Stuart Ralston’s Edinburgh-based fine dining restaurant is thoughtful and ambitious, both in its cooking and its approach to staff welfare


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Aizle is a restaurant that prides itself of making everything in-house. And when chef Stuart Ralston says ‘everything’, he means it. From the nutritious live ferment in the sourdough, to the hand churned butter, to the aquavit and aged kombucha in the cocktails, all that is served has been created in the Aizle kitchen.

Ralston, who has worked in some of the world’s most coveted culinary locations including New York, originally opened his Edinburgh flagship on St. Leonard's Street in 2014, but relocated in 2020. Now, it is housed at the Scottish capital's Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel, located within the fittingly named Garden Room; a bright, bucolic space that sets the scene for the chef’s seasonally-focused cooking.

Aizle is a Scottish noun that refers to a burning coal, a glowing hot ember, or a spark. It’s a suitably enigmatic name for a thoughtful and ambitious restaurant that refuses to play by the rules. Rather than a menu, guests are presented with a list of potential ingredients from the most recent harvest and asked to cross off any they don’t like. From there, Ralston and his kitchen team create a tasting menu of arresting dishes that neatly play with your expectations.

Ralston notably shifted Aizle to a four-day working week in 2018 after struggling with long working hours, and while the restaurant has since moved to a five-day operation, all staff are contracted to only work for four days. It’s another example of his considered approach as both chef and restaurateur, which marks Aizle out as place very much worthy of your time.

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