Restaurant check: Cucina

BACKGROUND

Formerly a Missoni, the G&V Royal Mile Hotel is now part of Rezidor Hotel Group’s new five-star Quorvus Collection, which also includes the Symphony Style Kuwait, the May Fair in London and the Hormuz Grand in Muscat.

Last year, the suites in the Edinburgh property were re-designed, and in June, Cucina restaurant completed a soft-refurbishment by Scottish design studio Timorous Beasties.

Open until September is the Tanqueray Gin Terrace. In October, the ground-floor lobby will be revamped and a new bar launched, overseen by the Gorgeous Group and Graven.

THE RESTAURANT

Located on a mezzanine floor above the lobby, with stairs leading up from the entrance, the restaurant is modern in style with glossy turquoise and red tables illuminated by spotlights. Running down the centre of the open-plan space is a long, double-sided banquette in comfy grey upholstery, with diners seated either side.

A member of staff is on-hand to welcome guests on arrival and show them to their table. Even though it was sunny outside on the summer Saturday evening I was there, it was quite dark inside. It wasn’t particularly busy either.

Our drinks order was taken and menus presented, with an explanation about the special four-course “Taste of Italy” menu. We were also told about the summer black truffle that was on offer – there was one on display near the till.

I remember eating here in 2009 when Cucina was part of the Missoni – it continues to serve Italian food and the layout is much the same. (You can read my review here.) If you are staying at the G&V Royal Mile Hotel, the restaurant is a handy option – I wouldn’t feel out of place eating here as a solo businessperson.

THE DRINKS

Cucina serves signature cocktails, such as Sixteen, which is made with Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban single malt Scotch whisky, heather honey, nettle vermouth and bitters, for £11.

I started with a glass of the house champagne, then moved on to a bottle of wine from the extensive list of Italian labels. The waiter recommended the 2010 Fausto Timorasso, Vigne Marina Coppi from Piemonte (£66), which was enjoyable.

THE FOOD

The menu lists six starters and a dozen main courses, including pasta dishes that are also available in small portions. The cooking is safe and not overly creative.

My companion and I went for the pan-fried scallops with celeriac puree (£13), and a green bean salad with Parmesan and red wine shallots (£8). The latter was surprising as the central component of the dish was actually a cheesy soufflé-type thing on top of some potatoes. Tasty but not was I was expecting.

For the mains, we both went for gnocchi – one with black truffle (which was disappointingly bland), and one with gorgonzola sauce, walnut and radicchio. I found this to be underwhelming – not very pretty to look at and slightly bitter. There were only two pastas on the menu and neither was vegetarian, which I thought was a missed opportunity.

Other main courses included Scottish rib-eye steak, duck breast with minted pea purée and sautéed mushrooms, roasted monkfish with baby gem lettuce, green olives and tomatoes; and pan-fried sea bream with bay leaf sauce. None of these seemed particularly Italian.

For dessert I ordered the tiramisu (£7), which was served Come Dine With Me-style in a martini glass. What there was of sponge and coffee was overwhelmed by frothy cream.

THE SERVICE

The staff were warm and friendly – I felt well looked after. Cucina is a relatively relaxed place to eat but waiters will keep an eye on how empty your glass is and pop over when you need a top-up.

VERDICT A well-located restaurant just off the Royal Mile but the food needs improvement.

  • OPENING HOURS 12.30pm-10pm daily.
  • PRICES Starters £7-£13, mains £12.50-£27.

Jenny Southan


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