Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh
Edinburgh has more than its fair share of fine-dining establishments and, at the moment, there are some insanely good deals to be found. AA Rosette-winning The Restaurant at the Bonham is offering three courses and wine for just £23.50 per head. How can we resist?
Situated in a quiet backwater of the West End, the restaurant proves to be a pleasant environment in which to eat, quite busy when we arrive at just after eight pm but pleasantly so. The staff are welcoming and attentive and the oddly titled ‘boozy snoozy’ menu offers a choice of four dishes in each section.
For starters, Susan samples the organic beetroot Soup with goat cheese crouton. This is splendid; the soup is a thick deep red and deliciously sweet, the croutons making a crunchy, savoury contrast. I have the poached Egg with roasted onion consommé, lemon thyme and smoked duck. The egg is perfectly cooked and, an important point, the yolk when broken, cascades over the crispy, savoury accompaniment, offering all the flavours of a traditional fried breakfast with none of the grease. An excellent start.
The main courses are, if anything, even more assured. Susan’s Hake fillet is as light as you could possibly hope for, virtually melting in the mouth. It is accompanied by fennel croquettes and dressed with a richly fishy shellfish sauce. My Beef is also spot on, two generously sized onglet steaks, served medium rare and mouthwateringly succulent, dressed with a sweet onion purée and with a layered Pomme Anna on the side. The meat is smothered in a tangy bourguignon sauce, with an intriguing tang of aniseed.
We add a couple of side dishes at £3.50 a pop: a rocket and parmesan salad and – mostly because we are intrigued – stir fry cauliflower rice with pancetta. This is a little revelation. We’re always being urged to substitute cauliflower for rice in order to save calories and, I have to confess, it’s never sounded particularly appealing, but this works brilliantly and it’s something we’ll definitely be trying at home.
And so to puds. Susan has the white chocolate and cranberry bread and butter pudding, which is endearingly gooey – while I opt for an old favourite, sticky toffee pudding, this version much lighter than the norm, which is a blessing because, by now, even I am getting pretty full. Both sweets are served with scoops of intensely flavoured vanilla ice cream and make a satisfying conclusion to the meal.
The bottle of house white that accompanies the meal is perfectly acceptable and, all things considered, this would still be impressive at twice the price. If you’re around Edinburgh, you’d be crazy not to try this offer. Get in there now before somebody decides that they should probably be charging more.