One of the incredible things that Instagram has brought into my life is the occasional invitation to visit new places. I was so delighted when Mono Edinburgh got in touch and asked if I’d liked to have a meal at their restaurant on South Bridge. As a huge fan of Italian food, it was a no brainer! In the interest of full disclosure, please note that this meal was free of charge, but my opinions are, naturally, all my own.
Mono Edinburgh: What’s it all about?
Mono isn’t your standard Italian restaurant. There’s no pizza in sight, for one thing! Instead, they offer progressive Italian dining in a modern, chic setting. The first thing that struck me in fact was how elegant the restaurant itself is. Think soft, warm lighting, lots of wood, textured walls and a cosy wood burner (perfect for a cold Edinburgh evening!) – it’s definitely not your usual red checked tablecloth sort of place.
Mono Edinburgh is the result of a collaboration between Michelin star Chef Zielinski and Joseph Crolla. Their culinary team focus on creating a multi-sensory experience in a beautiful, simplistic setting which allows the quality and freshness of the food to shine through. The menu focuses on presenting quintessentially Italian food but with a progressive, modern flare.
Sound tempting? Yep, they had me hooked too.
What we ate at Mono Edinburgh
We started with an apertif (a gin and tonic for me, naturally!) while we perused the menu. The waiters are all incredibly knowledgable and were more than happy to discuss the menu, explain the dishes and offer advice on wine pairings which I really appreciated. I chose the roasted partridge to start and stuffed gnocchi as a main while my other half went for the baked artichoke followed by lamb saddle. We always try and order different dishes so we can try each others (and sample as much of the menu as possible!)
While we waited for our meal to arrive, the waiters kindly brought over a selection of canapés and the world’s most delicious bread basket. It sounds ridiculous to wax lyrical about a bread basket, but the focaccia was genuinely one of the tastiest things I’ve had in ages. Simple, fresh and utterly delicious.
I managed to stop myself from filling up on bread (it was a struggle, I assure you) as there was plenty of delicious food to come. Our starters arrived and I knew we’d ordered well. The partridge was tender and paired beautifully with the brambles and vermouth sauce. There was something quite autumnal about this starter, perfect for a cold September evening! I did have a bit of food envy over the baked artichoke though, I must admit. Served with autumn truffles, mushrooms and a duck egg, it was creamy and rich and ever so slightly luxurious.
We continued our culinary journey with stuffed gnocchi and roasted lamb saddle. I am a pasta fiend and given the restaurant’s proud Italian heritage, I was keen to try their handmade pasta. Gnocchi can often be doughy but this was light and soft and filled with a creamy gorgonzola sauce. Paired with squash and a hint of hazelnut, it was the perfect autumnal pasta dish. I devoured the whole thing! I had a sneaky bite of the lamb and it was incredibly tender and cooked to perfection.
For dessert, we caved and ordered the same thing: caramelised peach with peach sorbet and amaretti biscuits. It was absolutely amazing. I loved the different textures; the crunch of the biscuits with the soft peach and icy sorbet worked so well together. It was a lovely way to round off the meal – not too heavy, just a nice, light dessert but packed with flavour.
Mono Edinburgh: What to expect
I wasn’t too sure what to expect prior to our visit to Mono. The location is a bit of a funny one. Though incredibly central, Edinburgh’s South Bridge isn’t the most glamorous part of the city and I wasn’t sure how well a chic, fine dining experience would fit in. Saying that, once you step inside Mono feels like a chic oasis of calm. The lighting is soft and delicate and the restaurant feels warm, cosy and inviting. The hustle and bustle of Edinburgh city centre melts away and the food takes centre stage.
Price-wise, Mono Edinburgh is mid-high end (mains range from £19-£26) but they also have a fantastic lunch menu at a very reasonable price (2 courses for £15 or 3 for £22). The location on South Bridge makes it the perfect stop if you’re out exploring the city and, because the restaurant is over two floors, there should be good availability even during peak-season!