Author: Suse Coon

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Friday, June 30th, 2006 at 2:34 pm
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First Impressions at Scotch Mist

Whether you’re looking for an economical business lunch, a pre-theatre treat or a family party in the private dining room, Peter’s Cellars has the answer.
First impressions of the cosy, 45 cover restaurant, Scotch Mist at Peter’s Cellars, in William Street, are created by the warm welcome from front of house staff. On the evening we went there, Bart, the Polish waiter, was at his most charming and we had a choice of tables in the ‘open’ half of the restaurant or in the more intimate area, which has booths separated by tartan curtains.

Executive chef Gavin Mitchell is behind the menus, à la carte, pre theatre and lunch, which are changed monthly on a rolling basis. That said, all the chefs, both in William Street and Melville Place get an active input to push the quality of standards.
Gavin himself left school at Linlithgow Academy and went straight into training in Darlington at the St. George Hotel. Making an early conscious choice of a career in catering management, he returned to West Lothian to attend College in Bathgate.
“Having already worked for three years, I found the situation in College not terribly realistic,” he says. “I quickly moved back to the real world, to the pressures and excitement of places like Livingston’s in Linlithgow, La Bonne Auberge in the Quality Hotel, Bouzy Rouge and the Townhouse in Dunfermline, where I was part of the team that won an AA rosette. In order to do that, you have to present a whole package where the menu, the food and the surroundings are first rate. By moving around, you learn. You pick up something new everywhere you go.”
Nowadays, Gavin is mainly to be found in front of house, and runs between the two restaurants overseeing a team of chefs and waiters, and ensuring that the ingredients used in the kitchens are the best quality. Only the finest local ingredients are used – free range animals from George Gilmour, fish from George Armstrong in Stockbridge and fruit and vegetables from George Anderson.
“You don’t have to be called George to supply us, but it helps!” quips Gavin. “Seriously, it’s just a coincidence. All these people are really on top of what they do and that gives us a good start.”
It is hard to look at the menus and eliminate anything that doesn’t tempt the palate. We tried the baked salmon fillet and breast of free range chicken. The wild Atlantic salmon has so much more oomph than farmed salmon, and comes with delightfully crispy stir fried vegetables, a smooth tomato fondue and aged balsamic, a balance of tastes and textures that goes down very nicely. The chicken is ingeniously stuffed with smoked applewood cheese and complimented by caramelised apple mash and calvados cream.
For desert, the blueberry cheesecake and dark chocolate and glayva parfait take some beating and Gavin did hint, for those who simply can’t choose, that they were thinking of offering a platter of sample deserts.
Before or after your meal, the bar is available for aperatifs, coffees and liqueurs and there’s a private dining room seating twelve for special occasions such as birthday or office parties.
More to Come
Scotch Mist at Peter’s Cellars is certainly a brand to watch. With two restaurants up and running in William Street and Melville Place and a third on the way, you might think that Gavin has his hands full. But he thrives on it.
“The fun bit for me is the buzz of providing 45 covers in two hours on a Saturday night and hearing the ‘wows’ as the food is put in front of people,” he says.
Edinburgh diners may be spoilt for choice, but Gavin is confident that they will soon establish a reputation for good quality food at a reasonable price and carve themselves a large slice of the ‘wow’ market.
Nowadays almost anything goes when it comes to wines but if you’re looking for advice on something to accompany a delicate flavour, someone will be on hand to advise.
House wines at Scotch Mist start at £14.95

To book, telephone 0131 226 3161

Try these recipes from Gavin:

Baked Scottish Salmon Fillet
Blueberry Cheesecake

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