Contini George Street has relaunched and promises Italian food for a new generation.
The 5pm Dining blog was invited along to see the fresh look and try the new sharing menu at the popular Italian restaurant.
Launched by Victor and Carina Contini in 2004, the spacious former banking hall has reopened after a £250K refurbishment.
The revamp sees the introduction of banquette seating in soft grey leather, an open bar area, and striking wall hangings depicting Italian frescos.
A new menu, with a focus on small sharing plates, has been introduced, as well as a refreshed wine list and cocktail selection inspired by classic Italian drinks.
‘This is Italian food for the new generation,’ said Carina. ‘When we first opened, our menu was a reflection of the Italian food passed on to us from our grandparents – hearty meals like lasagne, pizza, and carbonara. While these are all delicious, the way people eat has changed.
Contini family meal
‘Now, guests want to try lots of different dishes, sharing them with friends rather than ordering a traditional starter, main course and pudding. So we have created a menu with sharing in mind. This is the food we eat as a family at home. It still showcases the very best Italian ingredients and the pick of Scotland’s larder. The difference is that it is lighter.’
‘The sharing plates are a way of getting guests to try something new,’ said Victor. ‘The different dishes have lots of different flavours and textures. We want people to share them and mix and match those tastes. The menu is still seasonal and it will evolve.’
The new Contini George Street menu features dishes such as salami Calabrese with roasted aubergine, mint, crème fraiche and pistachio crumb; cod poached in cold pressed olive oil with fennel, samphire and chilli; and a raw cauliflower, porcini and lemon oil salad with breadcrumbs and Venetian spiced walnuts.
Meanwhile, old favourites like Contini’s classic contadino can still be enjoyed, but in smaller, lighter portions.
The wine list offers a choice of over 55 Italian wines by the glass and bottle, with the unusual addition of a take home price for every bottle.
Victor and Carina Contini own three award-winning restaurants around Edinburgh; Contini George Street, Cannonball Restaurant & Bar at the top of The Royal Mile and The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant underneath The Scottish National Galleries on Princes Street.
This Calabrian salami had a punchy, peppery bite.
Silky cheese and crispy sourdough: good combo.
I don’t know if it was because of the olive oil poaching but this had a firm almost meaty texture.
This was a rich winter warmer of a dish.
My picture doesn’t do this justice but this was an excellent winter salad.
Zing, zing, zing.
Any day that features something called a bombolini is bound to be a good day.