We arrived desperately hungover, but impeccably dressed – in search of great cuisine, Victorian splendour and views of Edinburgh Castle. This is the story of a Saturday lunch that cost a small fortune, but was worth every penny.
Float up the Waldorf’s sweeping staircase, and you will happily discover the Pompadour. Its pale green décor and hand-painted wall panels are the domain of acclaimed Michelin star chefs Chris & Jeff Galvin.
Needless to say they do great work, as a stack of accolades and rave reviews clearly suggest. They also offer three distinct ways of enjoying fine dining on a Saturday afternoon:
Option One – three courses, just £29
Option Two – five courses £55. Or with wine pairing £80.
But the one we merrily went for: Option Three – order whatever the f**k you like, and pay absolutely no heed to the prices on the wine list.
This decadent approach was also very much encouraged by Nicola, our friend and fellow lunch-goer. So yes, let’s blame her!
As mentioned, some of us were desperately hungover. Though one look at the enticing menu, a few sips of champagne, and we were utterly revived.
The setting and the service are also quite perfect. But the real star was the sommelier. His recommendations were faultless, and his wonderfully French accent only added to the fabulous-ness of each new bottle.
But after much drunken ado, let’s talk about the food …
Agreeing to order different dishes, soon all three of us felt we’d made the best possible choice. Though it’s one VERY tough contest:
As a lifelong fan of asparagus (and possessor of much related trivia), Nicola gives top marks to the Wye Valley green Asparagus with Kalamata & burrata Mozarella. Note: I had a not-so-teensy bite, and she is absolutely right!
Though my entrée of choice is the Old Spot pork cheek, crackling, choucroute & Shiitake Dashi. Utterly delicious, it reinvents the very notion of crackling – making its texture and taste a delicate, more sophisticated proposition. Boom!
Meanwhile Isaac fell in love with the Lasagne of North Berwick Crab – a signature dish renowned for its subtle flavours and textures. Happily, it also lives up to the hype.
Now while the main courses are just as inspired, suddenly the whole “let’s order different dishes” malarkey went out the Victorian window …
“LAMB,” we chanted in unison. “When do we want it? Now!!!”
Oh my … Herdwick lamb rack & braised Shoulder, fresh Morels, cumin & carrot puree
Simply perfection itself!
Barely a word was uttered as we savoured every mouth-watering bite.
Just Desserts …
So … after polishing off an amuse-bouche, two wonderful courses, a little champagne, and a few French and fabulous vinos, we were ready for dessert.
With yet another display of impeccable timing, a waiter immediately appeared and complimented us on our choices so far. He then said that in the spirit of enjoying the best of the best, he recommended the tiramisu.
Before he’d even finished his sentence, I let forth a resounding “YES!!!”
Much like the crackling I had earlier, this tiramisu is deconstructed and reimagined. But even better, it’s also encased in a chocolate sphere: Gorgeous!
Isaac and Nicola, meanwhile, decided to walk their own path. Nicola went for Cheesecake of Yorkshire rhubarb & hibiscus – which really is a loving tribute to that most wonderful of vegetables: Just delicious.
Though perhaps by the narrowest of margins, it was Isaac who chose best dessert. Banana Souffle with salted caramel ice cream: Mind-blowing!
Again, top marks to the sommelier for the wine matches, and the champagne that followed. Our palettes thank you.
Without doubt, it was a wonderful meal and a wonderful experience. Though four, maybe five hours after our arrival it seemed time to move on. After all, now there was dinner to think about …
Reviewed April 2017
The Pompadour by Galvin
Princes Street, EH1 2AB
0131 222 8975