Princes Street, Edinburgh
Situated in Edinburgh’s famous Caledonian hotel, the Galvin brothers’ Pompadour restaurant is a real delight. We’re here because… well, because, why not? We have family visiting, and we want to give them a treat. And a jolly lovely treat it turns out to be.
We’re eating from the seasonal menu, which is £45 for three courses – and well worth every penny. To start, I opt for the salad of poached winter fruits, speck and toasted macadamia nuts. It’s a triumph: sweet and salty and bursting with flavour. Philip has the lasagne of North Berwick crab with beurre nantaise, which is the chef’s signature dish. It’s wonderfully aromatic and so light it virtually melts in the mouth.
Next up, the main courses. I have the corn fed chicken breast, with pommes mouuseline, roast chervil root and purple sprouting broccoli. This is quite simply the best chicken dish I’ve ever tasted; it’s almost ridiculously delicious. I didn’t know chicken could be quite so… chickeny. And the accompaniments are perfect too. Philip has the haunch and faggot of venison, with wild mushrooms, pommes Anna, red cabbage and charred onion, which, served pink, is as rich and tender as can be. He’s a very happy man. One of our guests samples the roast fillet of Peterhead sea bream, with pearl barley kedgeree and a confit egg yolk; she pronounces it ‘delicious’ too.
Thankfully, this isn’t one of those restaurants where they try to get us through quickly, so that they can offer our table to the next set of diners in the queue. We’re allowed to progress slowly, which means that we can take a breather before pudding, and enjoy the rather pleasant New Zealand sauvignon blanc we’ve chosen to accompany our meal. And I’m glad of this, because the puddings are lovely. I have the salted Valrhona dulce chocolate crémeaux, with almonds, prunes and rum ice cream, and it’s gorgeously reminiscent of my starter, with its salty-sweet flavours and lightness of touch. Philip goes for the classic apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream, which is perfectly executed too.
Would we come back again? Of course we would. The food is faultless, and the service impeccable.