Michelin chef reveals secret of success – food's just a numbers game
IT IS the riddle that has had Edinburgh's foodies stumped for months.
Now one of Britain's most flamboyant and colourful chefs has lifted the lid on the mystery behind the name of his eagerly awaited venture in Scotland.
The menu at Paul Kitching's 4.5 million New Town restaurant, 21212, will offer only eight dishes every day.
The name reflects the structure of the menu, which will offer just two starters, main courses and desserts – on a 60-a-head five-course menu. The other two courses in between will be special "taster dishes".
In his first major interview, Scotland's latest Michelin-rated chef, who closed down Juniper, his award-winning eaterie in Greater Manchester to relocate to Edinburgh, has pledged to change the menu every day.
The chef best known for wowing critics with his "molecular gastronomy", and using ingredients like Weetabix and Horlicks in his off-the-wall dishes, has vowed to devise even more sophisticated fare for 21212.
Amid a flurry of comings and goings on Edinburgh's restaurant scene, he has vowed he is in the city for good and is already setting his sights on becoming the first restaurant in the city to secure two Michelin stars.
Although Kitching has described 21212's opening as his "dream move", he also harbours a desire to open another eaterie in Glasgow, with the Merchant City a preferred location.
Kitching, who announced plans to move to Edinburgh with partner Katie O'Brien a year ago, said: "We'll be doing a totally different kind of menu to the one we had at Juniper, which offered lots of different choices. There will be just two choices for a starter, main and dessert.
"Every day is going to be different and the idea is no-one will have the same meal twice. I don't have a uniform style of presentation on the plate and my dishes are a composition of flavours that make the whole dining experience."
Kitching's Edinburgh venture is due to open on 20 May on Royal Terrace, on the site of a former casino and lapdancing bar. It will boast a 38-seat restaurant, a private bar, and three luxury bedrooms.
Kitching is relaxed about the competition from Edinburgh's four Michelin-star chefs and opening just months after experts warned of a "clearing out" of the city's restaurant scene in the downturn.
He told The Scotsman: "I've been coming to Edinburgh for years and it's a been a bit of dream move to open up here. There's a great food and drink culture, and it has a fantastic restaurant and brasserie scene.
"It helps Edinburgh's reputation that there are so many Michelin restaurants in the city and everyone has been so supportive about me coming here.
"There was no question of delaying opening because of the economic situation – we're making a big investment and this means we're here for good."
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