Hotel restaurants can sometimes be a bit of a missed opportunity, offering little in the way of personality or inspired menu choices. Happily, Macdonald Hotels have been busy working with some high profile chefs to give their hotel restaurants a boost. Their most recent partnership is with Paul Tamburrini who now has his name above the door of the restaurant at the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel. We have enjoyed his food before as Chef Director of Martin Wishart’s The Honours restaurant, so we were looking forward to trying out his new restaurant.
The restaurant has its own separate entrance, and on arrival, you are greeted with a comfortable and elegant dining space. It’s definitely somewhere you’d be happy to spend the whole evening, and the friendly velvet-clad staff add to the relaxed atmosphere. As you would expect, the menu here features wonderful Scottish produce along with French-inspired cuisine. It’s a simple but varied affair covering appetisers, soups, salads, sides, mains and a selection of steaks from the Josper Grill.
We enjoyed a glass of fizz while we perused the menu and struggled to pick from the fantastic sounding dishes. Decisions made, we ordered a bottle of silky smooth Rioja (£35) and enjoyed some of their deliciously chewy sourdough bread.
An amuse-bouche of black truffle risotto arrived next, almost dessert-like in creaminess and flecked with its precious fungi. A little goes a long way for me, and the intensely musky flavour didn’t overstay its welcome – delicious.
Compliments of the chef
I went for the crab and lemongrass velouté (£9) that was light and a very frothy concoction. I loved that the delicate flavour of the crab isn’t overwhelmed by the subtle Thai spices – a very satisfying dish.
Donnie’s starter was a hearty terrine of shredded duck with puy lentils topped with a generous slab of buttery foie gras (£9). The acidity of the apple and sweetness of the carrot provided a nice contrast to the meaty richness of the dish.
For the main course, I went with restaurant manager Peter’s recommendation of the Presa Iberico (£24) cooked on the Josper grill and served with triple cooked chips and vine-roasted tomatoes. All of their steaks are marinated in a barbeque dressing and then finished with a Madeira glaze. I’d not tried Presa Iberico before and was glad that I did as the thick steak of pork shoulder tasted amazing. The meat is tender and the juicy meat incredibly flavoursome although I would have preferred to try it without the added distraction of the bbq dressing.
Donnie’s main was a tower of poached and roasted chicken in a morel broth topped with wilting baby leeks and slivers of the intense nutty mushroom (£22). He enjoyed the generous portion of succulent chicken and also dunking my hand cut triple cooked chips (£4) in the rich savoury liquor.
Room for dessert?
The menu has a choice of four desserts, all priced at £8 and all sounding fabulous. I decided to try the tonka bean ice cream that had the honeyed vanilla aroma of a Speyside malt and tasted rather exotic. There was added crunch from the very chocolatey deconstructed hazelnut cookie soil and shards of brittle.
Donnie’s dessert was a nice blast of tropical sunshine on a cold and damp January evening. The zesty key lime pie filling is scattered with morsels of crumb and topped with a delicate coconut ice cream. Crisp wafers of lime-flecked meringue added a crisp sweetness to this delicious pudding.
Paul Tamburrini has successfully made his mark with Bistro Deluxe. He and his team have created a genuinely exciting new place to dine in Edinburgh that is worth wandering down the Royal Mile for. His style of cooking encompasses French tradition but with a spirit of adventure that delights the taste buds. The romantic dining room makes this a perfect spot for an intimate dinner for two…or more!
How can I book a table?
Bistro Deluxe by Paul Tamburrini