Rising to the occasion: fine dining at Number One
Nicky Howden finds some things really do get better with age
If you’re looking for a special occasion restaurant in the capital, few places compare to the culinary landmark that is Number One, The Balmoral’s Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant.
So what makes a table here one of the hottest in town 21 years since it first opened its doors? It all starts with the A-list treatment each and every guest receives from the moment they step through the doors. First impressions count and Number One’s sophisticated and luxurious surroundings are accompanied by a refreshingly warm atmosphere and meticulous attention to detail leaving you in no doubt you’ve arrived somewhere very special indeed.
It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to describing the food because every single element is divine
Before taking our seats for dinner, we opt for drinks in the bar area where we can take some time to look over the menu (priced at £85 for three courses) over a plate of picture-perfect gourmet canapes -a delicious preview of what’s to follow. Executive Chef Jeff Bland, who’s been at the helm of Number One since its inception, places an emphasis on creative dishes using only the finest and freshest Scottish ingredients. It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to describing the food because every single element is divine –even the bread (homemade, naturally) holds its own.
We begin with a delectable Amuse Bouche of West Coast crab, avocado and mango followed by an elegant starter of hand-dived Dingwall scallop, Jerusalem artichoke, bacon and tarragon –a moreish blend of textures and complementary tastes. For mains, there are meaty fillets of John Dory with fennel, langoustine, tomato compote and saffron and the most succulent fillet of Tweed Valley Beef with braised short rib and Horseradish Salsify. Both are perfectly sized, beautifully presented and bursting with flavour. The wine, handpicked by our sommelier for the evening is perfectly matched to each course and desserts keep up the high standards.
There’s also a whole trolley full of Scottish and French cheeses but don’t get carried away. You’ll want to leave room for the homemade Petit Fours which are a sensational finish to an exquisite meal. Number One delivers on everything, from the luxe surroundings and atmospheric lighting to world class cuisine and excellent service. Go, treat yourself and enjoy a superb culinary experience.
The Balmoral, 1 Princes St, EH2 2EQ, Tel: 0131 557 6727, roccofortehotels.com