Sunday, 30 October 2011

L'Escargot Bleu - Edinburgh - Restaurant Review

When we make our pilgramages to Edinburgh there is usually some sort of family meal out.  Sheila Mum is usually very good at picking places to go, and this time opted for L'Escargot Bleu on Broughton Street.  As you may have guessed, L'Escargot Bleu is a French restaurant, specialising in French food with a Scottish twist.  It opened on Broughton Street in 2008, and has a sister restaurant on Queen's Street (L'Escargot Blanc).  The restaurant and its epicerie downstairs embody what I love about French dining - fewer frills, great atmosphere, fabulous decor.

L'Escargot Bleu
There were six of us so we got through quite a few dishes - I'll do the highlights but believe me when I say that everything was very good and is highly recommended.

At lunch you have a choice between the a la carte or the specials (a very good deal - starters between £5-8 and mains at £7.80  - a total bargain!).  Between us we had the moules a la Provencale, scallops with pig head croquette, steak tartare and soup, all served with huge baskets of bread.  I loved the scallops and pig head croquette which came with an amazing sweet potato puree - I'm usually quite up for trying things but pigs head is still a little adventurous -  but it was very tasty with soft, gelatanous meat.  Joe went for the steak tartare, made with horse meat (you have a choice of beef or horse).  This was actually the best bit of the meal - L'Escargot Bleu do a real show with this dish.  They make the tartare on a trolley in front of you, made to your taste (more capers, Tabasco etc.) along with a lesson in how to make the perfect steak tartare.  It's fascinating, really fun and worth making the trip alone!
Moules a la Provencale
copious amounts of bread
Joe's beer from Brittany
Our waiter from Marseille making the steak tartare
And the finished tartare
Scallop and pig
Our mains included pan fried trout with orange and mussel sauce, which had a punchy but perfectly balanced sauce, ox kidney with mash and a mustard sauce, butternut squash spagetti and roast chicken, along with vegetable sides.  Every dish was brilliant, and really underpriced at £7.80 (although clearly the price was welcome!).  I would happily eat the trout again, and while Joe's ox kidney was very rich (especially following steak tartare!), it was also very good.  I must also mention the butternut squash side which was rich and lightly spiced with saffron.  Absolutely zero complaints.

L'Escargot Bleu interior
Chicken with mushrooms
Squash spagetti with an oeuf (because one egg is un oeuf...)
Trout with orange and mussel sauce
Ox kidneys with mustard sauce and mash
The divine butternut squash side
And other vegetables
With six of us plus baby enjoying a relaxed Saturday lunch, we were taking some time to get through our food.  Credit to our waiters - they may have wanted to clear down to set the restaurant for dinner, but we did not feel rushed at all.  We were offered desserts and coffees, which we were more than happy to sample!
Baby Tom - aww!
As well as the a la carte desserts, there was a cherry clafoutis and a bread and butter pudding made with croissants and pain au chocolats on the specials.  Unfortunately, the cherry clafoutis had been very popular and there was only one left, so my poor dad had to let quite a few of us sample his dessert!  We also had a chocolate torte, creme brulee and macaroons.  Everything was brilliant, but I must say that the macaroons were a real treat and the perfect end to my lunch.  You get a selection of four flavours from a platter and while I liked them all, the strawberry was outstanding. 
Cherry clafoutis
bread and butter pudding
Creme brulee
The macaroons and our genial waiter
Un espress
One of L'Escargot Bleu's well deserved accolades.  I absolutely loved this meal, and would rate everything from the authentic food to the welcoming and entertaining service highly.  The Entente Cordiale is alive and well in this corner of Edimbourg!

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