Get a little joie de vivre in your life
Do an online search of the word atelier and you will find it means an artist's studio in French.
Visit The Atelier in Edinburgh and you’ll witness the glorious works of the artist-in-residence.
Obviously I am referring to the chef of the eatery in Morrison Street in the west end, just a hop, skip and jump from Haymarket station – an area of the city which is establishing a reputation as a place to hang out thanks to its burgeoning dining and drinking establishments.
The Atelier can certainly take some of the credit for this rise in popularity and it earned two prestigious AA rosettes in 2014 – a year after opening – which it maintains today.
It is a relatively small and well-maintained restaurant with rich, bright contemporary colours and mahogany adorning the fixtures, comfy seats and tables dressed with fresh red roses.
It has a semi-partition separating a main dining area from other tables and the bar and kitchen area and the blinds and small smatterings of greenery definitely give it a studio vibe.
We were seated right in the centre of a stone/slate-effect wall, which was a nice placing enabling us a view of almost the whole restaurant. There is a window booth, which I will ask for next time.
Service is prompt and staff are well prepped, impeccably polite and know how to serve you – nothing is forced or given thought to, they instinctively know their jobs. The food is a mixture of continental styles made with fresh Scottish produce. Fusion is a perfect way to describe it and each dish is wonderfully presented, like little works of art.
There’s a couple of wee surprises in store before your starter in a small cup of velouté with flavours and textures that really get your palette going. This is followed with some lovely warm rye bread and a pea-based herb dip which is just beautiful.
For starters I chose the venison saddle tartare while Karen had the scallops. The venison was cooked to perfection, pink in the middle, and was accompanied by little strips of meat, cherry flavours, popcorn, baby sweetcorn, capers, kohlrabi, a creamy white sauce and a thick, cheesy bon bon.
As you can probably guess from this extensive list of ingredients, the fusion of flavours is fantastic.
The scallops come with cauliflower, blackcurrant, watercress and aged parmesan – a dish that gave me a short bout food envy.
For the mains we had the lamb and the gnocchi. The lamb saddle featured crispy belly, taught little watermelon balls and tomato pesto, topped with a large leaf of spring green cabbage and a dollop of quinoa and anthotyro cheese.
A little bit of everything together from this dish on the one fork is a real sensation and the lamb is the star of the show, absolutely gorgeous.
Karen’s gnocchi, with aubergine, courgette, tomato and a sprinkle of ricotta included a few interesting colours, but also wonderful I was assured.
For dessert we shared the poached apricot which came with a dark chocolate cremeux and a refreshing sorbet, which was really light and refreshing. Superb.
Atelier is fine dining at its best and invokes a hearty amount of joie de vivre in you. In the spirit of the ongoing Euro 2016 – allez Les Atelier.
The Atelier, 159-161 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, www.theatelierrestaurant.co.uk