It's all about the tapas at Black Pig and Oyster, says Gaby Soutar

 

Mice, squirrels, bears, chipmunks, grouse, deer and weevils.
Apart from horses, who have an intolerance, creatures love munching acorns. (They’re like the roasted salted peanuts of the animal world).

 
Not to forget the chunky namesake of this place – the Iberian black pig or pata negra (black hoof), who forages on these oak seeds and, thus, unknowingly transforms himself into a rather succulently sweet and marble-fleshed jamon.

 
He is the speciality at this new Spanish restaurant, where there’s an Iberian Black Pig and Grill section.
Oh, and they serve oysters, should you be wondering why they also get top billing. They’re not so cute though, so they don’t appear on the sign that hangs outside this venue.

 
Half-way along Commercial Quay, by the fountain, this place – a sister restaurant to 43 Main Street in Glenrothes – is in the former premises of International Starters and, according to the waiter, was a location in T2 Trainspotting.

 
It looks slick inside and, unlike most tapas places I’ve visited in recent years, there are nice big tables, rather than the usual A4 dimension, so you don’t have to pile up plates.

 
Go for a Light Lunch Tapas Menu, or the all-day affair.
Since it’s their speciality, the three of us ordered something from the latter’s Iberian Black Pig and Grill section – the take on surf and turf that was secreto and langoustines (£28) – and a whole bunch of tapas and sides.

 
Sadly, we felt kind of underwhelmed by the only full-sized main dish. It looked pretty spectacular, with a large steak of piggy, three garlic smothered halved langoustines, a lemon wedge and a billowing sandy-coloured and hair-brush-sized pork scratching.

 
However, when it came to the medium pork, I was kind of hoping for more charred flavour and it was kind of anodyne, as was the seafood. But, no matter, because the endless procession of beautifully presented tapas dishes were more than adequate compensation.

 
A pair of russet-crumbed prawn croquettes (£7) were burly bullets of joy, with a slick, slippery and hot Pepto-Bismol-coloured centre and a slick of rich shellfish aioli below.
While the morcilla and mojo picante (£5) featured crispy coated buttons of ashen black pudding, teamed with a nicely piquant sauce.

 
One of our few non-deep-fried dishes – the picos blue pannacotta (£7) – was rich, salty and silky, with a pair of crostini struts propped against the side of the bowl and tiny cubes of cider-marinated pear.
And then there were aubergine fritters (£5) – three frisbees that were anointed with cinnamon and honey and clad by a light tempura. This dish was good, though slightly marred by a layer of too wet “smoked paprika piccalilli”, which featured carrot cubes and peas.

 
Our two seared dived scallops (£8) were served à la mermaid’s bikini – aka on the shell. Each was half submerged in an inky pool of syrupy dark gingery glaze. We popped them like Pringles.
Sides are interesting too. I ordered one of wrinkled potatoes (£3), mainly because I feel that I have an awful lot in common with them.

 
This Canary Island speciality consisted of a bowl of pebble-sized tatties that were steamed until fluffy and salt-misted, with a garlicky aioli over the top. The roasted cauliflower side (£3) consisted of anatomical-looking cross sections of this vegetable, drizzled with truffle oil and manchego ribbons. Nice.
For dessert, I was expecting something like crema catalana, but they’ve gone off theme.

 
We went for a fantastically summery strawberry tart (£7.25), with crisp pastry and a pale pink mascarpone mousse in lieu of crème pâtissière. It came with a fragrantly green scoop of basil ice-cream, and a few blobs of herby syrup.

 
The chocolate and peanut mousse (£7.95) was equally classy, with blotting-paper-thin shards of dark chocolate stacked and cemented together with blobs of white chocolate and peanut butter mousse, and there was a scoop of salted caramel ice-cream should you not be spoilt enough.

 
Impressive. I have good feelings about this place, and you know what they say about acorns.
Not only do pata negra stuff their faces with them, they’re also the beginning of mighty oaks. n

 

 

82 Commercial Quay, Edinburgh (0131 554 1777, www.blackpigandoyster.co.uk)

Black Pig and Oyster, restaurant review, Edinburgh
Food80%
Ambience80%
80%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (5 Votes)
76%

About The Author

Gaby Soutar

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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