Sunday, 4 November 2012

A tale of two dinners

Sorry for Dogstarke fans no cute puppy pics here.

Last weekend was a rare one for us, two consecutive nights out for dinner on home turf. I think the last time we did this was back at the turn of the century, before the invention of the "staycation", when a cancelled mini break was replaced by a three night restaurant fest which left us bloated and craving dry bread and water.

Crisp linen and fancy flatwear.....

Saturday night with a smart frock and heels replacing muddy boots and jeans, I was whisked, well he paid my bus fare, by Mr Starke to the Pompadour by Galvin at the newly rebranded Waldorf Caledonian for a belated celebratory dinner. I'd never been to the old Pompadour but it used to be described as "Edinburgh's prettiest restaurant" and the new one is a strong contender for that title. The food is good too, rabbit ravioli followed by baked monkfish were excellent and I loved the crab and scallop lasagne amuse bouche, I'd fancied all these on the "menu gourmand" but didn't feel up to seven courses, even of tiny tasting menu portions. Wine, coffee and sweeties were all scrumptious too.

We had a really nice time but this restaurant needs a little bit of extra polish to make it a destination. The service was friendly and enthusiastic but a little haphazard. We were pleased to be out, had plenty to talk about and were entertained by the comings and goings of the Halloween party over the road at St. John's church hall. But that was just as well because there was quite a wait between courses. I've never been in the Waldorf Astoria but imagine it's just a little bit slicker.

Don' t get the idea that it's not worth a visit though, and if you do go, don't miss out on your aperitif in the cute and slightly retro Pompadour bar and as a digestif take a stroll around the display of old menus and hotel memorabilia.

A night less formal

And so, to Sunday and a warning to anyone thinking that being a restaurant critic would be a wheeze. We were invited to take part in a review of Edinburgh's best takeaways. Never since my first time at a free bar has the advice "pace yourself" been more needed and less heeded. By the end of the evening not even "a wafer thin mint" could tempt me, never mind another helping of sabz chilli daal.

Top tip, tempura doesn't travel well.

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