At the heart of luxury boutique G&V Hotel on Royal Mile is the award-winning stylish restaurant Cucina. The restaurant offers contemporary Italian dining in a relaxed inviting atmosphere. With a name (the Italian for “kitchen”) that reflects its focus on elevating traditional Italian fare to the level of modern gourmet, Cucina offers a culinary experience instilled with passion and expertise
It was our first visit to Cucina and our table was booked for 8.30pm so before the meal, I wanted to try some of the cocktails at the Epicurean bar.
Epicurean is one of the hottest bars in Edinburgh and I’ve heard nothing but great things about their cocktails. The cocktail menu is inspired by the Scottish Colourists and it will take you on a journey of Botanical Europe. When you open up the menu it’s like a beautiful sketchbook with notes and every single cocktail has its own inspiration and story.
For example, Miel Royale comes with a palate cleansing sorbet served in a little crunchy con with a dash of honey from the bees on the rooftop. A delicious drink made from gin, rhubarb, fragrant tea from Edinburgh’s finest Sencha tea companies and Champagne is one of their best sellers and it’s not a mystery why. Be aware that this cocktail could be highly addictive 😉
Miel Royale – Tanqueray No. Ten, rhubarb, rooftop honey, spring garden tea, Champagne, served with chamomile sorbet & fresh honeycomb
The venue was almost full when we walked in, but friendly staff showed us a table reserved for us. It took me a while to focus on menu, as I was admiring the elegant and magnetic décor featuring round cherry-red booths, higher tables for perching, studded leather banquettes, a tempting bar glimmering with the glow of bottles and a marble counter. I loved the seductive and intimate atmosphere combined with mood lighting and soft glow of handing lamps.
Guests are welcomed by dapper staff in tweed waistcoats and pressed shirts and everything reflects five star service and style. Epicurean serves colourful cocktails and they really take seriously the farm-to-table concept using their own home-grown flowers and herbs. Not to mention the hotel’s rooftop honey bees that provide ingredients for the inventive cocktails. If you are not sure about your choices you can always seek advice from capital’s finest mixologist that will help you find the best options.
Near Milngavie inspired by Fergusson’s painting ‘ A Pull of Smoke Near Milngavie’ – Daffy’s Gin, St Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon, basil, sherbet-celery bitters, egg white, Greek Basil
Hunter’s Rose – George Leslie Hunter was known for his landscapes and portraits as well as still life. His ‘ Still life with Roses’ features the flowers, an orange and some grapes, which are all flavours featured in this indulgent Champagne cocktails, bolstered by an excellent Scottish vodka made from local botanical ‘holly grass’ and Highland apples (Holly Grass vodka, Lillet Blanc, rose & hibiscus, Byrrh Grand Quinquina, lemon, egg white, Champagne)
Shadows -Blackberry, apple, cinnamon, lemon, mint, ginger ale, egg white, Caorunn Gin
One thing that is showcased is creativity, from the décor to cocktail menu design to the drinks themselves.
I was getting quite hungry and luckily, we did not have to venture far to get delicious food, Cucina restaurant was located above our heads. The stylish and contemporary restaurant has been decorated with a colourful design and artwork and was an oasis of calm and quiet just when you need to relax after busy day at work.
We were welcomed by sommelier Matt who offered us a glass of prosecco each. A huge part of Italian cuisine is bread, so be aware of the complimentary bread basket (sundried tomato, pumpkin seed, sourdough, naan bread) as it’s very likely you will ask for more. I could just sit and eat their bread until my stomach gets sore. But we did not come to a fine dining restaurant to eat the bread and it was time to enjoy authentic, seasonal and modern cooking.
Open all day from breakfast until late, Cucina at G&V Hotel offers a menu that is light and elegant, and all the delicious Italian dishes are made using seasonal ingredients and simply and authentically prepared.
Each course was presented with a matching Italian wine chosen by our sommelier.
We started with Roasted scallop, celeriac pureé, saffron dressing and Beetroot, raspberry coulis, goats cheese and honey.
Roasted scallop, celeriac pureé, saffron dressing
Scallops were to die for! Silky smooth creamy celeriac puree combined with delicate meaty flavour of scallops and sweetness of honey from the hotel rooftop. I love good quality scallops, having some bad experiences in the past with gritty, chewy scallops I champion the restaurants that use fresh ingredients. Scallops were cooked to perfection with satisfyingly firm, yet fine, texture and mid sweet flavours.
Beetroot, raspberry coulis, goats cheese and honey.
St. Michael Eppan Gewürztraminer 2016
Wine chosen by Matt, St. Michael Eppan Gewürztraminer 2016, balanced the sweetness of the dish with fresh and fruity notes.
Cleansing palate lemon sorbet with cocoa beans and chilli in the glass
For main course, I opted for Sea bream fillet, black olive pate, spinach and balsamic vinegar dressing. It was a really gorgeous fish dish, seasoned to perfection sea bream fillet was covered in black olive tapenade and served with spinach and balsamic vinegar dressing. The sea bream is widely used in the Mediterranean cuisine as well as tapenade which is delicious to spread on toast but also a great accompaniment to any fish. A truly authentic Mediterranean dish.
Sea bream fillet, black olive pate, spinach and balsamic vinegar dressing
My partner went for Roasted pork fillet wrapped in pancetta, roasted red peppers and black olive with salmoriglo sauce.
Roasted pork fillet wrapped in pancetta, roasted red peppers and black olive with salmoriglo sauce.
I enjoyed it with a glass of Villa Santera Primitivo di Manduria which was warm and soft on the palate with flavours that continues to evolve into the finish. Lovely rich colour and inviting aromas of black fruits and cherries were the perfect accompaniment for sea bream fillet.
Sautéed spinach with parmesan
Our famous fried courgettes
Desserts were too good to resist so we ordered Chocolate ganache, caramel sauce, white chocolate ice cream, maldon salt and Tiramisu that screamed on the menu ‘Pick me up’.
Tiramisu was beautifully presented in a martini glass with layers of foamy cream that was melting in my mouth.
My favourite was by far chocolate ganache. For me chocolate ganache is one of the richest and most gratifying of treats to eat.
Chocolate ganache, caramel sauce, white chocolate ice cream, maldon salt
I am a chocolate lover and the combination of caramel, smooth & creamy chocolate and Malton salt was divine.
Indulgent, rich flavours were perfectly accompanied by the choice of dessert wine.
Allegrini ‘Giovanni Allegrini’, Recioto della Valpolicella Classico DOCG, Italy goes very well with chocolate and caramel.
All dishes were delicious, modern and full of flavours. Chef Mattia Camorani has combined rich Italian flavours with freshest locally sourced ingredients and created a menu that takes diners on a gastronomic journey through all parts of Italy.
Complete with a flawless, five-star service and exciting selection of outstanding wines, Cucina provides an exceptional dining experience. The restaurant is the perfect place for special events, for making memories or for doing business. Perfectly positioned at the corner of the George IV Bridge and the Royal Mile, Cucina restaurant in G&V Royal Mile Hotel is easily accessible to diners and is a short distance from Edinburgh Castle.
I cannot recommend the restaurant and the bar highly enough. From the moment you walk in, you are very looked after and staff makes sure all your expectations are not just meet, they are exceeded.
Open from 6:00pm till 9:45pm all week.
T: +44 (0)131 2401666
F: +44 (0)131 2266660
F: +44 (0)131 2266660
1 George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1AD
UKT: +44 (0)131 2206666