I have a confession. I’ve been having a love affair with Paris ever since I visited what I can only describe as an eclectic and colourful city. The style, the architecture, the food, the culture, the wine and (did I mention) the food combine together to create a fantastic retreat. Unfortunately we can’t all jet off every other weekend to experience Paris’s charm and culinary prowess.
However fear not. The Galvin Brasserie de Luxe in Edinburgh’s West End is a welcome new edition to the capital’s eating scene. The second of the distinct restaurants by Chris and Jeff Galvin in their Autumn 2012 Scottish debut, is located on the ground floor of The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel and has been styled very much as you would expect a Parisian brasserie to be. The music, the décor and the staff create an atmosphere, which transports you to Paris, without having to splash out on the airfare.
My dinner date, Geoff (aka my chief taster) and I ate at 6.30pm on a Sunday. Perhaps we were early but I did notice it was quiet for a bank holiday weekend. Our waiter however cleverly positioned us to ensure this made no difference, providing us with seats that would make for an intimate dining experience. And it worked. We were also evidently early bird diners as we concluded this restaurant has an 8pm watershed and came to life thereafter.
Now for the food. To start with I took a trip down memory lane to revisit my first trip to Paris and opted for six Escargots Bourguignon (£9.50). Each perfectly cooked and swimming in just the right amount of garlic butter. Geoff kicked off his dinner with a crab lasagne (£11.50). Although small to the naked eye, the flavours were big and bold and the pasta melted in your mouth.
Our mains where also a huge hit for our palates and the portion sizes also proved satisfying. Geoff’s medium cooked steak – Grilled Entrecote, Pommes Anna, Sauce Choron (£26.50), although not the cheapest option on the menu, was cooked perfectly and was succulent and tender.
For my main I sampled the fillet of salmon (£14.50), which was served pink with a beautiful crispy skin on top that got the seal of approval from me. It was served alongside a bed of gnocchi, which again melted in your mouth as did the brown shrimp. Our side of broccoli was a little on the cool side, however we were talking a lot!
Although nearing capacity, there was still room for dessert and the choice was impressive. Our waitress recommended the passion fruit soufflé and chocolate ice cream (£7.50). Curiosity got the better of Geoff and he went with her recommendation. Thankfully he wasn’t disappointed. The soufflé was very light but packed full of flavour and although the chocolate ice cream was a little too rich for me it complemented the soufflé very nicely and there were no complaints from the chief taster! My dessert, Œuf A La Neige, Praline Rose the (£5.50) was also a triumph. Think gooey meringue. On one hand you got the taste of light fluffy clouds and then the crunch of the nuts on top. It not only looked very pretty but it also created a real taste sensation in my mouth.
Our conclusions, although dimly lit, which made reading the menu slightly tricky and a little pricey, what was delivered was a realistic Parisian feast cooked with passion and care. The price therefore is worth it. I believe this is one gastronomic destination not to be missed, whether you’re visiting Edinburgh or you just fancy a well-executed lunch or dinner, which has been cooked with a touch of class.
Galvin Brasserie de Luxe
The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Edinburgh,
Edinburgh, EH1 2AB.
Tel: 0131 222 8988