Honey Poached Peach and Apricot - Le Roi Fou

Le Roi Fou

4th August 2017 6pm

http://leroifou.com/

Le Roi Fou can be found just off Broughton Street. Unassuming from the front, this French restaurant is understatedly elegant on the inside. We were seated at the back of the restaurant, which gave it a cosy feel. We were given a lovely little amuse bouche, whilst looking at the menus, which was essentially made from chickpea flour and tasted amazing. This was served with a dip which was delicious. We also got some very warm bread to dip in oil too. We were faced with three different menus; a pre-theatre, an a la carte and a tasting menu. We changed our mind several times but in the end chose the a la carte menu to order from. I went for the steak tartare as a starter (also available as a main) and then liver with bacon for my main. My dining companion chose the spicy Caribbean fish soup to start followed by the braised globe artichoke for her main.

The starters were a healthy size, which I was a little surprised at (in a good way) as I was expecting a small portion considering the style of the restaurant. I do like having my tartare with the egg yolk presented on top, which wasn’t the case here, but it really made no difference as the dish was fully of zing and bite. I loved every mouthful of it. It was served with salad leaves and crispbreads and I’m pleased to report that the crispbreads were just thick enough to take the weight of the tartare. Thumbs up! On the other side of the table, the spicy soup was not very spicy, which led to a small level of disappointment. However, it was still considered a lovely soup. This also came with crispbreads to dunk in, should you so wish.

The mains were also a great size. My liver was plentiful and very soft. However, there was a piece that was thicker at one end and that bit tasted a little underdone (but not enough to put me off eating that too!). The bacon was incredibly crispy but not burnt. The chimichurri was subtle and worked with the dish and the red wine sauce pulled it all together. I had ordered a side of girolles with sugar snap peas as I felt I was overdoing it on the meat with my dish choices. These went really well with the liver and the other small amount of greens on the dish. I polished off the lot. Across from me, my friend was delighting in the artichoke. This came with a poached duck egg, greens and girolle mushrooms. She had ordered a side of fries but found that they weren’t really needed, so ate as many as she could fit in but found she didn’t make much of a dint in the bowl.

We decided to give dessert a go. My stuffed friend chose the light option of a lemon sorbet with came with a shot of gin. I would have gone for that but decided to try the honey poached peach and apricot. My dessert ended up also being quite large so I struggled to finish it. However, the fruit was lovely. It was supplemented with gooseberries as some other red berry I couldn’t identify. On top was a pistachio crumble and then a scoop of crème fraiche ice cream. I was mildly surprised that the fruit was warm as the ice cream scoop was not melting. What magic was this? It was simply sitting in the crumble rather than the warm fruit. My friend found the sorbet tart but refreshing. The shot of gin was generous and seemed larger than a standard shot but could be the optical illusion of the chosen glass.

Overall we thought Le Roi Fou was a nice addition to the Edinburgh restaurant scene. The staff were incredibly helpful and friendly without being intrusive. I think we’ll be back to try the tasting menu.

Food – 8/10
Service – 10/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Definitely

Cost £76 for two three course meals and a glass of wine

La Petite Mort

La Petite Mort

4th May 2017 7pm

www.lapetitemortedinburgh.co.uk

Several of my friends and I had been eyeing up La Petite Mort for some time. Situated in Tollcross, handily around the corner from the Kings Theatre, La Petite Mort, from the outside, is an understated affair but on the inside feels more grand in its own way. The menu isn’t long but is varied enough that everyone should find something they like (or like me, want absolutely everything on the menu). I opted for the crab mascarpone and chive parcels, followed by sun dried tomato crusted cod fillet. Around the table, others chose the assiette of beetroot and the leek wrapped duck for their starters, and selected roast rump of lamb, roast pork belly and open veg pie for their mains. Our host/waiter for the evening was excellent, coping with our enthusiasm with grace and humour. We also ordered a round of cocktails which were divine and very reasonably priced.

Our starters all looked very elegant on arrival. My crab mascarpone and chive parcel was actually singular rather than the plural advertised but was of a good size. The flavour was fresh but mildly tainted by a little bit of crab shell, which was the only downside I encountered. The breaded quails egg was beautiful, with the yolk rich and runny. I adored the crayfish popcorn, which was not greasy in the slightest and still allowed the crayfish to sing. The radish salad was accompanied by a pretty saffron mayo which brought the whole dish together. Another friend who also had this dish had nothing but praise for it. Around the table, the beetroot dish was also producing smiling faces. The beetroot was given a multitude of treatments by the chef and accompanied by some delicious goats cheese. The leek wrapped duck was a terrine, which had a port and prune puree dotted along the side for some moistness. This dish had great flavour. All in all, a successful round of food.

The mains came out quite quickly after the starters. There was no doubt that the roast pork belly was the most visually impressive dish. It was probably the largest of all the mains too. However, firstly, apologies that the photo I took of my cod did not turn out, so I will do my best to describe it well. The fish itself was perfectly cooked and flaked effortlessly. On top of the fish was a vivid sun dried tomato crust, which complemented the fish well. The fish sat on top of a sweet potato fondant, which melted in the mouth. There was also a black sesame sphere, which had a mouse like consistency and coated with the elegant seeds. This was sat atop some delicious greenery. The dish was light and elegant without being too fussy. Next to me, a friend was tucking into the open veg pie. She excitedly got stuck into the beetroot, spring onions, roasted carrots and artichoke that sat underneath a puff pastry crust, which was cut into two large triangles. The roast garlic mayo and pea puree topped it off nicely. A substantial vegetarian dish. Across the table, the lamb was beautifully cooked. The friend eating this dish really couldn’t fault it, describing it as ‘flavoursome’. The meat had a pink glow to it and sat atop butternut puree and asparagus, with beetroot dauphinoise potatoes on the side. The mint jus was generous but at the same time not overwhelming the plate. Lastly, the remaining two diners were gorging themselves on the roast pork belly. The meat itself was a giant hunk which sat on a black pudding and basil mashed potato. The mash had really good taste and texture. Alongside the meat was a smoked pork collar croquette which the pair of them raved about. Neither of them could believe just how much flavour had been packed into the croquette. The greens were provided in the form of kale and the whole lot was topped with a honey and apple jus. The crackling really was made exceptionally well. You could hear the pair of them crunching on it. However, sadly one of them who had a slightly susceptible tooth managed to break said tooth on it. This did not deter her enjoyment of the dish but perhaps those with more delicate mouths might want to pick a different option. She still thought it was a cracking (!) dish. It did send us into a fit of hysterics though as we worked our way through similar puns, so apologies to any of the other diners we may have disrupted.

We had a little time to let our food go down before ordering desserts. All of us, except the less enthusiastic dessert eater, immediately went for the salted caramel baked alaska. The other friend felt she wouldn’t be able to fit in the cheese (although it really is at a reasonable price), so went for the slightly lighter passionfruit bavarois. The baked alaska was impressive on arrival. The meringue was superbly toasted, with a little dehydrated apple crisp placed at the top. The ice cream inside was still perfectly set and underneath was a small disc of sponge. This was all delicious. On the side was some heavenly honeycomb, which dissolved on the tongue. Some sauce and fruit scattered across the plate added balance. We all enjoyed this dish. The bavarois was also good, with small pieces of meringue placed around it. Next to the bavarois was a elderflower and summer berries jelly which was light and refreshing.

I think we all thoroughly enjoyed our meal, even if there were a couple of mishaps along the way. I think you’ll see from my scoring below that this is somewhere really quite lovely and very much worth a visit.

Food – 8.5/10
Service – 9.5/10
Atmosphere – 8.5/10
Value – 9.5/10

Overall – 36/40

Would I eat here again? Most definitely.

£216 for 5 starters, mains and desserts, 5 cocktails and two bottles of wine

Home

Home

29th March 2017 6.15pm

http://home-restaurant.co.uk/

A joint venture from Maison Bleue and Social Bite and known through the highly publicised visit by Leonardo Di Caprio at the end of last year, we popped in to Home to see what they had to offer. We’d previously visited Maison Bleue so knew we shouldn’t be disappointed. Home offers great value lunch and early evening menus as well as a reasonably priced banquet (3 course) menu and the standard a la carte option. We decided to go with the early evening menu, offering two courses for £14.95. I went for the surprise calamari followed by the chicken kemia with merguez sausage. My friend chose haggis balls followed by chicken tagine.

We were given bread and dipping oils whilst we waited for our starters. Our side plates were beautiful mis-matched china. Our table also had a pen and a little ‘pay it forward’ card, explaining the idea and suggesting prices for paying forward from a coffee (£2) up to dinner for two (£20). You can also donate more should you wish and you can also use gift aid too. Just complete this in time for when you ask for the bill and it’ll get added on.

The starters came quite quickly. My calamari surprise looked great and was served in a small skillet. I guess the surprise was that it was served on a bed of peppers and onions. The calamari was cooked perfectly and the batter was seasoned beautifully. The peppers and onions were delicious and the whole lot came together wonderfully. On the other side of the table, ooohs and aaaahs were being directed at the haggis balls They were coated in a beer batter and were served with clapshot tatties and a whisky sauce. They were gone within an instant (well that’s how it seemed) which was a testament to how good they were.

The mains were also speedily presented. My chicken was delivered on skewers, with the sausages, couscous, checkchouka ratatouille and salad on the side. Sadly, my chicken was over cooked and dry. If there had been a sauce it may have been less noticeable but as it was, it made it a little hard going. The sausages were gorgeous and the rest of the dish was great, so the chicken was a bit of a shame. On the other side of the table the tagine was brought in the traditional dish. Inside, the meal wasn’t attractive looking but was beautiful. My friend seriously could not fault it. The tagine came with peas, artichokes and preserved lemons with a side of couscous. For those who don’t like meat on the bone, this won’t be for you.

We enjoyed our time at Home (ignoring the dry chicken). The staff were friendly and the service was quick. We paid forward a dinner for two. We recommend the tagine!

Food – 8/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8.5/10

Overall – 33.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yes but would pick a different main

Cost £53 for two early evening 2 course deals, one glass of wine plus a donation of £20.

Fillet Steak - Cote

Côte Brasserie

3rd March 2017 7.30pm

www.cote-restaurants.co.uk/cote/restaurant/details/edinburgh

Côte was bustling on our visit but this French Brasserie had a relaxed feel. We sat in the front part of the restaurant but the place goes back quite a long way, so the relatively small restaurant front is deceptive. Drinks were ordered and we decided what to eat. I went for the steak tartare (regular readers will not be surprised to hear) followed by the lamb shank with a side of carrots. My friends went for the beetroot salad followed by rib eye steak and the chicken liver parfait followed by a fillet steak.

Almost immediately we were given a pea soup, served in a small glass as an amuse bouche. This was a nice surprise. However, we had barely started eating these when our starters arrived, which was a bit odd. So we finished our soup whilst our starters were sitting in front of us. My tartare came with two nice pieces of bread and the tartare itself was a great texture and tasted good. The capers and cornichons were zingy. I would have preferred to have had the egg on top rather than mixed in though as somehow the richness that the yolk brings was a little lost. I was given Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce to put on my tartare too. I can’t make up my mind whether that was good so it could be adjusted to my preference or whether this was just because the chef couldn’t commit to how the tartare should taste. The beetroot salad looked beautiful and came with hazelnuts and a crème fraiche and goats cheese dressing. The parfait was going down a storm (my photo is too poor for this review). This came in a pot, with two slices of brioche and a spiced apple chutney. The only complaint that there was too much parfait to finish. It was certainly a starter I had a little envy over.

Onto the mains. One steak has been ordered with peppercorn sauce and one with béarnaise but it turned out that both arrived with peppercorn sauce (luckily in a tiny jug). When we asked the waiter to fix this he found out that the kitchen had run out of béarnaise. This is a little worrying as the sauce has a simple ingredient list so they shouldn’t run out. Additionally, why didn’t the kitchen communicate this to the waiter at the time of ordering? My friend had the option of changing her sauce for another but in the end decided to stick with the peppercorn. My side order of carrots also had to be chased. Our waiter was good and ran around for us but it seemed not to be his fault. Anyway, once we finally got to eating our mains, we really enjoyed them. My lamb shank was tender and fell off the bone. The accompanying mustard potato purée was nice although perhaps a smidgen salty for my palate but I would imagine would be fine for most people. The veal and rosemary sauce was delicious. The carrots were worth waiting for as they had beautiful flavour and still had a lovely firmness about them. The steaks around the table were being thoroughly enjoyed. They both came with salad and frites. Plates were emptied as happy noises emanated from the two of them.

Cote Brasserie

Cote Brasserie

We couldn’t fit in dessert so stuck to coffees and liqueurs. The bill came with an automatic tip on which was a little cheeky considering there was only three of us.

Côte was generally nice but needs to pull its socks up if it’s going to do well in such a competitive dining market.

Food – 7.5/ 10
Service – 6.5/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 7/10

Overall – 29/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe but I am going to definitely leave it for a while

Cost £150 for three starters and mains, a glass of champagne, a glass of blanc de blancs brut, a vodka and cranberry juice, one bottle of red wine, two espressos, two baileys and a Drambuie. This includes an automatic tip

Bistro Provence

NOW CLOSED

15th January 2016 7pm

www.bistroprovence.co.uk

We went to try some French cuisine down by the Shore. Bistro Provence sits happily alongside restaurants such as Kitchin on this strip. Apparently the venue has been a French restaurant in some form for many years. We were warmly welcomed to this restaurant. The staff kindly placed us near a heater as it was freezing outside. The restaurant itself is full of understated hues, with creams and classic French colourings throughout the restaurant and paintings on the walls. Classics were also on the menu, where there seems to be something for everyone. Set prices for two and three courses, with the three course one coming in comfortably under £30 but Bistro Provence also offers a tasting menu if you fancy letting the chef make the choices for you.

Canapes - Bistro Provence

Canapes – Bistro Provence

The menu had a good selection and I had a few choices I was toying with but went for roast pigeon breast followed by seabass. My friend, by coincidence, went for my second choices, roast pepper and chilli panna cotta followed by tagliatelle. Whilst the food was being prepared, we were given a couple of canapés; salmon and cream cheese blinis and a tomato and Comte cheese whirl. As my dining partner is a veggie (and becoming vegan) I had both the salmon ones which were delicious. My dining companion confirmed the pastries were also great and tasted almost like a pizza. We also were given some bread which was lovely.

The starters arrived on slates, which I’m not overly keen on eating from, no matter how nice they look. However, I soon forgot about the plates as I began to eat. My pigeon breast came with a shallot puree and walnuts. The pigeon was perfectly cooked, so it was delicate and soft. The red wine sauce and shallot puree worked very well with it, seemingly bringing out the flavour of the bird. I could have eaten tons of this dish. On the other side of the table, I was keen to hear how the panna cotta was. She said it was less chilli infused which allowed the flavour of the roasted peppers to shine through but maybe a bit more heat wouldn’t have been bad. She did encounter a similar problem to what I often find when I order pate, there is not enough accompanying bread/salad to panna cotta ratio, so a bit of the panna cotta was left. This is difficult to get right though and was really only a very minor niggle.

The mains followed. My fish looked lovely and I couldn’t wait to tuck in. The seabass itself was cooked perfectly. The accompanying mussel and aioli sauce was a real treat. The sweet notes in it made the fish dance on the tongue (not literally of course – that would be weird). The mash was smooth and the chives gave it a lift. The spinach pulled it all together. I’d eat that all again in a heartbeat. The tagliatelle also looked beautiful and almost Spring like. Whilst initially confused where the tomato sauce was, it was placed under the pasta ready to mix through. The pasta itself was delicate and well made. An enjoyable dish according to my friend.

So, dessert was definitely a go-er. My dining partner had been before, loved the crème brûlée so decided to have that again. I went for the bitter chocolate tart with salted caramel ice cream. Neither of us were disappointed. The tart was luxurious and rich but the accompanying fruit sauce drizzled on the slate cut through it to avoid any cloying sensation. The ice cream was light but creamy in equal measure. The crème brûlée was adored just as much the second time. The accompanying honey and almond madeleine was good too. Whilst the dessert was on the larger side, she soldiered on courageously and scoffed the lot!

Bistro Provence was a delightful surprise. I don’t really know what I was expecting but this really made me happy. The food didn’t try to show off but was really good, with no gimmicks. Bear in mind if you like your big portions this might not hit the mark for you but if you like eating all three courses and feel pleasantly full afterwards, this is definitely worth a visit.

Food – 9/10
Atmosphere – 7.5/10
Service – 9/10
Value – 9/10

Overall – 34.5/40

Cost complimentary but likely to be around £55 for two three course meals.

Please note that whilst this meal was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Lisa from Crimson Edge PR for inviting me.

Bistro Provence Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Maison Bleue

24th September 2015 6pm

http://maisonbleuerestaurant.com/

Bedouin feast - Maison Bleue

Bedouin feast – Maison Bleue

Earlier in the year I went to the relaunch of Maison Bleue and wrote a mini review. Five months later, I have finally had time to go back and try the bedouin feast they offer and write a proper, full review. The feast must be booked at least 24 hours in advance as the meat is slow cooked. We were welcomed by friendly staff and offered a seat whilst we waited for our table to be prepared (as we had arrived a little early). We were offered drinks and a short while later we were taken to our table, on the first floor of the restaurant. The restaurant still had a great feel about it, even without the PR buzz. Our table looked out onto Victoria Street, which was a nice bonus. We were offered the choice of ordering additional starters but we decided just to wait for the feast to arrive. Luckily the staff did say the feast was large. Bread and dipping oil was placed on the table for us to eat whilst we waited.

Salad - Maison Bleue

Salad – Maison Bleue

There were four of us for the feast but as the food came out, it became apparent that there was enough food for at least six. One platter was full of lamb which was served on a bed of salad and chillis. The chef prepared some off the bone and some on, which is handy if you have someone in the group who struggles with bones in meat. That being said, the meat fell off the bone with a gentle nudge of a spoon. A further tray covered in a variety of salads including onions and lentils was also brought (and we had to get an extra table to keep it on as we couldn’t keep both platters on our table). We also got some fruity cous cous and a couple of dishes of sauce. The lamb was juicy and delicious. The salad was fresh, mixed and complimented the meat. The sauce was perfect, full of good fragrant flavours without being hot, which enabled all palates to enjoy the same sauce. All four of us enjoyed the meal. Sadly we couldn’t finish the food but the staff were kind enough to wrap up the leftovers for or us to take away. We got to enjoy the meal for a second day at work for lunch.

Maison Bleue

Maison Bleue

The bedouin feast is a good idea if there is a group of you and you all like the same food. Otherwise, the menu looks like it offers a good range of other dishes which don’t need pre-ordering, which I am sure we will go back to try at some point.

Food – 8/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 9/10
Value – 9/10

Overall – 34/40

Cost £135 for 4 x Bedouin feast, 2 glasses of wine and a vodka and lemonade

Maison Bleue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe St Honore

19th July 2015 – 12.30pm

www.cafesthonore.com

Cafe St Honore

Cafe St Honore

This place had been on my wish list for a while. The cafe has a great reputation so I was looking forward to trying it. We booked on this deal using Bookatable which offered a three course meal for £19.50 which also included a glass of wine. This menu changes daily so there is no guarantee fussy eaters will find something they like! Entering the restaurant it certainly had a very quaint French feel about it and felt incredibly welcoming. I really did feel as if I had been transported to a little Parisian café. Once seated, we then set about looking at the menu. The set menu doesn’t have many options; two per course but the main menu also had a nice range should you want to choose from that. Funnily enough the three of us all opted for the same options of the pork rillette for the starter, battered coley and chips for main and then we opted for the crème fraiche mousse with a compote of blackcurrants and redcurrants for dessert.

Pork rillette - Cafe St Honore

Pork rillette – Cafe St Honore

Bread was already laid out on the table, as was a carafe of water. The butter was soft enough to spread on the bread. I did feel the bread was a touch dry but had an amazing flavour, particularly in the crust. After a short wait the first course arrived and surprisingly it was rather large. The pork arrived in a big slice with an accompanying salad, lardy cake (fruity bread) and red onion jam which was hidden under the salad. Whilst large, the combination worked beautifully. The pork was not too dry and broke easily, the lardy cake had nice fruit pieces in it and was lightly spiced. The red onion jam was sublime and really set the dish off. We were all very happy.

Coley - Cafe St Honore

Coley – Cafe St Honore

We were all already feeling quite full after the starter so it was a good job we had a little break before the main arrived. When it did, again the portion size was very generous, particularly considering the price we were paying. Each plate had two smallish pieces of coley which were lightly battered but managed to have incredible flavour. I note from their menu that the Secret Herb Garden had provided something towards the batter, which might explain it. There will also a small gathering of rustic chips and were too filling for me but still nice. They also came pre-salted. Again there was a nice accompanying salad. The best bit on the plate was a home-made tartare sauce which was chunky, flavoursome, and creamy. If I wasn’t so full I would’ve slathered everything in it. Again my dining companions felt the same way but we all struggled to finish the dish as we were getting so full.

Creme fraiche mousse - Cafe St Honore

Creme fraiche mousse – Cafe St Honore

Saying that we were full, nothing was going to stop us from trying dessert. There was a sweet option and the cheese option and again we all went for the sweet option which was a crème fraiche mousse accompanied by a berry compote. Perhaps not so surprisingly we managed to finish these as it slid down the sides. The berries were zingy, fresh and full of flavour and the mousse was light and creamy and not to sharp. It felt a bit like a lighter version of a panacotta.

Service albeit a touch slow was friendly and helpful, so much so that they added one of the extra glasses of wine to the deal as I had not had a glass myself (and had been offered a soft drink as an alternative).Cafe St Honore is a lovely little place, evoking a Parisian atmosphere. I am looking forward to coming back here again to try the main menu.

Food – 8/10

Service – 8/10

Atmosphere- 8/10

Value 9/10

Overall – 33/40

Cost – £63 for 3 three course meals and wine from the classics menu plus one further glass of wine.

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