WALKING down the inconspicuous stairs to the Italian Kitchen is like walking into your grandmother’s home. With amazing smells emanating from the kitchen and just over ten tables, the warm and friendly atmosphere, helped by the exposed walls and fairylights, is sure to relax you.
The food menu is typically Italian, with pasta and risotto, fish, meat and chicken, pizza, of course, and the specials board. To start I chose the Parmigiana di Melanzane (£6.25), a perfect combination of grilled aubergine, mozzarella, roast tomatoes and Parmesan. Not too large, the ingredients were superbly fresh. Opposite me the king prawn salad with garlic, chilli and coriander (£6.95) was again perfectly portioned and bursting with flavour.
For our next courses, my friend chose the special mixed seafood ravioli in tomato sauce (£10.50). Cooked al dente, the dish was well thought out. My king prawn, parsley, chilli and garlic linguine (£11.95) was near faultless.
Unable to resist a pudding, I chose the tiramisu and my friend the chocolate mousse (£4.95 each) – a substitute for the crème brulee which quite simply hadn’t set in the morning, which only proves the freshness of the dishes. Neither of us wanted our puddings to end. The tiramisu, often badly imitated, was nothing but the real deal. The mousse, a firmer version of what we are used to in the UK, was more dark than milk chocolate and although quite heavy, not at all sickly.
Having walked past Italian Kitchen on countless occasions I am now kicking myself for not walking down those stairs sooner.
• Italian Kitchen Restaurant, 18-24 Deanhaugh Street Edinburgh, www.italian-kitchen.net, 0131-315 2860