A decadent Sunday lunch at The Pompadour
Laura Wood discovers that Sunday is the day of fine dining...
"I’ve never properly been inside the Caley,” proclaims my almost 70-year-old mother as we enter the revolving doors and into the foyer of the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian. She’s Edinburgh born and bred and as familiar with the landmark building as most locals, but she’s probably not alone in her statement.
So, it’s a rare and special occasion that we find ourselves being shown to our table in the hotel’s first floor fine dining restaurant, The Pompadour by Galvin. If it weren’t for the view of the castle, we could have been transported back to a dining room in the Palace of Versailles.
We’re here for Sunday lunch; no ordinary Sunday lunch either. At The Pompadour, opening for lunch on Sundays is a new thing. It’s also a fine dining affair and a brilliant opportunity for a taster of the great things that come out of this kitchen. Spearheaded by Michelin star chefs the Galvin brothers and created by head chef Dan Ashmore, lunch is a very reasonable fixed price of £29.50 for three courses from a select menu – with amuse bouche, canapes and a pre order Bloody Mary also included. And it’s good, in its entirety.
The food is cooked with a confidence that lets the ingredients do the talking
The food is French-inspired and cooked with a confidence that lets the ingredients do the talking. A bright green plate of wild garlic risotto and Burford Brown egg tastes much better than it looks. North Berwick crab and squid linguine is enjoyed with a very lovely, sommelier recommended Treixadura from Ribeiro. For mains, a slow cooked Cumbrian pork belly is balanced with hispi cabbage and butterbeans, and the plentiful rump of Perthshire beef with fondant potato and roast carrot (it is Sunday after all) is beef at its best. Lunch on this day successfully takes mum out of her comfort zone and into a culinary world of new flavours, ingredients and presentation; it takes me straight back to my happy place from first mouthful to the last spoonful of a sublime salted caramel souffle.
The price point, along with the venue, service and food makes the Pompadour by Galvin a very fine option for Sunday lunch. It may not be my regular haunt but it’s one I’d happily return to with another special occasion in mind, or when I feel like Sunday should be a day for fine dining.
Lunch served Sundays 1-3pm. The Caledonian, Princes St, EH1 2AB, Tel: 0131 222 8975, waldorfastoriaedinburgh.com