Scotland’s first neo-bistro has opened its doors in Edinburgh! Since April 2014, Aizle has offered diners a unique dining experience. What makes this restaurant different is that there are no menus just a list of ingredients. This ensures that you are served only the freshest and seasonal produce. The partnership of chef Stuart Ralston and mixologist Krystal Goff share abundance of experience to showcase the fine ingredients. The chef chooses four courses from the list of ingredients.
The decor of Aizle is modern and minimalist. Despite this, dotted around the restaurant are little plant pots, candles and blankets which give a sense of warmth and a laid back atmosphere. The list of ingredients and the drinks menu were already on our table. I have to admit the ingredient list was very interesting with many ingredients that we had not heard of but were intrigued to try. We opted to try the drink pairing to match the food with the drink.
Fresh warm bread was served with soft butter and a yogurt dip to begin with. Along with this we were brought a plate of snacks each to go with our sample of Barneys red rye beer.
First impressions were very good. Three beautifully presented little mouthfuls. The Brisk pastry, goats cheese, carrot and toasted seeds was my favorite of the three. Very light and crispy pastry, with sweet flavours from the carrot contrasting the slightly sour goats cheese. The rice cracker, black sesame, roast onion puree, puffed pork was a close contender. The balances of flavours again were superb. Unfortunately I was not very keen on the celeriac mousse, apple and leek ash. It was the texture that I was not fond of, more like a grainy panacotta texture than a mousse. The apples did give the snack some acidity and crunch but overall it was not to my taste.
Our first course was ‘Agnolotti Pasta, Sheeps Milk Curd, Onion Ash, Lardo, and Peas’. The pasta was cooked al dente and the soft creamy filling almost acted as a sauce. Fresh peas gave the dish a light touch. A great start to the meal.
To follow the fish course: ‘Hake, Sea Astor, Cider, Anya Pink Fir Potatoes and Seaweed Powder’. This was a very attractive plate of food and I am pleased to say tasted as good as it looked. The dish was seasoned perfectly with the seaweed powder. The hake was cooked to perfection and the foraged sea astor which I had never tasted before gave the dish a very delicate, fresh touch. The sauce brought the dish together and complimented all the ingredients.
For the meat course we enjoyed ‘Orkney Beef, Treviso, Beetroot, Chantrelle Mushrooms and Orache’. We were asked prior how we would like our meat cooked and again the cooking of the meat was perfection. Treviso is an Italian vegetable, very similar to chicory. The sweetness of the beetroot slices and puree balanced the bitterness of the Treviso really well. As with the hake dish, another foraged ingredient, Orache, added freshness.
The table was in silence as we all tucked in to one of the best desserts I have ever had, ‘Chocolate Delice, Peanut Brittle, Miso Foam and a Feuillatine Biscuit’. The flavours were exquisite. The chocolate was smooth and rich. Miso foam was light and fluffy and the brittle and biscuit added texture. Together the flavour and textures were absolutely sensational. I only wish my photography skills had done it the justice it deserved.
Throughout the meal we enjoyed wine which complimented each course. For dessert you had a choice of dessert wine or cocktail. This was a nice twist to the drinks package. I enjoyed a ‘Peachville cocktail’ which was delicious and very moreish.
The waiting staff were all very friendly and knowledgeable. Our neo-bistro experience lasted over 2 hours but it did not feel like this as you were made to feel very relaxed. My only slight criticism was that despite the snacks and four courses, I still feel that perhaps the meat dish could have been larger or had another element to make it more of a main course. However this is only a very small complaint.
Overall Aizle shows a new concept of dining. It may not be for everyone but for me, knowing the ingredients are as fresh as you can get and that the chef has such creativity, the concept of neo-bistro is a winner. Aizle will definitely be a restaurant that I return to.
Bill for two: £110 (Including drink package)
Food: Seasonal, modern
Overall: 8.5 / 10