I like going to Cucina because we always end up having at least one post dinner cocktail in Epicurean, this time the barman was in development mode so we got to try a couple that weren’t even on the menu!
Firstly though we were upstairs to taste the new autumn menu at Cucina. Serving Scottish food with Italian influences, there was plenty on the menu that I fancied so it wasn’t a straight forward choice. After some negotiation with my sister in law, we settled on a couple of starters.
She chose the Haggis Scotch Egg, this was a delicate quail’s egg wrapped in haggis and deep fried – whats more Scottish than that! Served on the side was a fresh celeriac slaw which fitted the season and a brightly coloured chilli jam. It didn’t photograph that great, but it ate well.
I had the Seared Dived Scallops, Pumpkin Salsa, Pumpkin Puree, Samphire Smoked Bacon Crisp. I couldn’t fault the seasonality, presentation or taste of this dish, I just wondered about the price tag. At £14.50 would people feel this was a bit steep for two scallops? It really does depend where you are, but it was a bit out of kilter with other starters. The Haggis Scotch Egg for example was £5.50. Price aside, a very tasty dish and one of the best I’ve had at Cucina, the samphire was a particularly good garnish choice.
Onto mains and I must have been in the mood for seafood as I couldn’t resist the temptation of Lobster Thermidor, it’s an absolute classic and Cucina did it proud. We ordered some chips and a salad on the side, and to be honest life doesn’t get much better than lobster and chips – I was in my happy place! We had a couple of glasses of Prosecco to start followed by a bottle of house white which helped wash it all down.
My sister in law had the Pork Fillet, Pork Belly, Mini Stornoway Black Pudding, Apple, Red Endive. Another well presented and seasonal dish which definitely said autumn. I decided to photograph it sans sauce, a mistake in hindsight, as you could be fooled into thinking it was a little dry, which it wasn’t.
The dessert menu was interesting, I was particularly impressed that they’d managed to produce a vegan, gluten free, dairy free dessert – Avocado, Grapefruit, Avocado Sorbet Coconut Cream. I wish I was virtuous enough for it….alas my own choice was Brioche Bread Pudding, Beer Ice Cream, Oat Tuile. The presentation felt slightly messy but it tasted good, the beer ice cream was the highlight.
The same can’t be said of my sister in law’s dessert, the presentation of which was exceptionally good – Chocolate & Passion Fruit Mousse, Chocolate Crumb, Passionfruit Coulis – the mousse had been formed into a sphere and the chocolate curl offered a satisfying snap as she broke into it.
A lovely meal with mostly highs, a couple of presentation tweaks would elevate it further still.