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Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux
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Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux
The Balmoral,
1 Princes Street,
EH2 2EQ
0131 557 5000
Bar: Everyday from 11.00am - 1.00am (Food served 12.00pm - 10.00pm) Brasserie: Breakfast: Mon-Fri from 7.00am - 10.30am. W/ends from 7.00am - 11.00am Lunch: Everyday from 12.00pm - 2.30pm Dinner: Everyday from 5.30pm - 10.00pm (last orders)

The Roux family dynasty seems to have a love affair with Scotland. Albert has several restaurants scattered across the country, and now his brother and nephew are making their mark in Edinburgh. Recently opened, Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux, has taken over the spot where Hadrian's at the Balmoral used to be. Decor is chic; cool mint green and white with Mediterranean blue leather seating, it's all very relaxing and calm, helped along with a refreshing glass of Waterside Inn champagne on an unusually hot day. 

Sitting at our table, Mr H is smacking his lips over sautéed frogs’ legs while I like the sound of Grandpa Benoit Roux’s country pâté. It's a tossup as to what would follow - both of us fancy the bouillabaisse fish stew, finally settling for the Armoricaine monkfish for him, and the lamb pour moi.

As our first plates arrive, I'm a little disappointed. Grampa's pâté looks dull; it lacks seasoning, and the pickled veg (shallot and various types of beetroot) are a bit aggressive, the vinegar being the predominant flavour. The frogs' legs, in their garlicky juices, are salty and a tad overcooked. Such a shame. On the other hand, the monkfish, served on the bone, is lush. The sauce has great depth of fishy flavour from a well reduced stock; the fish clinging gently to its bone, is sweet as mermaid's kiss, the Camargue wild rice soaks up all the juices, so nothing is wasted. A glass of chilled Côtes-du-Rhône blanc stimulates the taste buds. My rack of lamb is succulently tender, the white beans à la Portugaise retain some bite and are smoky from the chorizo, a very traditional combination. My only gripe is the herb crust; slightly stodgy and overpoweringly herbaceous, easily removed with a swipe of my knife. I decided on a glass of Pinot Noir, the hints of tobacco works well with the legumes.

Maxime (who comes from The Waterside Inn at Bray) insists we try the cheese. A trio arrives. Expecting all three to be French, we are surprised by gnarly morsels of Parmesan with blossom honey (this is going to be emulated at Chez BB I can tell you!); a goaty Selles-sur-Cher and some rather fine Brie du Meaux with fresh truffle ... ooh-la-la! A full-bodied glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, not from Bordeaux but the Languedoc, is a fruity foil for the lactic delights.  

We pause briefly before dessert. Something that isn't seen that often on a menu is rum baba, a light sweet yeast bake soaked in a boozy syrup, that's me sorted. Mille feuille is another favourite. Served from a trolley, it adds a bit of theatre, and sometimes I love a bit of theatrics. A lovely touch, as we are served an assiette - the mille feuille, half a baba and a twee choux bun.

The custard slice (well that is what it is essentially), is delicate, buttery, beautifully brittle, drizzled with some rather fine chocolate sauce and a daub of apricot compote, 

which I would have liked more of. The feather light baba packs a hefty rum kick, and, to my immense pleasure, has slivers of candid angelica, a rare beast these days. The choux bauble is light, crisp and filled with a smooth chocolate cream. Should I confess my sins? Oh hell, why not - I licked my plate clean! We decided to have a glass of sticky, Noans from La Tunella, a blend of three grape varieties (33% Riesling renano, 33% Sauvignon, 33% Traminer Aromatico), rather fitting for our dessert trio.

 
Yes there were a few hiccups, but Brasserie Prince has only been open a short time and the team are adapting to new a new skills set, but with senior staff from the Waterside Inn at Bray at the helm, I'm sure things will settle and run smoothly pretty quickly. (L. Harris)

 

 



 

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