eorna, Edinburgh, review - the city's hottest pop-up is to be found in a St James Quarter appliance shop
They’ve been popping up through the summer
“We’re not going into that laundrette for lunch, are we?”, said my husband.
Well, sort of, though you definitely can’t visit the St James Quarter branch of Miele to get your pants cleaned.
As well as washing machines, this German appliance manufacturer sells wildly expensive and slick-looking ovens, fridge freezers, microwaves and tumble dryers. These are what rich people own, instead of a Henry, with one eye scratched out, or the iron that dribbles onto the board.
One day, my appliance ship will come in. I have my eye on one of those robot vacuum cleaners. The ones that dogs ride on in TikTok videos.
However, since they start at £759, I might just get the crumb-loving terrier instead.
When it comes to this eating experience, there’s a surprise.
At the back of the shop you’ll find a private dining room that seats 12 people at a communal table, alongside an open kitchen. This immaculate and cool room is where Brian Grigor, who has worked as head chef at Edinburgh’s Number One at The Balmoral, The Kitchin and Chez Roux, among other places, and his friend, sommelier Glen Montgomery, from Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Heron et al, have popped up.
At the moment, their planned business is itinerant, though they already have the name eorna - the Scots Gaelic for barley - for their pending restaurant. Once the perfect property comes up, they’ll be opening a place in the Capital. For now, you’ll find them here, with the next date today, from 12.30pm until 3pm, and other weekly lunches in the offing. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
We were slightly discombobulated on arrival, after walking through the shop, but Montgomery slipped glasses of Charles Heidsieck Champagne into our hands, along with a pair of their garden pea and Katy Rodgers Crowdie tartlets, which had crisp cases as thin as tissue paper and moussey light middles. Five courses to go.
We bagged our seats at the end of the table, and made pals with the two nice boys who were sitting in front of us.
The next dish was a beautiful-looking piece of Belhaven Smokehouse salmon, cured with Lind & Lime gin. The wedge of gummy fish had been prettified like a Victorian terrarium, as it featured tiny edible flowers, feathery dill, bits of pressed cucumber, a jade green puree and a beetroot one. We had a glass of light and flinty Chardonnay Dry River 2016 with this. They were joyous together.
Then, along with the Weingut Brundlmayer Riesling 2011, there was the crab, with a herby layer of meat on top of red tomatoes, as well as little nuggets, bollards and purees of the fruit around the sides. So juicy and sweet, with a lattice-like fan of dried seaweed on the top. A tribute to summer.
My favourite course was probably the loin of roe deer, with a glass of Chambolle-Musigny Les Bussieres 2012. This plate featured two tender ovals of pink meat, along with wilted chard, salt baked celeriac, discs of shaved truffle and a splash of mahogany jus.
I think Brian and Glen, who I am now calling Bren, might be geniuses. It’s been a while since I ate food of this standard. I wanted to tell everyone that this is my job. Lucky old me, with gravy round my mouth. Who cares that I’ll never be able to afford Miele’s vacuum cleaners, at least I get to eat all the delicious food.
The savoury bit of the journey was over, but there were still two puddings to come.
First, a pre-dessert, served in a little glass cup, with a meadowsweet panna cotta that had that almost medicinal taste of the foraged herb, and was topped by glossy cherries and flaked almonds.
I don’t know how Brian can cope with people disassembling his final creation, which we had with a Fritz Haag 2001 Riesling. “I can’t watch,” he said. It’s a perfect green apple, like something out of a fairy-tale. I wanted to put it on my other half’s head, then shoot it off. This was made from a chocolate-covered white chocolate mousse, which was surrounded by a swirl of toffee sauce, and blobs of apple puree.
Amazing wine, fantastic food. It’s odd that the good life is to be found in the rear of an Edinburgh appliance shop.
Well done Bren, let’s hope you find a permanent home soon.
243 St James Crescent
St James Quarter
How much? Lunch for two, including matched wines, £190
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