REVIEW: Hotel Du Vin Bistro Edinburgh
over 1 year AGOAdministrator
Did you know that the Hotel Du Vin in Edinburgh was in days past a lunatic asylum? Aptly named ‘Bedlam’! Always a good conversation starter when visiting the hotel I think. It’s synonymous with many of the buildings of old that now bear the Hotel Du Vin or Malmaison brand. In fact, the Malmaison in Edinburgh used to be a, shall we say, house of ill repute! Anyway, here endeth the history lesson. We were there on Wednesday night to check out the new Spring menu, and as it was a sunny and warm(ish) evening, we decided to eat al fresco and make the most of Edinburgh’s sporadic summer!
As you would expect from the Hotel Du Vin, the menu is very French. Many words that I do not understand but are familiar enough with that I was able to choose without having to put the waiter on the spot. So, when in France, order snails as a starter and go on from there. Escargot A La Bourguignonne in Garlic & Parsley Butter. Followed by Sole Meuniere, Caper & Parsley Beurre Noisette, and to finish off, Tarte au Citron and Raspberry Sorbet. Natalie chose the Severn & Wye Smoked Salmon with a chopped garnish of Soft Boiled Egg, Cornichons, Parsley and Red Onion to start, a main of Lamb Gigot with Minted Jersey Royals and a classic Tarte Tatin with Crème Normande to finish.
I love snails! Those of you who have tried them will most likely agree with me. Presented beautifully in a snail dish with clamps and a snail fork, they looked very appetising. I ordered twelve (you can order six), so Natalie and I could share. The texture of snails is probably what puts people off, however, I am a fan and these snails were quite tasty. Perhaps lacking a touch in seasoning, but I am quite fussy about that, so I will put that down to personal taste. There was plenty of parsley butter which was mopped up by the freshly baked bread we had at the table. A very good start.
Sole is one of my favourite fish. Subtle in flavour, but if you have a nice fresh fish and accompany it well, then it is very good eating. The sole at Hotel Du Vin is a triumph. Beautifully cooked and a soft but delightful flavour, brought to life by the sharpness of the capers and balanced with the salty parsley beurre noisette. The fish combed off the bone and every mouthful was accompanied with a warm feeling of satisfaction. I ordered a side of Duck Fat Pommes Frites covered with Pancetta and Gruyère. I have to be honest I was a little disappointed, the chips were perfectly cooked, however the almost token drop of gruyere and light sprinkling of pancetta was a little half-hearted. Do not let that sway you though, every good fish needs some chips and they were perfect. Beautifully crunchy to add a little bite to what is a very delicate fish.
I am not a big dessert person, my sweet tooth has faded with age, but I do like a good tarte! Well the tarte at Hotel Du Vin was not good, it was GREAT! So deliciously lemony and zesty with a perfectly firm base to bite into. The sweet and tangy raspberry sorbet was equally powerful in its punch, and they collided together to bring joy to the palate and leave you wanting to lick the plate! If Natalie hadn’t been there I would have! What a wonderful end to the meal. It looked stunning too and that is important, I don’t care what anyone says, how your food looks has an impact on how it tastes.
In summary, yes there were a few minor gripes, but all in all I really enjoyed my meal, and I was very happy with what I chose. I have to mention our young waiter. He was brilliant! When I dine out, I am not just looking for a good meal, I want to enjoy the whole dining experience and our waiter added much to that, bravo! As the evenings get warmer I can see the outdoor space being very popular, and so it should be. We will be back soon.
Hotel Du Vin in Edinburgh: https://www.hotelduvin.com/locations/edinburgh
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