|The 50th birthday celebrations continue at The Witchery by the Castle|
|Edinburgh Castle at dusk: as you can see, my poor
Blackberry camera was struggling with the lack of light!
|Looking down the dark alleyway that leads to The Witchery|
We hesitated for a few seconds beneath a historic-looking sign that signalled our proximity to the restaurant, and peered down a dark, narrow alleyway lit at the far end by myriad fairy lights. Any discomfort in my ankle “disapparated” on the spot, as pain was superseded by excited anticipation. Walking into Boswell’s Court felt like stepping into a scene from Harry Potter, an impression which only intensified when we were met at the door by a delightfully eccentric young man, impeccably turned out, who stood behind a podium and ticked our names off his list with a flourish before pointing us down a wooden staircase. Given the extreme popularity of The Witchery, we had booked our table well over a month in advance to secure a Friday evening slot. The moment we reached the bottom of that staircase, it was evident that every minute of our wait had been worthwhile.
In all honesty, we had both found the prospect of dining at a restaurant so far beyond our normal means slightly daunting – indeed, we almost felt like imposters when we confessed at the outset that we would be paying with a voucher! However, we needn’t have worried one whit, as our dedicated waitress for the evening and indeed every member of staff with whom we came into contact were disarmingly agreeable. I can’t quite put my finger on how they achieved the perfect balance of hospitality, but they were friendly without being over-familiar, professional without being stilted, and helpful without being pushy. In short, their service was flawless – as, it rapidly transpired, was the food they served.
|Pigeon breast with pancetta and peas|
|Phantassie Farm vegetable terrine|
The main courses duly arrived and looked just as promising. HunterGatherer had signed up for the Roast Fillet of Limousin Scotch beef, served with blanquette of chard, Scottish girolles (aka chanterelle mushrooms) and rosti potato. He immediately professed the meat to be ‘melt-in-the-mouth perfection’, though (being a Scottish ‘farmer cheil’ at heart) he was heard to ponder sotto voce why it was Limousin (a French breed) rather than Aberdeen Angus beef! My meat choice proved equally rewarding in the flavour department: tender roast loin of Cairngorm venison accompanied by a vegetable selection including celeriac dauphinoise, kale and parsnip purée, plus crisps and chocolate oil. ‘Twas edible heaven.
|Fillet of beef ‘meats’ with HG’s approval|
|The venison vanished quickly!|
It has to be said that the above fuzzy photo in no way does justice to the enticing presentation of this eclectic desert selection. Unfortunately, my trusty Blackberry was failing miserably to cope with the dim lighting in The Witchery, so I rashly asked HunterGatherer to take a photo of his impressive platter of puds. What can I say? Apart from “never send a man to do a woman’s job i.e. photograph puddings.”
So desperate was my dining companion to dive into his tantalising assortment of delectable desserts that he rushed the shot and blurred what was (in my eyes) the most important photo of the night. Still, at least he didn’t make toooo bad a job of the photo of my pudding (and me!), plus he let me sample every single one of the opulent offerings on his plate, so I’ll forgive him for his lack of photographic prowess – this time…
|Before leaving, Yours Truly was presented with this trio of Witchery Chocolate
bars. Apparently, being teetotal , I’d not quite used up the whole gift voucher…
|…which meant that I could still enjoy my Witchery experience
long after the actual evening was over!