I first visited Seasons last year, they were doing a voucher promotion for a set lunch and a friend and I decided to try it. It was a straightforward set lunch that unfortunately left us feeling a bit underwhelmed, you can read about it here.
You can see from what I wrote, that despite not really enjoying it, I had an inkling that there was something more to it, something I hadn’t experienced on that first visit. When they invited me on that ‘second date’ (I think they may have thought it was our first?), I was keen to take them up on their offer.
It turns out my gut feeling was right, and I have now fallen in love with Seasons. I get it.
The concept at Seasons is a surprise tasting menu created with the season’s ingredients. On your napkin when you arrive is a Borrowers sized scroll tied with brown string. It’s an ingredients list for the evening’s menu. All you have to do is choose whether you’d like a five or seven plate tasting, and if you want a matching wine flight.
There was only one ingredient on the list I thought I’d struggle with, and that was Smoked Salmon – however I decided to go with it as my husband likes it and could help out if need be.
James our attentive and knowledgable host for the evening poured us a glass of Prosecco and we began to relax and enjoy the calming surroundings, admiring in particular the shade of grey on the walls and wondering if it would work in our bedroom.
Matt, the chef at Seasons, produced a canapé sized morsel of Tapioca Cracker with Burnt Onion – it was similar in texture to a prawn cracker, with the flavour of the onions you get from a burger van – in other words, entirely delicious!
Next up was a Cauliflower Veloute with Douglas Fir Oil, this had a deep flavour but pleasantly, wasn’t too creamy.
A fish course was next, and the appearance of the Smoked Salmon. It was a lovely dish of finely diced Smoked Salmon served with a vibrant Beetroot Sorbet. My husband loved it and helped me finish off my plate.
The stand out dish of the evening was Scallops with Celeriac and Pear. We both agreed that it was the best scallop dish we’d ever had. The flavours and textures were all perfectly balanced. The crispy Channel Wrack (a type of seaweed) was inspired, and a new ingredient for us.
Each course came paired with a wine, James gave us a brief overview of each, and I was pleased to hear that they factor in the prettiness of the label when making their selections too. This was my favourite.
Hare Tortellini sounded like a dish that might challenge. I’d never tried hare but knew it was quite a strong flavour. In this dish however, the flavour was very delicate and paired with some sweet matchsticks of parsnip which had been caramelised in the pan. On first glance the pasta appeared to be quite thick, but it had a bite that the dish called for. My thoughts turned to the chef and I realised that he really knew what he was doing. Nothing was accidental here.
A Blood Orange and Chocolate Crumb pre-dessert was refreshingly unsweet, even with the addition of meringue. I’m finding that as I get older (!) overly sweet desserts are a bit cloying and I can only manage a little bit. This dessert will definitely appeal to those that have lost their sweet tooth.
The lightness of the pre-dessert meant that I was fully read for the dessert proper (what was I saying about Matt knowing exactly what he’s doing…). Our final dish of the evening was Forced Rhubarb with Rhubarb Ice Cream and Toasted Oats, it was another triumph, beautifully balanced with no more sugar than was needed.
The wine flight finished with a flourish with a Hobbit sized beer for Alex – Elvis Juice by Brew Dog
I had a miniature bottle of Apple Gin Cocktail which packed a serious punch.
Perfectly chosen drinks to round off what we both agreed was a meal that was in our top five, if not top three, of all time.
The Seasons Tasting Menu is a real foodie experience. If you have a diverse palate and you want to be challenged – go – don’t remove anything from the list – just let the boys do their thing.
Location: 36 Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3SB
Price: 5 plate tasting £40 – paired drinks £25. 7 plate tasting £55 – paired drinks £35
Good for: A foodie experience with no menu, simply an ingredients list. Seasons is for those with a diverse palate who are happy to be challenged.