Paul Tamburrini has form, his previous post was at The Honours, somewhere we rated really highly. I was therefore very keen to see how Bistro Deluxe would measure up.
The MacDonald Holyrood Hotel in which it resides was far smarter than I had expected, no expense had been spared on the restaurant either. Both the bar and restaurant were tastefully decorated and looked like a meaningful investment for the hotel.
We stopped in the bar for a cocktail, I enjoyed it so much I had two more with dinner! From left to right: Cherry & Vanilla French Martini, Hemingway Daquiri, Hazelnut & Chocolate Espresso Martini
A quick word about the bread, it’s made by Freedom Bakery in Glasgow, a bakery which trains people with convictions in artisan baking to help them find sustainable employment – I think these kinds of programmes are very much the answer to some of the problems disadvantaged people in our country face. And the bread? It was delicious.
The Crab & Lemongrass Velouté was one of the most unusual dishes I’ve ordered in 2017 in terms of presentation, it arrived as just a bowl of foam. Beneath the bubbles was a rich and velvetty soup with a generous helping of crab. It’s soup, but far more indulgent.
Orkney Sea Scallop with Brown Butter was so much more than the menu would suggest. A stack of juicy scallops arrived in a pool of the most delicious brown butter sauce. If you don’t take your freedom bread and soak up the rest of the butter, you’re missing out on one of life’s simple pleasures.
Every bistro needs to do a good steak so I ordered the Fillet to check that Bistro Deluxe’s grill game was strong. It was. My steak was basted in a barbecue dressing and finished with a Madeira glaze, a newborn baby isn’t looked after as well as this! It arrived alone with just a few grilled tomatoes – order your sides separately.
Alex ordered the Braised Ox Cheeks in Red Wine with Smoked Mash. This is the equivalent of your homemade beef stew elevated to bistro standard. One of the reasons to eat out is the way a professional chef can make a sauce. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve this kind of flavour in your home kitchen.
Tonka Bean Ice Cream, Hazelnut Cookies, Brittle – Tonka bean is probably closest to vanilla in terms of flavour, but with more perfume. Like lavender and rose it’s often found in beauty products too, so less is more. In this case it was perfectly judged and the accompanying hazelnut cookie crumb worked well. I probably could have passed on the brittle, but it looked pretty.
Our other dessert was a reimagined Key Lime ‘Pie’. The frozen lime cream was strong on the citrus which was counter balanced with coconut sorbet and meringue. It was a good dessert to follow those rich ox cheek.
Bistro Deluxe by Paul Tamburrini exceeded my expectations and I don’t seen any reason why you’d leave the hotel to eat anywhere else. It’s as good as anywhere else in the city!
Bistro Deluxe by Paul Tamburrini
Location: 81 Holyrood RoadEdinburgh
Good for: Modern cookery with Scottish ingredients