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Cardinal brings fermentation and open-fire cooking to Edinburgh’s Eyre Place

The first solo venture from Edinburgh chef Tomás Gormley leans into the city’s weathered-stone streetscape and murky weather. Cardinal, his new fine-dining restaurant in Stockbridge, is painted a chalky black, lit only by candles and a large Artemide dome pendant. Abstract work on the walls comes from Art In Healthcare, a local charity that offers unpaid carers the opportunity to nurture their talent.

The red door is the only nod to the restaurant’s name.

Cardinal’s concept pays homage to Scotland’s hearty fare and no-nonsense cooking, focusing on wood-fired meat and veg and clever fermenting techniques. Gormley is front-of-the-queue at the nation’s finest suppliers, stocking the coolers with Belhaven crab and lobster, wild sea bass, rare-breed meat from MacDuff 1890 and crème fraîche from a dairy farm north of Glasgow. Produce like alexanders, fir potatoes, fermented girolles, and organic fruit comes from the local farm Phantassie.

Exposed stone and wainscoted panelling, daubed in inky navy hues
Photography: Stephen Lister

The 13-course evening tasting menu is served on stoneware by Scottish potter Samuel Sparrow and cherrywood bowls hand-carved by Daniel Wester. It includes fresh, fun takes on local pleasures, like a doughnut with taramasalata, egg yolk and ramson, and a sea buckthorn Jammy Dodger.

Gormley has spent the past few years meeting varying culinary challenges. He spent 2020 coordinating and managing food production for Edinburgh’s at-risk population and launching the fine-dining delivery service Bad Seeds. He followed up with the new restaurant Heron, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2023.

He called Cardinal ‘an opportunity to showcase something we don’t think anyone in Scotland offers people yet…. Expect a lot of the same energy you experience at [sister restaurant] Skua, just in a longer, more detailed tasting menu format.’

Cardinal will offer a more casual Wednesday to Saturday lunch service from 5 Apri 2024.

14 Eyre Pl, Edinburgh EH3 5EP, Scotland

Dramatic shadowplay
Photography: Stephen Lister
The exterior of Cardinal restaurant
Neapolitan ice cream Photography: Stephen Lister
Bellhaven crab, finger lime, miso, nori duck liver , beetroot and chilli. Photography: Stephen Lister
Bellhaven crab, finger lime, miso, nori duck liver, beetroot and chilli. Photography: Stephen Lister

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