Great Places to Eat in Scotland
- L'Escargot Bleu, Broughton Street, Edinburgh
Perhaps it's a legacy of the Auld Alliance, the strong historic, regal and cultural connection between Scotland and France, but Edinburgh is renowned for its wide selection of superb French restaurants. New on the scene is L'Escargot Bleu, the latest venture of Betty Jourjon and Frederic Berkmiller, who also run the very successful Le Petit Paris in the Grassmarket. Located in the quirky, vibrant, multicultural New Town district of Broughton, (surrounded by fashion boutiques, delis, old pubs, gay bars, theatre, cinema, night clubs, art galleries and tattoo parlour), it's in an ideal spot for local residents and city visitors.
Step through the bright blue door of L'Escargot Bleu into a truly authentic French bistro, crammed with small tables for two or four, wooden Bentwood-style chairs and oozing a warm, welcoming ambience; giant Liqueur and Edith Piaf posters on the wall, checked gingham table cloths, Gallic music on the soundtrack and many of the staff are French. You could be forgiven for thinking you had arrived in Paris, Lyon or Nice. Over a glass of Vignon champagne, we study the extensive a la carte menu which changes regularly according to season and fish market.
L'escargots (snails) is obviously a trademark of the bistro and often on the menu. Tonight it is served with fennel, basil and tomato compote, which my partner ordered and quickly devoured. Other starters included Assiette of Charcuterie and Roast Quail while I selected marinated Scottish Salmon - delicate, finely sliced slithers of fish which melted in the mouth.
For main courses, classic dishes such as Bouillabaisse with monkfish, king prawns and mussels or Cotes de Boeuf (for 2). The roast fillet of cod with capers, anchovies and blue cheese sauce was regarded as very tasty, a tongue teasing blend of salty fishy flavours to jazz up the cod. My White Asparagus Risotto was overcooked, (rice pudding style rice with soft diced asparagus - I would have preferred the complete vegetable on top of the risotto), but the Fried Duck egg on top was a masterstroke, with an excellent roquette salad on the side.
To complete the meal, the dessert menu is on the blackboard - Grandma Apple Tart, Crème Brulé and Fromage. We shared a platter of seriously delicious cheese as we finished off our bottle of Moulin d'Arvie house red wine. What more would you want?
See Escargot Bleu Web Site for current menu and prices.
L'Escargot Bleu is at 56A, Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3SA. The telephone number for reservations is 0131 556 1680.
Betty and Fred's bright new L'Escargot Bleu Bistro is an utterly charming, friendly, happy place and was packed out on a Thursday night in May with tables turning over during the evening. Reservations essential. Children welcome. Bon Appetit!
Vivien Devlin. British Guild of Travel Writers
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