Today sees the official launch of Norn restaurant in Edinburgh. It is the first solo venture for Chef Scott Smith, a protégé of Michelin-starred Geoffrey Smeddle, owner of The Peat Inn. Scott has taken over the site of The Plumed Horse on Henderson Street in Leith.
Named after an old Scottish language which had its roots in Norse, the 36 cover Norn is nothing if not ambitious. Working in the open plan kitchen, the chef team aim to showcase Scotland’s larder by using seasonal ingredients, some of which will be foraged.
Scott has spent the past eighteen months sourcing, meeting and selecting a trusted group of local producers including butchers, foragers, farmers, fish and seafood specialists to provide the very best ingredients.
As with fellow Edinburgh restaurants Aizle and Seasons, there is no menu. Or at least not in a conventional sense. At dinner, guests can choose to eat either a set four course or seven course menu. There is a also a three course lunch menu.
The menus will be guided by suppliers’ advice on which products are at their best and by the ingredients that the chefs have harvested on their foraging trips. Jelly ear fungi, sea sandwort and scurvy grass have all been gathered on recent trips.
As well as using fresh produce, the menus will feature items which have been preserved for use at a later date. The overall idea is to offer menus which work with nature’s cycle and put ingredients on the table when they are at their peak.
Chefs will bring the dishes to the table so that diners can, if they wish, ask about their meal. There are also four seats at an ash wood bar overlooking the pass.
Norn offers a three course lunch menu for £20 with a choice of two dishes for each course. Dinner is £40 for four courses and £65 for seven, plus £25 and £60 respectively if you want the sommelier to choose matching wines.
Just around the corner, the Michelin-starred Restaurant Martin Wishart is offering a six course tasting menu for £80 or the three course a la carte for £75. Fellow Michelin star holder and nearby Leith neighbour Tom Kitchin operates at similar price points.
Chef Scott Smith’s pricing is canny. He is not setting himself on a level with well established and well-known talents like Wishart or Kitchin.
But he is operating at a price band which will set certain expectations among his customers. Having worked in the Michelin-starred kitchen at The Peat Inn, he will have a clear vision of the standard of cooking which he wants to present.
The 5pm Dining blog wishes Scott and his team every success.