From the beautifully appointed room at The Kimpton at Charlotte Square, Edinburgh Castle looms majestically. In truth, you’d be hard pressed to find a room in Edinburgh that doesn’t have a view of the castle unless you were staying in the castle, but this one is especially nice with a price tag to match. The hotel spanks of luxury; inside the room the sheets are thick and heavy, the pillows deep enough to lose a body within. There is panelling and furniture that looks antique but probably isn’t. The bathroom, all faux stone and large mirrors, has a list of things they can bring you, including chargers and straighteners. Those items are for phones and hair; in no way were the drug references deliberate. This is Edinburgh, they don’t have time to do drugs because they’re too busy staring at the castle.

Downstairs is a cocktail bar and Aizle, a restaurant I almost booked but never. I’d been following Chef Stuart Ralston for a while; his food looked approachable and without pretence on Great British Menu, and he comes highly recommended from Gordon, a lovely chap who still speaks to me despite me ruining his dinner at Osteria Francescana by getting him and his partner pissed on Lambrusco on the first occasion we met. He suggests Noto, Ralston’s small plates wine bar near some notable cocktail bars.

It’s small. Really small.It reminds of the lower east side in New York, low lit and almost friendly. The stools near the bar are where we perch and go to work on a bottle, then another, then cocktails. Most of the menu is ordered; delivered as and when it’s ready, most of it really excellent, all of it value. Skewers of sweet glazed chicken yakitori with a raw egg yolk to break and dress with first up. If you’re wondering what came first the answer is me. Bread, perfect bread, with whipped butter and crisped chicken skin, and more of that bread toasted with bulbs of fatty burrata and romesco sauce which kisses you like it hasn’t seen your face in years.

There’s the sweetest, dreamiest crab which is merely flotsam for the butter sauce it finds itself in. It’s a genuine moment, along with the yakitori, and needs more bread to ensure the shell goes back to the kitchen ready for use immediately again. Prawn toast has the kind of produce only Scotland has, and I’m not sure it needs the smoked tuna flakes when the shellfish is so spectacular. There’s aubergine katsu, and cheese croquettes with truffle. It’s all excellent, but I think I mentioned that before. Even better when most dishes sit around a tenner. It’s a wine bar that the city can be extremely proud of.

Dessert is another portion of the yakitori — yes, it is that good — and more cocktails. Afterwards the bars of Edinburgh are hit in a big way; Lucky Liquor Co, Bramble, and finally Panda and Sons. Back to the hotel for coffee old fashioned and, I think, more wine overlooking the castle, but don’t quote me on that. If you are going to do this very beautiful city, then please give it the respect it deserves. Make sure Noto is on that list, it’s total class.