch during our visit elected for the set menu.
We sampled the Iberico charcuterie and garden pea veloute with Anster scones (a veloute is a thick soup for those like us who didn't know) for entrée and the Wild mushroom risotto for main course, abstaining from dessert despite the dark chocolate tart beckoning temptingly from another table. All were flavorful, well balanced and perfectly portioned. If I could make risotto even half as well at home I would be a happy lady.
You cannot help but long to visit days gone by when dining in such a historical place; it was a welcome retreat from modern times, without forgoing any inch of luxury. If you plan to visit during the summer months please do book well in advance as it is not uncommon to have to wait several days for a booking, particularly during the Edinburgh festival. Choose a day and a time, and make your agenda around this dining experience. It deserves the spotlight and will ensure a memorable day.