Bistro Moderne by Mark Greenaway: fashionable, smart, classy cuisine.
Deanhaugh Street, Edinburgh, has long been known locally as “Restaurant Row” from Rafael (Spanish) to Sabor Criollo (South American), the Italian Kitchen and Pizza Express. On St Stephen’s Street, the Stockbridge Restaurant and Purslane are renowned for fine dining. Nearby, Tom Kitchin’s new Scran and Scallie gastropub was described by AA Gill in the Sunday Times as one of the best places to eat in the UK.
A warm welcome and congratulations to Mark Greenaway for opening his second restaurant in the fashionable, foodie district of Stockbridge. Like Mr Kitchin, culinary empire building makes good business sense as well as a fresh challenge and creativity for a Chef’s talented kitchen brigade.
Mark Greenaway is an ambitious young Head Chef who has achieved well deserved success in the past few years. After being named Rising Star Chef of the Year, 2011, when working at Dryburgh Abbey hotel, he moved to Edinburgh to open his eponymous Restaurant on Picardy Place. Last year, he moved his restaurant to a prime address on North Castle Street.
Numerous awards, accolades and 3 AA rosettes have followed for this new celebrity chef, with appearances on the BBC Great British Menu series and recently Teen Canteen.
No wonder. His imaginative, artistically colourful dishes have a touch of Blumenthal in their magical, scientifically inspired, smoke-filled glass jar, deconstructed, unique cuisine.
November 2013: When Mark heard of the recently vacated Café Fish venue on N.W Circus Place, Stockbridge, he immediately signed a lease to launch his classy yet casual, Bistro Moderne. A Bistro is defined as, “in its original Parisian incarnation, a small restaurant serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting”.
Here, the original classic Art Deco old Bank interior, with marble floor and wood panelling has been stylishly refurbished with plush leather and soft tweed. A smart Cocktail bar with high stools is an attractive central feature opposite the theatre kitchen.
So what’s on the menu?
As Greenaway explains his new dining concept “The Bistro will offer simpler versions of my restaurant dishes as well as introducing some new styles of food from my repertoire, all served in a friendly and relaxed setting. On Sundays we’ll be serving roasts of Aberdeen Angus beef and chicken.”
From the descriptions of the dishes, I am not sure if “simple” is accurate. The list of ingredients reads like his typical trademark, inventive creations served in his fine dining city Restaurant but this is his modern Bistro food, “ Honey-glazed ham hock ballontine, quail’s egg, smoked pineapple, pea shoots”. “Pot Roasted free-range chicken, bacon waffle, braised lentils, cabbage pancetta”.
From a list of eight starters on the A la carte dinner menu, my partner Ken selected the Soft Shell Crab – an everyday, cheap spicy dish in Singapore, but unusual to find here. Deep fried, like fat crunchy chips, eat the crab bites with your fingers, and dip in tartar sauce: these are utterly divine – I “stole” two to sample – while Ken devoured the lot in minutes. Meanwhile, I loved my richly textured Smoked Salmon, attractively presented with capers, cucumber and herb leaves.
For main course, again a diverse choice from Lamb, Duck and Pork as well as several fish dishes. Enticing sides too – Roasted Heritage carrots, Wilted greens with Almonds, as well as good old Pomme Puree (Mash!).
Ken selected Poached Cod cooked in red wine with crispy squid, wild mushrooms and polenta. The perfectly cooked seafood, creamy polenta and earthy flavours is an exquisite, tasty and hearty dish.
Meanwhile I was equally pleased with Roasted Hake and delicious salt cod croquette complemented by the distinct tastes of fennel, beetroot and spinach. What made it work well was the perfect portion size with tiny, colourful dabs of puree, pickle and green leaves. Art on a plate.
Desserts are equally important in Greenaway’s kitchen. In fact he has created a new Award to find and inspire the best amateur Pastry chef, in conjunction with brewery, Innis and Gunn. Renowned on the Great British Menu for deconstructed Eton Mess, he and his team take traditional puddings to devise a modern version.
Here at Bistro Moderne you can sample a re-styled Bread and Butter Pudding, or the fun to eat Jam Jar – Rice Pudding with cranberry compote and ripple ice cream.
You can expect lots of yummy chocolate treats too. Fine Cheeses are from Iain Mellis Cheesemonger just down the road and bread from the local bakery.
Food and drink are treated with serious attention here: an A la carte menu, blackboard daily specials and a 5 course Grazing menu with inventive wine/beer/whisky flights as well as fabulous cool cocktails.
Open seven days a week, with breakfast served Friday to Sunday and great value Lunch (£15 for 3 courses), and traditional Sunday Roast Lunches, Bistro Moderne is sure to attract local residents and Foodies across Edinburgh to visit morning, noon and night.
Stockbridge, with its popular Farmers’ market on Sundays, Artisan delis, cafes, bistros and restaurants, is now truly the Foodie Heaven district of Edinburgh.
Bistro Moderne by Mark Greenaway
15 N.W Circus Place, Edinburgh EH3 6TL
T. 0131 225 4431 www.bistromoderne.co.uk