MY restaurant is first and foremost about the produce. Scotland is blessed with the best seafood in the world and at Ondine we celebrate that every day. But we also look to the world to take our food on a journey. My head chef, Ishu Mehrotra, hails from the Indian subcontinent and his subtle skill with spice lies behind some of the most popular dishes on our menu. His sea bream curry with spicy fried rice and raita is a firm favourite with regulars.

We have so much to learn from other food cultures. Travel has broadened our culinary horizons and opened our taste buds to new food experiences and for me, North Africa is a place of inspiration time and again. I really like the flavours and colours from that area, none more so than harissa. I first came across this Maghrebi paste when working on recipe combinations many years ago developing Rouille for our legendary fish soup garnish.

Its pungent flavours of chilli, saffron, cumin, coriander seeds, tomatoes and chilli create a strong and yet subtle North African taste that will make you want to cook with it more and more. It is now readily available in speciality stores and most supermarkets. Make time for the marinade to work, its magic – a little patience will really transform this dish.

Some fish can be very delicate but others can stand up to subtle and even robust spicing. Monkish is one of our most versatile fish, delicious served simply but also able to take on a whole range of big flavours. If possible, ask your fishmonger for monkfish steaks on the bone; they are easier to cook evenly and also hold onto flavours better.

At Ondine we like to explore techniques and ingredients from around the globe to take Scottish seafood to another level. For me, true hospitality is about giving our customers exactly what they want. That could be a classic French lemon sole meunière, featuring only the subtle flavours of lemon, butter and parsley. Or it could be our Isle of Mull scallops, served on the half shell with garlic butter and hot, spicy Charentaise sausage. It sounds like an odd combination but eats like a marriage made in culinary heaven. Alongside Ishu, in the kitchen my second chef Dominic Greechan also brings international inspirational to our food.

As chef proprietor, I love passing on the skills I’ve learned throughout my career in the restaurant business but it’s also important to always be receptive to new ideas and experiences brought into the kitchen by my team. When it comes to seafood, this a place also not afraid to take inspiration from the Far Eastern flavours of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Dominic recently returned from a spell working in Sydney in Australia. When there, he discovered the cooling properties of buttermilk curd when it comes to complimenting spicier seafood. We’ve incorporated that into this Monkfish and Spicy Dukkha and it also gives a crunchy and satisfying texture to the dish.

Roast harissa monkfish, buttermilk curd dukkah, fine beans and preserved lemon

(Serves four)

Ingredients?4 x 200g monkfish steaks (on the bone if possible)

30ml olive oil?2 tbsp harissa?30ml chilli oil?100g fine beans (cooked)?20g preserved lemon, chopped?80g buttermilk curd


For the Dukkah

80g chopped roast hazelnuts?30g white sesame?30g black sesame?30g ground coriander?10g ground cumin?10g cracked black pepper?A pinch Maldon salt?

Mix together the above ingredients in a bowl then set aside.

Method?Mix together the olive oil and harissa in a bowl. Add the monkfish, rubbing in the harissa, allow to marinate for 1 hour.

Place the monkfish onto a tray and season with salt and pepper. Heat up a medium-sized non-stick pan, place the monkfish in the pan and allow to colour on one side before turning over to seal on the other side.

Put the monkfish in the oven at 180°C for around six minutes. Once cooked, carefully remove from the oven and place on a warmed oven tray. In a separate bowl, mix together the cooked fine beans with the preserved lemon and the chilli oil and add salt and pepper to taste.

Place the beans onto your serving plates, spoon on your buttermilk curd then add the monkfish. Sprinkle over the dukkah to give that crunchy texture and drizzle with chilli oil to finish. Enjoy.

Roy Brett is chef-proprietor of the Ondine restaurant, 2 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1AD Tel 0131 226 1888