Edinburgh Castle Head Chef, Julian Pizer, prides himself on seasonality and his close working relationships with regional suppliers. Julian and his team have worked endlessly to produce an authentically British menu for the 36-cover restaurant, which has been dictated by the British seasons.
The artistry and finesse within each dish is admirable. With the team even paying regular visits to Delamere Forest to forage 5-star ingredients to incorporate within the menu. Worth every penny, the food is exquisite and may well be on its way to receiving Manchester’s next Michelin star… you heard it here first.
Starters include Sauced Mackerel (£12) with golden raisins, sourdough and herbs. Full of flavour, the fresh mackerel is cured with gin botanicals and cucumber and sauced in a light pickle before it is blow torched before serving.
This dish is served alongside a sourdough cigar which has been filled with smoked mackerel pate and topped with raisin puree, apple-soaked raisins and pickled shallot rings.
One dish that has set tongues wagging when revealed on the menu is Carrots in Whey (£11) with smoke, rye, satsume and sorrel. A dish is one that exemplifies Chef Pizer’s ethos of using every part of a product to its full potential.
The heritage carrot is left with enough bite so that it’s not too soft and is braised in carrot juice and whey liquor, which gives it a crispy outer coating.
Smoked in applewood and topped with pickled carrot, candied carrot and burnt satsuma gel – the dish comes served on a rosemary and rye crum and a fresh edition of yoghurt dressing with tangy vinaigrette contrast.
The most expensive single carrot I’ve ever seen – but god, is it worth the money.
With only 6 considered mains on the menu, you know that each dish has been given a considerable amount of thought, experimentation and contemplation.
There’s the Salt Mash Lamb Saddle (£27) with cured lamb fat, turnips, ash and courgette. Roasted and well-rested, the saddle is left tender and served medium. The meat is topped with cured lamb fat (sliced and pan-fried to crisp it up) alongside pickled turnip rings dusted in onion ash.
If that wasn’t enough, a vibrant courgette puree sits beneath a rich glazed lamb rib. Complemented by a mountain of rippled sheets of turnip, the dish is dressed in a salty lemon dressing and finished with chive oil.
Diners can also expect Roasted Duck (£27) with black quinoa, umeboshi, young leeks and lovage.
Cooked on the crown and carved, the duck breast is cooked evenly to perfection (actual perfection) and sits alongside a confit duck leg bonbon (coated in puffed black quinoa and pork crackling crumb). Creamed leeks and charred baby leeks complement the dish, cooked on fire until tender.
Accompanying our mains were some truly spectacular side dishes, such as the Hasselback Potato (£5). Rumour has it this is the best potato in Manchester… and we completely agree. (We actually started the rumour).
Cooked in a homemade Hay Tea (with hay purchased from the local pet store!) the potato is served with buttermilk, leek ash, burnt butter and garlic. The dish is crisp and unexampled and an attempt to make “the ultimate roasty”. They’ve succeeded and it’s like nothing we’ve ever tasted before.
The potato sits on a bed of hung buttermilk dressing dusted in leek ash and dotted with a sharp black garlic puree, which provides an unexpected tang to a rather ‘earthy’ dish.
Chef favourite, Macerated Mushrooms (£6) are served with truffle, white soy, roasted hay and aged black rice vinegar. Created with true artistry, each type of mushroom is different and is presented uniquely.
Chef Pizer tells us, “In this dish, we present mushrooms in a variety of ways that we believe showcase each of their best textures and flavours”.
The dish includes Button (lightly warmed and macerated in a truffle vinegarette), Chestnut (sautéed until crispy and tender), Hen-of-the-wood (lightly flashed in a hot pan), Brown Shemiji (pickled in an aromatic dark pickle) and White Shemji (pickled in a light sweet pickle).
Married together with chives and a sauce which is made from the starchy hay tea liquid produced from cooking the Hasselback spuds!
Recommended to be ordered between your main and dessert – the Whipped Brie (£8) packs a few pleasant surprises. With preserved strawberries, nettles and tomato – the dish is the perfect balance between sweet and savoury.
Light, airy, and tasting unexpectedly like cheesecake, I never thought Brie would the perfect cheese for a dessert.
For dessert, expect Layered Chocolate Tart (£10), Blackberry Pavlova (£9) and Chef’s speciality and favourite – Lemon Posset (£9) with roasted white chocolate, ginger beer, barley malt and spices and served with black garlic meringue sticks. Garlic and white chocolate – who knew? Just try it.
So in summary, yes, Edinburgh Castle is well worth every single penny. A true experience, each considered dish is a masterclass in attention, flavour and flair from Chef Julian Pizer. Maybe, just maybe it’s set to be the next winner of numerous awards. I’d watch this space.
Bookings are filling up quickly – so book in soon!
Edinburgh Castle, Henry St &, Blossom St, Manchester M4 5AW