New Edinburgh dining experience to offer 8-course surprise tasting menu

Condita will be based on sourcing seasonal ingredients from around Scotland. The decor will also change with the seasons. Pic: submitted by Mark Slaney.
Condita will be based on sourcing seasonal ingredients from around Scotland. The decor will also change with the seasons. Pic: submitted by Mark Slaney.
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An eight-course surprise tasting menu will form part of a new dining experience coming to Edinburgh next week.

There's currently no sign outside of 15 Salisbury Place saying 'restaurant,' so it would be easy to walk by without giving the building any more than a second glance.

The cauliflower. Pic: supplied by Mark Slaney.

The cauliflower. Pic: supplied by Mark Slaney.

Hand-painted above the door is the word Condita, which in Latin means to construct or create something new.

But there are no other clues as to what lies within. Even the website has no photos of the food or glimpses of the interior.

What will it be like?

Condita's owner Mark Slaney wants to create a very intimate dining experience - there will only be six tables - and take guests on a "sensory exploration of the different regions of Scotland."

Dishes are based on sourcing seasonal ingredients from around the country and these will be organic where possible. The kitchen also has call on a 19th century walled kitchen garden in the Scottish Borders that is growing produce for them.

When guests arrive they will be offered a choice of three drinks to accompany a few tastes that provide a prelude to the eight-course dinner that follows.

At dinner, there is the option to have matched wines by the glass or to choose wine by the bottle. The 20 wines on offer are chosen by the owner and most are being shipped to Scotland for the restaurant for the first time.

The wines range from small scale producers who work organically or bio-dynamically, a school of thought on growing organic 'plus some.' Mark says the method is all about using natural composts and ingredients to vitalise the farm or land to maximise its effectiveness, and by doing so at the right time within the lunar cycles.

Dinner is cooked by Conor Toomey, who has previously worked as head chef at the five star The Isle of Eriska hotel near Oban.

Before taking charge of the kitchen at Eriska, Conor was executive chef at Amberley Castle at Arundel, head chef at Storrs Hall at Windermere and head chef at Coworth Park, Ascot. All of these held a prestigious 3 Rosettes in the AA Restaurant Guide.

Just as dishes move with the seasons, so too does the wine offering, and even the simple backdrop of the restaurant is over-laid with décor that changes seasonally, echoing the moods of the landscape outside.

Condita's website says that, if specifically asked, they can create a vegetarian dinner of eight courses given at least two days' notice.

The name

Condita in latin means to construct, build or create something new, which Mark says goes well with the idea of the restaurant.

He says that in colloquial Italian it also means to 'eats with fingers,' fitting into their dining concept of how guests will eat the food. For instance, for one course they will use cutlery that is based on 18th century design, while another dish will require chopsticks and another will need the use of fingers.

More details

Dinner at Condita has to be pre-booked and is served Tuesday to Saturday. Including wines, expect to pay around £200 - £250 per couple.

The restaurant will open its doors to customers next Tuesday, November 6th.

Visit: Condita, 15 Salisbury Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1SL, 0131 667 5777, www.condita.co.uk

Guest bookings can be made by emailing: enquiries@condita.co.uk