WALKING along London Road, the last sight you would expect is a path leading up to a small cottage illuminated by tinkling fairy lights.
Gardener’s Cottage appears for all intents and purposes to be a home from the outside with entrance gained through the front door closely followed by a thick velvet curtain.
With a set five-course menu (£25 per person) that changes daily, every care is taken to go the extra mile. It is hard not to feel warm, comfortable and cherished.
Choosing a Malbec (£27.50) from the succinct wine list, the quality was already immediate.
Our appetiser was fresh sourdough bread with olive tapenade which was slim on the ground but bursting with flavour.
The first course was a leek and potato brose, with a mussel stock and thickened with oatmeal. Perched on top were a few slithers of kipper. A most unusual sounding combination, it was smooth and perfectly seasoned.
Course two brought a warm onion salad with pickled kale and a wild garlic sauce. Again an unusual matching, the pickle clashed beautifully with the smooth garlic.
The third dish was a round of black pudding topped with cubed shreds of celeriac, a soft boiled egg and parsley. An utterly delicious dish.
The fourth and most anticipated dish was rare roe deer, braised radish, braised cabbage, sweet beetroot and slithers of apple. A lady next to us proclaimed it as the best dish she had eaten all year.
The first pudding was a rich, smooth homemade ricotta with Edinburgh honey and toasted hazelnuts. The perfect end to a rich meal it had an almost healthy feel.
The second pudding that came was less angelic. Melt-in-the-mouth hazelnut shortbread with a rich chocolate drizzle came on the side of chocolate and shortbread ice cream which was in turn topped by a slab of dark chocolate and drizzles of salted caramel chocolate adorned the dish. Wow.
Gardener’s Cottage is perfect for all ages and groups. A truly excellent addition to the Edinburgh foodie scene, I can’t wait to go back.
•Gardener’s Cottage, 1 Royal Terrace Gardens, London Road, 0131-558 1221, www.thegardenerscottage.co