Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh
The Southside Scran was always our go-to place for great quality seasonal cooking – and, when it closed its doors just before lockdown after a disastrous flood, we were very sad to say the least. We couldn’t walk up to Bruntsfield without casting hopeful looks towards its shuttered premises as we went by. After what seemed an eternity of waiting we finally spotted a sign bearing a brand new name and started counting down the days. Indeed, we’d have been here on its opening night if the dreaded COVID hadn’t stepped in with a disastrously-timed delaying tactic.
Finally, my isolation period is over and we are able to take our seats in Kora, which has a fresh new look and now offers tempting bar snacks for those who aren’t looking for the full dining experience. We are greeted at the table by Tom Kitchin himself, who tells us a little bit about Kora’s ethos and presents us with two glasses of fizz and a delightfully spiced broccoli tempura, as an example of the aforementioned bar snacks. This new venue, he tells us, is all about seasonal cooking, about creating a relaxed and informal place to dine. He’s put together a young and enthusiastic team to help him deliver his new creations.
For starters I sample the day boat squid which comes with delicious crispy jambon, runner beans and girolle mushrooms. To describe it as ‘tasty’ would be doing it a disservice. It is absolutely delicious, right down to the final succulent mouthful. Susan’s courgette flower tempura, stuffed with ricotta, and accompanied by olives, tomato and chickpeas is just as assured.
The main courses are faultless too. I’ve gone for the crispy Ayrshire belly pork, a generous chunk of tender meat with a gratifyingly crunchy topping, lying on a bed of cabbage and black pudding. Mmm! Susan has the Errington goat’s cheese tart with sweet red onion and pine nuts. Accompanied by glasses of cold Sauvingon Blanc, the course is an absolute delight, and it’s hard to imagine how these dishes could be bettered. They are note-perfect.
The puddings can sometimes be the element that lets a meal down, but not so here – my Blasgowrie gooseberry fool with oatmeal granola certainly has the wow factor and looks every bit as good as it tastes – as does Susan’s praline – which is actually a island of soft meringue floating in a sea of custard. There’s really nothing here to fault and we leave feeling that the Southside has a worthy successor. Kora is another wonderful venue to add to Tom Kitchin’s impressive collection.
Will we back? Most definitely!