It is not an exaggeration to say that Aizle made a splash
when it opened on St Leonard's Street way back in 2014.
Outside of chef circles, few people had heard of Ralston - we'll show why in a minute - but within a year Aizle was being touted by every pundit worth their sea salt as one of Edinburgh's top restaurants.
Using local, hyper seasonal ingredients in innovative ways, Ralston's daily changing set menus seemed fresh and modern. It helped that the service, while professional, was not stuffy.
This was a restaurant that had all the panache and inventiveness that Michelin star restaurants are supposed to have but with none of the starchiness.
It took most people by surprise. Mainly because no-one knew who Chef Ralston was.
He had left his native Edinburgh when he was 21 to work in Gordon Ramsay's first restaurant in New York. After several NYC adventures, he did a stint at the Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados followed by stages with numerous big name American chefs.
Now 35, it was the chef's time in New York that inspired Noto. The new venture is named after Stuart’s late friend, Bob Noto, a well-known New York eccentric and man about town. Bob took Stuart under his wing when he first arrived in the Big Apple.
International with Asian influence
Noto's menu draws inspiration from the city's after hours dining scene and the food that the chefs ate after finally knocking off for the night. It's been described as international with a strong Asian influence. The dishes are available in a mix of small and big plates alongside daily specials and brunch options.
Dishes currently being tried out for the menu include:
Onion brioche, lardo, aged butter
Carlingford oyster, horseradish, apple mignonette
Beef tartare, XO, egg yolk, grilled bread
Ricotta agnolotti, whey butter, chanterelle
Wild halibut, sprouting broccoli, kombu beurre blanc
Koji short rib, togarashi, sherry caramel gastrique
Beetroot, labneh, zaatar, sunflower seed
Gem lettuce, pistachio, Parmesan, herbs
Baron Bigod, fig, apple, warm crumpet
Scottish raspberry, Diplomat cream, sorrel
The interior is clean and simple almost to the point of
being monastic. All the better for concentrating on the food.
Your blogger was at the launch last week and we can't wait to book in for the full works once the festival has left town.
We wish Noto every success.