16th October 2015 6.30pm
Amarone, situated on the corner of George Street and St Andrew Square, was taking part in the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival where participating restaurants offered lunch for £15 or dinner for £25. I went with fellow foodies Emma from The Edinbug and Ann from A Quirky Lifestyle. Upon arrival it was clear to see that this place was popular. Whilst it is a rather large dining space, it was still packed to the rafters early on a Friday evening. The staff at the front of house knew we needed the festival menu without asking, which was good to see. We got some drinks ordered. Both Ann and I decided to try some of the cocktails on offer. I went for a raspberry daiquiri and Ann a passionfruit mojito. They were nicely done and very pleasant to drink.
There was a reasonable choice on festival menu. I went for chicken liver parfait with apple and thyme chutney and accompanied by crostini, followed by pizza salame piccante. Ann went for the same starter and halibut with spinach, mushrooms and pine nuts for her main. Emma went for salada caprese followed by chicken with a basic cream, pancetta and mushroom sauce with sautéed potatoes.
The starters came out at lightning speed but when thinking about it, much of these can be pre-prepared so I wasn’t overly concerned. The parfait was a very generous portion. It was smooth and had a good balance of flavour. It was also great to see lots of crostini for it, which it a pleasant surprise as I find with parfait I either had to leave some as there is too much for the bread provided or I eat it on its own. However, because of the size, it did mean it was a bit filling for a starter (not that it stopped me). The chutney was superb and worked really well. It perked up the parfait so it was more interesting. The wafting smell of the caprese was tempting from the other side of the table. That was also fully enjoyed.
The mains came out at a more usual speed. My pizza was a largish size and was smothered in rocket. The cheese was great and the salami was almost juicy with taste. Unfortunately the crust was too dry and hard to cut, which also spread to a bit of the pizza base but to be fair that’s often the case with pizza, particularly when fired in an oven (which can be seen in the dining area of the restaurant). Ann’s halibut was again a generous size, so much so that she struggled to eat it. However, she liked what she did eat. Emma’s chicken looked tasty and devoured as she had gone for a sensible lighter option for her starter.
Finally we had dessert. The waitress didn’t need reminding that we were on the festival menu and brought us the correct option. Ann and I both went for the iced chocolate and praline semi freddo. Emma went for the honey and ginger cheesecake. Both desserts were beautifully if simply presented. Whilst I enjoyed the semifreddo, the flavouring meant that the texture was grainy rather than fully smooth, which didn’t really work for me. That didn’t take away from the flavour itself though, which was good. There was a cute tuille balanced on top. Emma’s cheesecake looked beautiful and I was a little jealous of it.
The venue was nicely decorated but as it was large it did mean it was quite noisy when full and made it a little difficult to talk but at the same time it gave what could have been a cavernous venue some atmosphere. Overall, Amarone offered a pleasant dinner.
Food – 7.5/10
Service – 7.5/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 8/10
Overall – 30/40
Cost £95 for 3 x 3 course meals. 2 cocktails and 1 glass of wine
NOTE – Photos of the dinner were taken by Emma on a professional camera so you may be able to see better shots on her blog.