Mono’s website promises “progressive Italian dining” and it is certainly refreshing to find no Spag. Bol., Carbonara or garlic bread on the menu.

Instead, this relatively new South Bridge establishment is delivering in-season, richly authentic fare, from the aged Parmesan to Borders Lamb at prices which might reserve eating here for special occasions.

The contemporary interior has seats 70 with upstairs and downstairs dining areas, the latter with a full view of the kitchen, allowing a chef’s table experience for foodies who like to see the action behind the dishes they are devouring.

Our waiting staff – all four of them – were extremely attentive, well briefed about the food and drink they were serving, and not too fussy around the table.

We knew we were in for a fine dining experience when our amuse-bouche were brought to the table – tiny delicacies to wake up the palate. Carrot, beetroot and rabbit were the dominant ingredients and they did whet our appetites for what was to come.

Next up, four breads/bread sticks with the most delicate olive oil imaginable. My favourite was the rye flour bread, so light and non-doughy.

My starter of baked artichoke, autumn truffles, aged Parmesan, duck eggs and mushroom, was full of intense but not competing flavours. The duck egg tasted like the eggs of my childhood – flavoursome and rich, and not the bland eggs I find myself eating half-heartedly today. A mini blini with sliced, raw mushroom on the side was a welcome addition.

My dining partner’s Octopus Alla Piastra with whipped potato, mushroom and sea herbs, was similarly intensely flavoured, but somehow not overpowering. It is very easy to overcook octopus, however Mono got it just right. Paprika added a smoky flavour giving an initial strong hit, which magically melted away allowing the octopus flavour to shine through.

My main was a marvellous meaty medley: Berkshire Pork Neck, cassoeula (a pork and Savoy Cabbage dish from northern Italy), cheek, celeriac and cumin. The waiter warned me about the high fat content, however the flavours were worth the extra calories. Luckily, the quantities were small, however this dish packed an appetite-busting punch, leaving me full for the following 24 hours.

Red prawn risotto with dill, Earl Grey and tangy apple was a bold choice, and only for the real seafood lover – luckily my dining partner was. He licked the plate clean (as he continued dipping his pinky in the olive oil!)

Desserts of caramelised peach (me) and plum tart (partner) did not disappoint: mine was a kind of broken biscuit mix whilst my partner was in heaven when the waiter spritzed the tart with Laphroaig.

Mono is definitely high-end dining, which ought to go down well in Edinburgh. However I do wonder about its location, tucked away on North Bridge among bus stops and a hotchpotch of shops, overlooking the Cowgate (great views all the same). I sincerely hope news travels fast of its fantastic food offering and that Mono doesn’t feel too lonely.

Our three course meal for two cost £84.00, excluding drinks.

Mono, 85 South Bridge, Edinburgh.

Tel. 0131 466 4726


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