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Thursday, 29 June 2017

Review - The Pompadour by Galvin, Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian

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Chris and Jeff Galvin have been producing some of the countries finest French infuenced food for over ten years. Their first restaurant Bistrot de Luxe, which opened in 2005 in London's Baker Street was quickly followed by Galvin at Windows (one of our favourite restaurants) and Galvin La Chapelle. Their restaurant empire has slowly grown with each restaurant offering high quality French cuisine in luxurious surroundings. In 2012 the Galvin Brothers launched Pompadour by Galvin which is housed inside one of Scotland's most magnificent dining rooms at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian. The restaurant boasts stunning views of Edinburgh Castle from inside the former Princes Street railway station and diners are treated to a world class culinary experience at Pompadour by Galvin, so when I was invited along recently to try out their new Saturday lunch menu, I jumped at the chance.
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When we arrived in Edinburgh the sun had yet to make an appearance and as we settled down at our table by the window, we were able to enjoy an eerie view of Edinburgh Castle while we looked over the Lunch Menu.
Pompadour by Galvin, Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant Review, lunch review, Edinburgh restaurants, Galvin Brothers, Waldorf Astoria Caledonian."
As you would expect from a fine dining restaurant housed within the grand settings of Waldorf Astoria - The Caledonian, Pompadour at Galvin is a gloriously grand with high ceilings, elaborate chandeliers and plush carpet all going some way to set the tone for our afternoon visit.
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Normally when we visit fine dining restaurants, we would order paired wines to go with our food but as we were guests of the restaurant, we didn't want to take advantage although we did let the sommelier select a wine to match our main courses. Nicola had selected a seafood main course and the paired Chateau Ferran Passac-Léognan was a wonderful match. Pale golden in colour and packed with flavours of apricot and peaches, the wine was easy to drink with a crisp acidity that cut through the rich seafood bisque.
I had chosen the venison main course and loved the full bodied Biondi-Santi Braccale which was rich with morello cherry flavour and a touch of spice which was the perfect foil for my main.
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To get our appetites whetted, we were presented with an amuse bouche of butternut squash whipped cream cheese with toasted pine nuts on a crispy whole grain biscuit. I love these little surprises because they demonstrate the chef's skill at taking simple things and elevating them a higher level. These perfectly seasoned morsels done the job of setting the tone and we couldn't wait for the main event.
Pompadour by Galvin, Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant Review, lunch review, Edinburgh restaurants, Galvin Brothers, Waldorf Astoria Caledonian
As is often the case, if the menu features crab then Nicola doesn't need to think to much about what to order which meant that she started her lunch with the Lasagne of North Berwick Crab with Beurre Nantais. In fairness, this was. A bit of a gamble for Nicola as she 'doesn't do lasagne' plus we didn't really know what Beurre Nantais was either but in the end, she needn't have worried as her starter was a delightful plate to food.
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For my own starter I had opted for the vichyssoise with whipped crowdie and tarragon. Vichyssoise is a thick soup made from potoato, leeks, onion, cream and chicken stock which is traditionally served cold. The vichyssoise was ceremoniously poured around a perfect quenelle of whipped crowdie which was topped with a couple of sprigs of fresh tarragon. Crowdie is a Scottish cream cheese which is low in fat due to being made with skimmed milk. The cheese had a slight sour taste which was balanced with the well flavoured 'soup'. I'm not the biggest fan of tarragon but the subtle anise flavour seemed to work with the rich creamy starter.
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With our starters behind us, we were both looking forward to our next course and it wasn't long before we were oohing and aahing over the mains.
Nicola had ordered the roast fillet of Peterhead sea bream with saffron braised squid, butter beans, cockles and mussels which was a wonderful example of simple food done well. The thick fishy bisque was full of the flavours of the sea with no shortage of fresh cockles and mussels (not alive, alive, oh)You couldn't accuse chef of scrimping on portion size as there was a ton of tender squid resting on top of the butterbean base and a crispy skin sea bream fillet finished the dish off. This dish was faultless and to date, one of the best seafood dishes that we've eaten.
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As soon as I spotted venison on the menu, my main course was an easy choice. There's not much I can say about the haunch and faggot of venison with wild mushrooms, pommes Anna, red cabbage and calcots except wow! This is hands down, the best plate of food that I have eaten this year.
The Edinglassie Estate venison haunch was cooked perfectly to a medium rare finish with a light musky favour while the faggot had a much gamier taste. The accompanying array of earthy mushrooms and sweet calcot onions were cooked well and complimented the rich meat well. Whilst the venison was clearly the star of the show, the pommes Anna was a perfect supporting act. What's not to like about thinly sliced potatoes layered on top of each other then cooked in butter?
Pompadour by Galvin, Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant Review, lunch review, Edinburgh restaurants, Galvin Brothers, Waldorf Astoria Caledonian
During a short break we finished our wine and cast our eye over the choice of desserts although Nicola had decided an hour earlier that she would be having the Apple Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream, regardless.
This classic dessert takes its name from the time when Stephanie Tatin accidently burnt apples, sugar and butter when making a traditional apple pie so topped the apples with pastry before baking in the oven and turning out the upside down tart. The Pompadour Tarte Tatin was no accident, a perfect balance of flaky buttery pastry and soft apples in a caramel sauce with a wonderful creamy vanilla ice cream on the side.
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For my own dessert, chef had gone all 'Jackson Pollock' with my salted Valhrona dulce chocolate crémeux, prunes and rum ice cream. Sweet and salty, rich and creamy with just enough rum flavour I the ice cream to cut through the other big flavours on the dish, this dessert was a great way to end my lunch. Although if thirty be known, I really wanted the other half of Nicola's Tarte Tatin!
Pompadour by Galvin, Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant Review, lunch review, Edinburgh restaurants, Galvin Brothers, Waldorf Astoria Caledonian
We dined as guests of Pompadour by Galvin but my review above is an honest account of our lunch experience. We've eaten a lot of Michelin starred food over the last few years plus enjoyed more than our fair share of AA Rosette meals too but I can honestly say that the Saturday lunch at Pompadour by Galvin was one of the best meals that we have eaten.
What's more, at just £29 for three courses, you'll be hard pushed to find a better value lunch in the capital. Keep up to date with news from Pompadour by Galvin on Facebook and Twitter or you can book online here.
We would like to thank the staff and management at Pompadour by Galvin for their hospitality and generosity and wish them every success in the future.

* Our visit was back in February, shortly after the Saturday Lunch menu was launched. There have been a few changes at Pompadour by Galvin including the introduction of  new Head Chef, Daniel Ashmore who comes with a wealth of experience from top end kitchens.

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