Wherever I travel to, I always like to plan my dining places in advance. Maybe because a good meal is important to me when you walk over 10k steps daily or maybe because disappointing places kind of put a shade on a city…. I did not want that to happen in Edinburgh. Therefore, I took control of organising all our breakfasts, lunch and dinner spots for our weekend stay in Edinburgh in advance.
We went to Edinburgh on Friday evening and stayed there until Sunday afternoon. (How to spend 48 hours in Edinburgh post is coming soon – stay tuned for it!) Therefore, our meals were depending a lot on what we wanted to see and do each day. On Saturday night we decided to dress up and go classy. I did not want to go to any franchise restaurants and, therefore, chose the new kid in town Ishka Edinburgh who opened its doors only a couple months ago. The pictures and the menu online looked incredible, plus it was something new in the culinary world of Edinburgh so we wanted to be one of the first ones to test it out. As with all new places, you always have that slight worry that it’s either hit or miss. And who wants their Saturday dinner ruined? Gladly, all our worries were put aside as soon as we got our first course and both mine and my partner’s faces lit up. Ishka presents their menu as the best of Scottish cuisine with Mediterranean vibes, innovation and cocktails, of course. This means plenty of fish on the menu but let me assure you that meat lovers as well as vegetarians will not be disappointed.The restaurant is located in the business district of Edinburgh, opposite the International Conference Centre. It might sound like it is far away from the rest of city entertainments but it is not, Ishka is only a few steps away from the famous Princes street and other central locations. We stayed at Motel One on Princes street and were able to walk to Ishka within around 20-25mins whilst admiring Edinburgh at dusk. It took us less time on our way back as we decided to stop for a few cocktails in other iconic places of Edinburgh afterwards.As soon as we stepped inside, we loved the modern feel of the place and how relaxing and cosy it was. There’s nothing worse than going to a fine dining restaurant and feeling pressured. I was very pleased it is not like that in Ishka, everyone seemed to be relaxed, having a good time and enjoying their company of the night. If you asked me, I would say that this restaurant is a perfect place for any occasion, whether you are taking someone out on a date, celebrating someone’s birthday, or simply want a classy night out. It’s upscale enough to make you feel special but does not put you off if you come for a regular evening meal. In other words, no special occasion needed if you want to give it a go.Now let’s go to the menu. I was really impressed that the restaurant uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients. They say that menu and dishes depend on seasons and as long as you are giving me fresh sources, I am happy. All dishes at Ishka has got a modern twist and presentation of every single meal is exceptional. You can choose from a main menu or a market menu which is available on set times of the day. Not feeling dinner vibes? You can pop-in to Ishka for a quick bite to eat, a lunch or even if you just fancy some cocktails!As me and my partner went to Ishka late Saturday evening, we sampled their main menu and cocktails. Both of us decided to go for all three courses because all or nothing, right? But before I even go into detail about it, I can honestly tell you that all meals were stunning, very tasty and both of us were still talking about it on our way back to Newcastle. We were really impressed with food as well as staff members who looked after us and answered all our questions (and sometimes we may have a few too many of those).To begin, I opted in for Scottish Coley and my partner had Venison Carpaccio. Both of us really enjoyed the flavours and I even tried Kevin’s Carpaccio and liked it too even though I am not a big meat eater. My smoked coley came with a leek & egg tartlet, dill dressing and warmed potato cream. It was a very comforting dish & I would gladly have it again!Main courses were once again (katching) a success. I had a roasted Monkfish with a spring onion, aubergine and sweetcorn butter sauce. The fish was delicious and I was pleasantly surprised with the sweetcorn butter sauce. It tasted way beyond my expectations. My partner had Lamb Rump with clapshot mash potato, cumin celery, garden peas, turnip & ISHKA mint sauce. He said it was delicious and wanted to repeat it the next day for his dinner but we are not that posh, fine dining doesn’t come on our table every evening.Dessert time is my favourite time of the day. I’ve got a VERY sweet tooth, a massive one and I love my desserts more than anything else in the world (except my boyfriend). So I opted for a cheesecake whilst Kevin had an apple crumble. The cheesecake was surely one of the best cheesecakes I have ever tried. Even though the biscuit at the bottom felt a little tough to crack, the cheesecake itself was incredibly smooth and just perfect for my liking.Cocktails? Of course we tried cocktails. Both of us tried Red Square Royal which is made with Vanilla vodka, Creme de Cacao & Moët champagne. The cocktail was refreshing, quite strong but it had spirits and flavours that I normally like and most important to me, it was not overly sweet, if sweet at all. Even though I have got a sweet tooth, I do not like sweet cocktails. Therefore, I always opt-in for something a bit more refreshing! If you are not a big cocktail drinker, that’s fine, they have plenty of other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to choose from.Prices? Well, it ain’t cheap but nothing is cheap in Edinburgh, especially, if you want to treat yourself or a special someone. On the main menu, starters were around £6.50-£7 range while main courses were around £14-£20. Desserts are around £5.5-£9.0 and cocktails are ranging from £8.5-£10.
If you visit Ishka Monday-Friday, you can benefit from their market menu. From 12-2.3pm, 2 courses cost £15 & 3 courses are £19. If you visit 5-6.30pm, 2 courses are £17 & 3 courses are £21.Have you visited the new kid in town yet? Let me know & share your experiences with me!If you would like to find out more about my travels, please don’t hesitate to follow me on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook !