Childhood memories of spring days conjure images of an emerging warm sun, a fascination with buzzing bees and munching on “borrowed” rhubarb from Jimmy and Jenny’s garden next door.
Even the weight of the sugar bowl used for dunking the sour pink sticks into crystals of brown sugar, comes easily to mind.
The refreshed menu at Cannonball Restaurant is a grown-up version of that evocation of a Scottish spring and it captures the beauty and hope of Edinburgh, shaking off its winter woolies, ready for the year ahead.
I could have taken a plum or two off the pigeon starter, but the breasts were deliciously plump, with a warm brown coating and perfectly pink inside, accompanied by crispy lardons and sprout leaves.
Ethical fish company Isle of Mull king scallops with Jerusalem artichoke and dulse mayonnaise also make the grade for a light, sweet start.
Followed by a whacking sweet half lobster slathered in appropriately over-the-top amounts of garlic butter. It had the perfect balance of lightness and warmth necessary for a pre-summer evening meal.
The crackling on the Ayrshire pork belly accompanied by spiced pear jam with spinach and Dauphinoise potato simply needs to be tried. I can’t describe it for fear of slathering on the keyboard.
Scottish favourites cullen skink, venison with pumpkin crumb and thermidor featuring Isle of Mull cheese and Scottish lobster are also highlights of the spring menu.
Although Contini’s Cannonball is as deep into touristville as you can get without wrapping yourself in some fake tartan while standing on the Heart of Midlothian, it completely avoids feeling like a restaurant just for visitors.
A stone’s throw from the castle esplanade, the warmth and genuine “Victor” welcome diners receive, feels more like popping into a, albeit a very upmarket, local and catching up with friends. It avoids stuffiness but still gives you something very special, and if you’re lucky, a table with a view of the castle.
And now, for the first time, foodies can also drink in the views of the Castle as part of a new afternoon tea created by pastry chefs at the Castlehill restaurant.
Diners can indulge in a traditional Scottish afternoon tea in the dining room of the 16th century townhouse, whilst enjoying amazing views of the Castle, Royal Mile and cityscape.
Cannonball House, opened in 2014 by Victor and Carina Contini, who also run long established Edinburgh favourite Contini George Street as well as the popular cafe and restaurant inside the Scottish National Gallery, has launched the menu which includes a selection of finger sandwiches stuffed full of seasonal fillings as well as delicate scones with Scottish smoked salmon, petit fours and homemade baking items including 70 percent Valrhona chocolate treats.
Local produce featuring on the menu includes Isle of Mull cheese scones, haggis from Findlay's of Portobello, smoked salmon from James Dickson & Son in East Lothian, and seasonal produce from Contini’s very own kitchen garden on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
Carina Contini, owner of Cannonball Restaurant & Bar, said: “We’re really excited to be launching our new Cannonball Afternoon Tea in time for Easter.
“For the first time, Edinburgh residents and visitors alike will be able to enjoy our freshly made afternoon tea treats set against the spectacular backdrop of Edinburgh Castle and the word-famous city skyline.
“At Cannonball we dedicate a huge amount of our time to sourcing produce direct from the very best suppliers from across Scotland, with 90 per cent of our ingredients coming from more than 70 trusted Scottish artisan producers.”
Afternoon Tea is now available Tuesday to Saturday, 3pm-4.30pm, for £25 per person.