I love a restaurant that feels like a secret, as though insider knowledge is required to find the right tucked away staircase. That’s how it feels arriving at Tipo, the newest restaurant from Stuart Ralston and his ‘right-hand woman’ Jade Johnstone, both of Aizle and Noto fame.

When we arrive at Tipo the stairwell still smells of fresh paint and we feel like good friends first over the threshold at a housewarming. The vibe in the first-floor restaurant is relaxed, romantic and elegant, with a soft Scandinavian style: comfortable wood and wicker chairs, and mottled pink walls that reflect the last of the daylight. The wooden tables are simply decorated with flickering candles and dried flowers. At the pink tiled bar are backed leather stools and low slung lights: just the spot for a solo plate of pasta and a glass of wine.

The National:

In this family of restaurants Aizle is the big-hitter big-sister venue with its tasting menu and paired wines (one to save up for), and Noto is the more relaxed sister venue with the legendary crab butter, inspired by Ralston’s stint in New York with an Asian twist. Tipo, named after the pasta flour, takes a more European approach. There’s a focus on handmade fresh pasta, aged charcuterie and cheeses, and delicious wine from small family producers.

With a crisp glass of prosecco we start with fat potato zeppole with aged castelmagno cheese. The zeppole are hot and crisp,  a potato pastry that’s like the best cheesy chip you’ve ever had. I’m into it. We also share chunky lamb fritte with anchovies, and some seriously good sourdough and confit garlic oil. At Tipo most dishes are designed to share, though two forks in the pasta may lead to lip-smacking Lady and the Tramp moments so order your own if this is a concern. Moving to small plates the octopus carpaccio is like a grown up version of the children’s ‘make a garden on a plate’ competition at an agricultural show.

The National:

It’s ever so pretty and tastes as good as it looks.

Thin slices of tender octopus mingle with wafer-like radish slices, pickled cucumber cubes, little dots of piquant romesco sauce, and topped with delicate micro herbs.

A duck liver dish proves that paté is not passé, not here anyway: it’s rich and smooth, served with sourdough focaccia toast, sweet fig jam and crunchy walnuts. Delightful!

Pasta has its own section on the menu and for good reason: it’s the house speciality and not to be missed. The chunky paccheri with a tomato vodka sauce is a classic: comforting and familiar with homemade pasta and a rich slow-cooked sauce. To me it’s outshone a little by the other pasta we try: pappardelle with crab, chilli and parsley. Here wide ribbons of perfectly al dente pasta are tangled with tender sweet crab and a crunch of chilli breadcrumbs. Next time I’m coming for a seat at the bar and a bowl of my own.

The National:

It’s soft serve ice cream for pudding and today it’s vanilla and cherry with a dark cherry sauce generously poured on top. We also dig into a warm chocolate cake with sabayon cream, though really we’re fit to burst. Both puddings have a nostalgic, holiday memory feel, though certainly more refined than an icy scoop from my real childhood summer holidays. They are delightfully over the top – the syrup, the cream – all the delights I once imagined that I’d indulge in when I was an adult. But sorry, kids, I’m keeping Tipo for the grown-ups.

However, there’s no point pretending I can keep Tipo a secret, opening hours have already been extended to seven days a week to keep up with demand. With perfect pasta and delicious wine, Tipo is the perfect spot for a date night or cosy meal with friends.

The National:

Forgive the pun: this is my Tipo place.

110 Hanover Street, Edinburgh,


Footnote: Next up from Stuart Ralston is a cookbook, out in September. Stuart Ralston: Catalogued Ideas and Random Thoughts – a Cookbook will give readers and eaters a nosey inside the creative chef’s precious kitchen notebooks.