Run by head chef and owner Paul Gunning, Purslane in Stockbridge serves quality produce packed with intense flavours. This year has already proven to be successful with the restaurant winning Scotland’s Best Fine Dining Restaurant from the Scottish Entertainment and Hospitality awards.
Purslane could somewhat be missed as it is tucked away at basement level on St Stephen Street. Seating just 20 people there is a very cosy and intimate atmosphere with welcoming staff who explained the menus.
Straight away we were surprised at the prices; having read many a glowing Purslane review, £30 for a 3 course meal seemed excellent value. We opted for The Seven Course Tasting Menu with matching wines which was also reasonably priced (£50 per person with a £25 supplement for the wines).
Our Amuse Bouche was soon to arrive. The Butternut Squash Veloute was served in a small cup and was rich, creamy and smooth. My only slight issue was that I would have liked a spoon as it was so tasty I did not want to leave any at the bottom of the cup.
‘Scallops’ was to follow. Pan fried perfectly with a golden colour and served with fennel compote, roasted peaches and a fennel & peach salsa. This divided opinions at the table. I thought the sweetness of the peaches went really well with the scallops and the aniseed from the fennel added another dimension. However my fellow diner felt that the peaches were too sweet as an accompaniment to the scallops and the dish had too many soft textures. We both agreed that the seasoning and cooking of all elements was spot on.
There were no disagreements in the following courses. The ‘Pigeon’ was the best pigeon dish I have ever tasted. It was very tender and melted in the mouth and was served with a Celeriac Puree which was so smooth and moreish. Roasted celeriac added another texture while salty lardons gave the dish further flavour and meatiness. Beetroot added colour and the Shallot dressing balanced the dish to perfection.
The fish dish of ‘Hake’ wasn’t a stand out dish but was still tasty. The pan fried hake flaked as you put your fork through it. This was placed on a chorizo, vegetable and white bean cassoulet which was nice but just did not sing like some of the other dishes.
This was definitely not the case with the ‘Beef’; a stand out dish. The rump is not a cut of meat that I would normally choose as it can often be chewy and tough. However, in the hands of the right chef, as proven in this instance, it can be tender and juicy. This was served with Ox Cheek Croquette, leeks, girolles and the most amazing dauphinoise potatoes. The roasting jus brought the dish together brilliantly; truly sublime.
The pre-dessert was titled ‘Strawberry’. This was a smooth Strawberry and creamy Vanilla Panna Cotta with a sharp strawberry sorbet, chantilly cream, chewy meringue and a sweet strawberry coulis. This was full of the tastes of summer and would have been an outstanding dessert, let alone a pre-dessert.
‘Chocolate’ was to end the meal. This was a dark Chocolate Torte with Cherries. The torte base was thin and crispy while the sweet, juicy cherries made a great companion for the bitter smooth chocolate.
In my opinion the food at Purslane is of Michelin star quality. Throughout our meal the service was friendly and made us feel relaxed while the matching wines went perfectly with the food. This is a restaurant where the food is definitely the star and in terms of value for money is an absolute gem.
Food: Fine Dining
- Atmosphere - 8/108/10
- Service - 8/108/10
- Food - 10/1010/10
- Value For Money - 10/1010/10