As a birthday celebration myself and 7 of my friends dined in Italian Kitchen in Stockbridge. This restaurant had come recommended by a fellow guest. The restaurant prides itself on working with a number of local suppliers in order to provide the best of Scottish produce on a contemporary Italian menu.
Situated near the ancient bridge over the Water of Leith the basement restaurant has an immediate presence with fairy lights, lighting the stairs and leading the way to the cosy restaurant. Inside large wooden tables dominate the small dining area creating an intimate but relaxed atmosphere.
We were greeted by the waiter who provided us with wine menus; the actual dinner menus were a little slow to follow but we were in no rush as we sipped the Prosecco that was delivered as a birthday treat. The menu consists of specials such as homemade ravioli of the day and then the usual dishes you would expect to find on an Italian menu. However it is not over loaded with different pizzas and pasta, focussing instead on just a handful of dishes. All bread and pasta is made fresh here.
As our starters arrived it was evident that they had taken our order wrong and brought one of my friends the wrong dish. However, they were very quick and apologetic to rectify their mistake and it wasn’t long before we were all eating our starters. I shared two starters with one of the other diners; Gamberoni all`Antica Roma and a special soft shell crab in flour.
The Gamberoni all`Antica Roma was my favourite of the two. King prawns in garlic chilli and olive oil. Juicy plump prawns oozing in olive oil and fresh garlic. This dish, however, did lack chilli; I actually don’t think there was any! The soft shell crab was deep fried in crispy batter. This was served on a bed of samphire which gave the dish a salty taste.
For main I opted for the homemade ravioli of the day which was mallard duck served with a vine tomato sauce. Overall the dish was pleasant but nothing special. Soft shredded duck inside thick homemade pasta. The sauce lacked in taste and was slightly watery and bland.
The other mains chosen by the table included Pizza Prosciutto e Rucola, a pizza with cherry tomatoes, Parma ham, rocket and parmesan shavings. Unlike pizza from a chain restaurant this was traditional and was served without a tomato sauce. This gained high praise from my friend. Other dishes tried were Penne Italian Kitchen (Chicken, Cream, Mushroom, Broccoli and Fresh Chili) and Tagliatelle con Salsiccia e Funghi Porcini (Pasta with Italian sausage and porcini mushrooms in tomato) both of which were enjoyed. The special of rack of lamb did not deliver on flavour and taste and was felt to be an overall bland dish.
As a birthday surprise my friends had brought a birthday cake for desert. This arrived with a singing waiter carrying plates for us to serve it on. We ordered tea and coffee to have along with the cake. Unfortunately my friends had finished there tea when the coffees arrived!
Overall this restaurant has a lot of potential as, unlike many other Italian restaurants, they make their own pasta, bread and even ice creams to provide an authentic Italian dining experience. However they did not deliver on flavour and many dishes were bland and required seasoning. Also the service was slow at times. This is not to say that I wouldn’t go back. I think the atmosphere is rustic and intimate and by choosing dishes carefully you can have a tasty Italian meal knowing that the ingredients are all fresh.
Bill for eight: £230 (including 3 bottles of wine and coffees)
Food: Authentic traditional Italian
Service: Room for improvement
Atmosphere: Relaxed and intimate
Overall: 6 / 10