Normally, restaurant reviews follow a formula: surroundings and ambience, background, perhaps, then a meander through the starter, main course and dessert.
However, with Black Pig and Oyster, Iâ€™m going straight to dessert. Itâ€™s the warm chocolate sauce poured over the caramel, chocolate and peanut butter brownie and ice cream that lingers on in my memory several days after indulging. Itâ€™s one of the finest puddings Iâ€™ve had the pleasure of meeting.
The chocolate sauce had the texture of velvet and left a rich, warm aftertaste which lasted well into the evening. Sliced banana balanced out what could have been a saccharine overload and, as the last mouthful was devoured, I wanted more…
What is even more exciting is that this triumphant concoction was created by 18 year-old Jack, the son of the proprietors and future heir of Black Pig and Oyster. In the Year of Young People, it is great to be able to celebrate the talents of a teenager with a promising future in the restaurant industry.
So, back to the beginning. Black Pig and Oyster had a stuttering start in life due to repeated floods from the office above. It got so bad, that one Saturday night all the diners were sent home early as water poured through the ceiling.
Eventually, with all warped floorboard fixed and future floods prevented, Michelle, and her husband, Bryan, re-opened in April and, touch wood, there have been no further leaks and business is going well.
Situated in Leithâ€™s Commercial Quay, opposite the hulk of a building housing Scotlandâ€™s civil servants, the restaurant has retained many of its original features â€“ beautiful arches of red brick are enhanced by wall mounted candles, which all make for a cosy atmosphere. On a warm summerâ€™s evening, the cool interior doesnâ€™t feel oppressive; more cocooning. It is in good company too, with Tom Kitchin as a neighbour.
Itâ€™s a real family affair with their son, daughter and Jackâ€™s girlfriend all pitching in and the flavour is Portuguese and Spanish, influenced by Michelle and Bryanâ€™s time spent living in Madeira.Â Although we didnâ€™t try them, oysters are offered individually in a variety of sauces, and there is a strong focus on Iberian black pig dishes.
We started with sardines on toast and vegetarian paella croquettes with peas, garlic dipping sauce and sundried tomato. The two were almost opposites; the fish with tomato on soft toast was big and bold, whilst the paella was light and lemony. Both were delicious.
My dining partner opted for the traditional Iberian black pig main course, which he declared he could â€œeat every dayâ€: tender, beautifully cooked and topped with an array of herbs, onion, tomatoes and garlic. The accompanying thick cut chips were plentiful; the only thing lacking some greens to add colour to the plate.
My Iberian fish dish was divine â€“ plump fresh cod with chorizo, potato, mushy peas and miniature prawns, blended with rosemary, thyme and a smack of salt.
Enough said earlier about my heavenly chocolate brownie. My partnerâ€™s dessert was panna cotta which was a light way to finish a rich meal.
We came away with bellies full, taste buds satisfied and a hankering to try more. Would it be rude to skip straight to dessert? I think so, but the mains are also worth returning for.
Our three course meal for two cost Â£79.00, excluding drinks.
Black Pig and Oyster, 82 Commercial Quay, Leith.
Tel: 0131 285 6900