This article appears as part of the Food Matters newsletter.

It takes one glance at the needle-thin stems of our wine glasses at Avery in Edinburgh before the panic sets in.

One wrong move, be it a stray elbow or an accidental shoogle of the table, and these delicate creations will be toast.

Best behaviour then, I warn my dinner companion who just happens to be my closest yet clumsiest friend as a Crémant is poured.

We’re not here to cause a scene, especially in such an intimate space where diners talk in hushed conversations while embarking on a culinary extravaganza that will last close to three hours in total.

We’re here to sample the tasting menu from Michelin Star-clinching American chef Rodney Wages who swapped San Francisco for Stockbridge last year after falling in love with Edinburgh while on a family holiday.

(Image: Newsquest)
Avery was perhaps one of 2023’s most talked about openings, and having descended below street level in one of the city’s trendiest neighbourhoods, a sense of anticipation is mounting fast.

It’s a perplexing wee place. Cosy, but with dark stone walls and an altar-like table occupying space by the front door that’s topped with all manner of knick knacks including a pair of binoculars and brass statuettes.

The bathrooms are perfumed by a bespoke Le Labo candle which flickers in the corner and screams of luxury. Just outside though, there’s a funky Godzilla artwork to greet you as you head back to the main room.

I’m not entirely sure what the vibe is here, but I’m into it nonetheless.

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What of the food then?

There’s not a lot to be gleaned from a menu that’s presented in calligraphy on thick parchment and lists courses with stark descriptions like ‘bits and bobs from the sea’.

No matter.

We soon find out there’s a Japanese flair to the first courses as the show kicks off with cold smoked razor clams and a caviar-topped dumpling followed by ‘raw fish’, langoustines with sherry vinegar and a bold crescendo of raw sesame.

(Image: Sarah Campbell)
All promising stuff so far, but it’s around the ‘Farm Egg’ course that we really start to fall in love with the place.

Inside a dainty hollowed-out shell is slow-poached egg yolk with English peas and a satisfying crouton crunch from grilled Swiss chard stems that makes the whole experience feel like diving into the world’s most luxurious cup-a-soup. (Yes, that is a compliment in my books.)

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Reaching the haggis and venison courses, more robust and distinctly inspired by Scotland, it’s hugely enjoyable to see the chef embrace the natural larder of his new home with his own deft touch.

A bold reimagining of haggis for example utilises pigeon as its main component, presented whole tableside before returning to the kitchen for slicing and a blanketing of whisky sauce and cherries.

After just one bite there’s not much needed to convince us this version easily holds its own against any more traditional recipe, but a hefty dram of Glenturret 12-year-old certainly seals the deal.

(Image: Sarah Campbell)
There’s unfortunately not enough room here to dissect each of the incredibly nuanced, knock-out dishes that grace our table throughout the evening, so let me end by assuring you that the Loch Arthur Cheddar Tart with burnt onions cooked in cognac and topped with honeycomb and bee pollen might just be one of the best things you’ll taste in the capital this year.

We leave well-fed, entertained and so satisfied that even the prospect of battling Taylor Swift fans for a seat on the train to Glasgow won’t burst our bubble.

Scotland is very lucky to have Mr Wages on our turf indeed.