Usually Saturday lunchtimes are a pretty boring affair for me. Saturday brunch, yes. Saturday dinner, yes. But Saturday lunch? It often gets forgotten about. This weekend I was in for a treat, however, as the Pompadour by Galvin (which is part of the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian) invited me along to try out their menu.
Usually the restaurant is only open for dinner, but on Saturdays they open up for a special lunch service as well. There are several menus to choose from at the Pompadour by Galvin, including the great value lunch menu which gets you three courses for £29. You can also pick from the a la carte menu, or try the Menu Gourmand tasting menu.
Whatever you choose, you’ll get to enjoy fine dining in a stylish setting, with beautiful period interiors, views of Edinburgh Castle and knowledgeable, attentive staff on hand to help you out.
What We Ate at the Pompadour by Galvin
We decided to push the boat out (might as well do it properly, eh?) and go for the Menu Gourmand tasting menu. This included five different courses of French-inspired dishes, each with a matching wine pairing to compliment the food.
The tasting menu started off with a smoked eel salad with blood orange, parsley puree, bone marrow and crispy shallots accompanied by a New Zealand Pinot Gris. I’m quite an adventurous eater but I had never tried eel before, so was intrigued to find out what it would be like. The smokey, meatiness of the eel worked really well with the fresh blood orange and crisp caramelised shallot flavours. It’s not necessarily a combination that you would think would work well on paper, but the chefs at the Pompadour by Galvin clearly know what they’re doing as it was a lovely dish!
Next we moved on to a dish of French asparagus served with tapenade and burrata mozzarella. I’m not a big fan of olives so this was probably my least favourite dish of the menu, but the delicious French asparagus really made up for it. Our waiter explained that it had just come into season and you could really tell that it was at its best.
As with all the courses, the next dish of quail and Noirmoutier potato presse was beautifully presented. Served with pomegranate and wild garlic, the food was complimented perfectly with a glass of Riesling. The portion sizes were perfect too, giving you a good taste of everything but not leaving you stuffed full by the time you got to the end of the five courses!
The next course was the one I was looking forward to the most, and it didn’t disappoint. The roasted Loch Etive sea trout was perfectly crispy and salty, and came served with saffron braised squid, butterbeans, cockles and mussels. I loved the way the Pompadour by Galvin mixed traditional French techniques and ingredients with local Scottish produce to create a fine dining menu that’s perfectly suited to Edinburgh.
Finally, on to the dessert course and it was time for a delicate rhubarb cheesecake with hibiscus and meringue. This was almost too pretty to eat – but not quite! This was accompanied by an amazing Contero Brachetto D’Aqui rose sparkling wine which tasted wonderfully sweet and almost like strawberry laces. I might have to try and track down a few bottles of this for my wine rack at home!
The Atmosphere at the Pompadour by Galvin
As it’s a fine dining restaurant, the Pompadour by Galvin has the sort of refined, classy atmosphere you’d expect. It was nice and quiet, and we didn’t feel at all rushed despite spending a good couple of hours tucking into all our courses.
The staff were all very friendly and helpful, from the restaurant manager who talked us through the menus to the sommelier who told us more about each wine pairing and why it was chosen for each particular course.
And of course, I couldn’t talk about the Pompadour by Galvin without mentioning the stunning setting. As its part of the historic Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian hotel, it has beautiful Victorian architecture and elegant decor – including hand painted wall panels and period cornicing. Whether you’re dining in the main room or the smaller, more intimate side room, you’ll be treated to a luxurious experience (and you get an amazing view of Edinburgh Castle which is always a plus!).
Worth a Visit?
If you’re after an extra special restaurant – whether for lunch or dinner – the Pompadour by Galvin is definitely worth a visit. The Menu Gourmand is £45 (or £90 with the matching wine pairings) and I definitely think it’s worth the money for a special treat or a celebration meal. You can really tell that a lot of thought has been put into the menu and it’s all expertly prepared, presented and served.
I love a good tasting menu as it gives you the chance to try dishes you might never have usually picked, and the fact that it has all been carefully put together and matched with drinks makes it even more special.
For classic French fine dining in Edinburgh, you can’t go wrong with the Pompadour by Galvin – or try their sister restaurant downstairs, the Galvin Brasserie de Luxe, for a more relaxed, informal meal.
Have you visited the Pompadour by Galvin before?