Although I was quite familiar with Edinburgh’s reputation for history and comedy, I was not prepared for it being such a foodie city. The capital of Scotland has a thriving food scene, with everything from five-star hotel restaurants staffed with Michelin-star chefs to small, chef-owned restaurants offering cutting edge Scottish cuisine.
I had a great experience staying at the Waldorf-Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian. Aside from the luxurious accommodations and perfect location directly across from Edinburgh Castle, the luxury hotel also offers some of the city’s best dining. The hotel has two restaurants from the celebrated Galvin Brothers (Chris and Jeff), British chef brothers who already have accumulated a few prized Michelin stars. The Galvins operate two restaurants at The Caley, as the hotel is known, the casual Galvin Brasserie de Luxe and The Pompadour by Galvin, their fine dining French restaurant.
I had an amazing dinner at The Pompadour by Galvin, which you can see in this video. The combination of delicious, locally-sourced, seasonal food, warm, personal service from the staff and unbeatable views of the castle on the hill, really made it a spectacular experience.
Dinner started with an amuse bouche of salted cod with crispy goat skin. For my starter, I went with something from the restaurant’s seasonal menu, (my visit was during the summer) a presse’ of Scottish ham hock with a sauce Gribiche and toasted brioche bread. Sauce Gribiche is a traditional egg-based French sauce, almost like salad dressing or mayonnaise, served cold. For my main course, I had the roast breast of corn-fed chicken, with crushed Jersey royals (fancy mashed potatoes) and a fricassee of summer vegetables. For desert, I went off-menu and has some raspberry sorbet and some yogurt ice cream, sprinkled with some graham cracker crumbs.
All that great food was paired with some delicious wine and Champagne. We started with some Galvin-branded Grande Reserve Brut Champagne. My friend who joined me for dinner had some Taurasi red Italian wine from Vesevo and I had some delicious French Morgon Douby from Chateau de Raousset in Beaujolais. The restaurant also used a cool Coravin argon gas bottle sealing system that allows them to serve expensive wine, normally only sold by the bottle, by the glass.
I flew to Scotland on United in their very impressive Polaris Business Class cabin. They too provided a foodie experience with an innovative menu and even a wine tasting experience at 40,000 feet. The airline has seasonal direct service to Edinburgh from Chicago.