You’ve really got to meet my friend Cucina
Just when you think the only way is up, you find out about Cucina. This fine Italian restaurant could be overlooked on Edinburgh’s bustling Royal Mile if it weren’t for its intriguing fairy-lit archway. Competing with bright, evident food chains and aptly named Scottish bars, Cucina is boutique, demure and gentle in its approach. Or at least you would think so by its exterior. But in reality, Cucina is a wonderland bursting with surprise and elegance. I expected quaint, dimly-lit surroundings with a ‘Shiraz’ ambiance. But I was wrong. Cucina is eclectic and absolutely clarted in a wild, artsy palette. This place was above-modern and dripping in art.
We had the place completely to ourselves for the first hour of dinner. Which meant we had all the attention. We were met by a cheery, young chap with an “I’ve done this for years and there is no more a pro than I” air. He was never far away and no request was too little or large. He brought us Prosecco and rustic bread, alongside olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yet again, leaving any hope of a diet in the back of my mind. Whilst we browsed the menu, duck terrine and apple chutney canapes arrived. No complaints.
A La Carte
Scott had to pick the most obscure starter on the menu. Venison tartare with mushroom sorbet. I stuck to scallops, because when in Rome. The scallops were served with a pumpkin salsa which seemed fitting for the time of year. Why do scallops never taste this good when you eat them at home?
For our main, Scott enjoyed a half lobster Thermidor with… wait for it… chips. You can take the boy out of Aberdeen but you can’t take Aberdeen out of the boy. I tried a little bit of Scott’s lobster and it was absolutely gorgeous. Not gorgeous enough, however, for me to regret my main choice.
I had a rib-eye steak with tomato, watercress, and chips. But the best part of my main? The mushroom. If you’re mad for a mushroom, Cucina blows all other mushrooms out of the ground. Perfection.
We were absolutely stuffed by this point, but that wasn’t really going to stop us tucking into dessert. I had a lemon mousse sponge with meringue, lemon, lime and basil and it was the ideal end to a beautiful meal.
Scott had a slightly more obscure dessert (no shock there) of avocado, grapefruit, avocado sorbet, and coconut cream. Which he completely cleared.
We finished our lovely romantic dinner with cocktails; an old-fashioned and traditional bramble made with Rock Rose Gin.
Cucina Edinburgh Review
Cucina Fridays should be a thing. We had such a lovely, relaxed meal and we were very well looked after. This is the main restaurant within the Radisson Collection Hotel on the Royal Mile and an absolute gem in the City Centre. If you’re looking for somewhere with beautiful surroundings, relaxed ambiance and a divine, yet reasonable menu, Cucina is your place.