Thank you for the wonderful review Leila Kean of Leilappetit.com! To see the original review, please click here!
A night out at Cannonball Restaurant (aka why I love being a food blogger)
by LEILAARFA on OCTOBER 21, 2014
Being a food blogger is a tough gig at times. The amazing food. The amazing food. Oh wait, actually, it’s a fantastic gig and I’m ever-grateful for the folks to who continue to read my words on feelings about meals here, there and everywhere. One of the best bits is always being ‘in the know’ as to what’s happening on the food scene in my dear ‘burgh. Closings are a sad affair, but there’s such a vibrant dining scene in this city now, that thankfully we can always be tempted by new openings, often-times supporting independent restaurateurs in what is a tricky ol’ business.
Victor and Carina Contini need no introduction other than to say that this couple have always impressed with their food ventures, from the departed Zanzero, to the rejuvenated Contini Ristorante AKA the artist formerly known as Cento Tre, to the classy Scottish Café and Restaurant. To walk (or have walked) into any of these establishments is a step towards a world where bold flavours and authentic ingredients take centre stage.
Cannonball is their latest venture, a partnership with the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and is situated in the 16th century ‘Cannonball House’, quite literally on the doorstep of Edinburgh castle. I was invited for a wonderful dinner with a wee group of bloggers (hello mymonkfish & edinburghfoodgirl) as guests of Fiona from Taste Communications. Despite a lack of photos, I assure you the place is quite gorgeous. A sparkly stairwell with jazzy tunes you wish you could have a party in, and a main dining room with sky-high ceilings and tantalising glimpses of the castle ramparts. Not bad at all for a wee house on The Royal Mile.
We were treated to a glass of prosecco on arrival, and then a tasting menu of little highlights from the main dinner menu. It went a little something like this:
Findlay’s haggis cannonballs with pickled turnip and Morreti beer mustard
The classic haggis bon-bons, with a super crisp crumb and an original accompaniment for a bit of fresh contrast in the form of the pickled turnip. Fantastic new version of this modern Scottish favourite.
Isle of Mull hand-dived scallop served with garlic butter and amalfi lemon
Have to hand it to the folks in the kitchen, they know how to source their shellfish. It geniunely was the biggest scallop I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and perfectly cooked just so. Sitting on a bed of pleasingly crunchy samphire, and wilted spinach, this was a superb dish. Just a shame there was a wee bit of grit remaining in the spinach. All forgiven though!
Scottish Grouse with Contini Corvina red wine, blackberries and roast Phantassie beetroot
Seasonality of ingredients is clear from the outset when reading the menu (here ) and how perfect to be served grouse slap-bang in the middle of the season. We’d actually seen a few of them on a drive around the East Lothian countryside a couple of weeks back, and to enjoy this seasonal game is always a treat. The tender pink meat was served with golden and red beets, sweetly caramelised from roasting, blackberries and the rich wine jus. Wow.
Pecorino with chutney, dried figs and toasted bread
If I was classier, and Italian, I think I’d fancy eating a plate of this eat least once a day. The candied figs were terrific with the slightly salty, tangy pecorino.
Valhrona 70% chocolate and amarena cherry torte with shortbread
Or alternatively, a kind of deconstructed Blackforest gâteau. The torte was delicate in texture, really light, but packed with a strong cocoa punch. Macerated cherries which had a ‘textbook’ what cherries should taste like flavour, and a dollop of cream. Not sure what happened to the shortbread!
In all, a fantastic meal where the ingredients really do shine. I’m sure tourists will find this spot without any trouble, and once the word’s out, us locals will be queuing the length of the Royal Mile!
Fairy-light lit path to the restaurant.
The fattest, perhaps sweetest scallop I’ve ever tasted.
The beetroots! Seriously.
Walking to Edinburgh castle for dinner.
Some remnants of grit in the spinach in the scallop dish
This cool space is screaming out to be packed to the rafters, it’s was a little bit lacking in ‘buzz’.
Forgetting my DSLR camera, and having no battery charge in my iphone.
Massive thanks to Taste Comms for the invitation and to Cannonball for the hospitality.