Review: Galvin Brasserie de Luxe
he news that the famous chef-restaurant duo, the Galvin brothers, had chosen Edinburgh as their first venture outside of London, caused a ripple of excitement across the capital’s food and drink scene last September. Located in the iconic Caledonian Hotel, which has recently undergone a £24 million refurbishment, the Galvin Brasserie de Luxe is a little piece of Paris in the heart of Scotland.
Enter into the brasserie and cross the continent to France, where a refined, sophisticated and elegant dining experience awaits. Simple, immaculate design combines with soft lighting and candlelit tables, to give a cosmopolitan and intimate ambiance. Based on the railway hotel restaurants of the past, the brasserie is unlike anything else the city has to offer. The main focal point is a large circular bar in the centre, complete with crustacean showcase, where you can choose to drink or dine.
The menu is simple, fuss free and mainly in French. Luckily, the staff know what they’re talking about and are happy to translate, which makes for a more enjoyable read of what’s on offer. The brasserie sources all its meat locally, while the escargots and boudin noir (the French equivalent of black pudding) are sent over from Paris on a weekly basis. We were spoilt for choice, but eventually reached a decision.
To start I had a delectable Salad of Endive, Roquefort and Caramelized Walnuts (£7.50) – a perfectly balanced dish that left nothing to desire. My dining companion went for a Vichyssoise of Smoked Haddock (£5.50), which is a French take on Cullen Skink. Smooth, flavoursome and an instant hit.
I followed with Poulet Rôti Forestiѐre with Pommes Cocotte (£15.50)- chicken breast with bacon lardons, mushrooms, baby roast potatoes and shallots. The chicken was cooked to perfection- so tender and juicy it was chicken like I had never experienced before. My partner opted for the Special of the Day, Braised Pheasant (£13.50), which came with bacon lardons, garlic sausage, morteaux sausages, and dry cured ham on a bed of lentils, carrots, leeks and button onions. Bursting with smoky flavour, every mouthful was truly savoured.
The true pièce de résistance, however, was dessert. Usually more of a starter and main girl myself, to find a sweet that quite literally blew my mind is no mean feat. It was the Marquise au Chocolat (£6.50), consisting of a thin slab of chocolate which could only be likened to a cross between a cake and a fondant. Its rich, dense and bitter flavour was counteracted by the freshest, lightest and most delicious mint ice-cream, accompanied by a drizzle of zesty citrus syrup. The three flavours together were something divine.
The Galvin Brasserie de Luxe did not disappoint. Transport yourself out of this country, and your taste buds out of this world with their authentic, rustic cuisine. It certainly has that ‘je ne sais quoi’.