Dinner at The Pompadour by Galvin
As the news broke that chef Daniel Ashmore had taken the helm of The Pompadour by Galvin, we sent Amy Falconer along to the restaurant to see what all the fuss was about…
Walking in to “The Caley” is always a wonderful, spirit-lifting experience. None more so when you climb the grand split staircase up to The Pompadour to be met with crisp white cotton laid tables, impeccable decor and the oh-so-grand windows that capture the perfect snapshot of Edinburgh Castle.
Settling down in our seats we were greeted with a decadent amuse-bouche which had heady notes of smoked fish and pickled cucumber. Next up an extremely knowledgeable sommelier recommended the perfect glass of red wine; Château de Raousset Morgon, Beaujolais, France, 2015, £7.50 a glass, while we pondered the leather-bound menu. I chose to start with roast squab pigeon, hazelnut spaetzli and crushed broad beans with a gin and juniper consommé, while my dining partner chose the lasagne of North Berwick crab, beurre nantais (main image). The pigeon was oh-so-tender, cooked medium rare and had a light, delicate flavour which paired perfectly with the crystal-clear consommé and fresh broad beans. Spaetzli was a new texture for me and with its hazelnut tones it rounded the dish off nicely. My partner’s crab lasagne was pretty as a picture – a perfect stack of clean, cream layers peppered with gorgeous, green flecks of chives and drenched in the buttery and rich but equally delicate sauce. We were off to a very good start.
Our main courses - sirloin of Cumbrian beef, Waye Valley asparagus, persillade of morels and Parisienne potato for me, and roast Herdwick lamb loin, pea puree, Chantenay carrots and grellot onions for him - arrived to gasps as we surveyed each other’s plates and marvelled at the colours and presentation. My beef dish was stunning. The ingredients oozed flavour and quality. If I had to pick fault it would be that the asparagus was pureed so lost the satisfying crunch but that would be it. My partner’s lamb dish packed a huge punch in the presentation stakes; blush pink lamb, bright orange carrots and vibrant green peas, and it delivered an equally strong punch in the taste test too.
To round things off, we ordered another glass of wine and I chose (as I always do) the chocolate option. This was a hazelnut, caramel and chocolate “bar” with hazelnut ice cream, and my partner opted for tastings of the French and British artisan cheeses from the trolley that he’d eyed up as soon as we walked in the restaurant (pictured above). I must say that although I’m not normally a dessert person, that this was hands down the best course. There’s something about hazelnut that lets you enjoy a rich, chocolatey flavour but doesn’t knock you out with its richness. It was divine. I barely took any notice of my partner, equally as happy with his five cheeses and accompaniments, but he assured me they were all delightful and just the ticket to end our exquisite meal.
Enjoy three courses at the Pompadour by Galvin for £65 per person.
The Pompadour by Galvin, Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, Princes St, Edinburgh, EH1 2AB, Tel: 0131 222 8888, www.waldorfastoriaedinburgh.com