Edinburgh is now the best place to eat in the UK outside London according to the Red Michelin Guide, which has awarded a Michelin Star to the city’s eight-month-old 21212 restaurant in its latest edition.
The coveted award—the fifth attributed to the capital’s restaurants—moves Edinburgh into second place behind London in terms of the number of city-wide Michelin Star accredited restaurants.
Paul Kitching, owner of the 21212 restaurant, claims Edinburgh could even hold claim to the best culinary offering in the UK.
Kitching, who runs the restaurant with partner Kate O’Brien, told The Journal: “I certainly think, while quantity wise London is ahead, that you could argue we have the best quality wise. The great thing about Edinburgh is that everything is about food, restaurants, drinking, celebrating and having a great time. It’s a huge culture.
“I actually think you could argue we are better than London. If you look at the size of London and then the size of Edinburgh and break that down as a ratio, I would suggest it’s at least pretty even.”
Kitching, who also held a Michelin Star at Juniper, his Manchester restaurant, before moving up to his current Royal Terrace premises, explains his repeated success centres around two basic principles.
“It’s quality with consistency. That is what the Michelin Guide is all about. And to be honest, when we found out, it was a relief more than anything else.
“You know, we love Edinburgh, and loved it every time we came to visit. It’s like having twenty cities in the one city. It is one tiny yet huge city and there really is a great freshness about it.
“We’ve spent a lot of money, changed location up here and this is really a validation, or a stamp to say ‘yeah, these guys are pretty good’.”
Kitching explained the restaurant’s unique menu: “We offer two starters, two main courses and two desserts, plus two appetisers, and change them on a weekly basis.
“It is really to take away all the pomp and circumstance surrounding these posh restaurants with twenty starters on the menu - to avoid all this ‘a la Carte’ rubbish.
“This way, the customers are there to talk about themselves, and enjoy their meal and not sit and talk about the restaurant.”
Malcolm Duck, chairman of the Edinburgh Restaurateurs' Association, told The Scotsman: “Edinburgh already has a great reputation for its restaurants but it's good to see another one in the Michelin guide... I'm very glad for Paul. It's the best new place in town.”