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Number One The Balmoral
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Number One at The Balmoral
1 Princes St,
Edinburgh,
EH2 2EQ
0131 557 6727

 A jewel in Princes Street

I doubt many people would book into Number One these days without having a sneak peek at the menu online. My friend Kate confessed to doing this too when I met her in the foyer of The Balmoral Hotel so we were almost disappointed when informed that chef has chosen a seasonal tasting menu for us. However, her's, mine and chef's choices happened to be identical. 
 
In keeping with the setting of The Balmoral we had all gone for traditional Scottish dishes most of the way with passion fruit soufflé to finish. 

So to start Balvenie whisky smoked salmon presented under a smoke-filled dome. The drama of the presentation revealed the best hot smoked salmon I have tasted; a rich, sumptuous Orkney fillet adorned by a quail's egg topped with caviar. The Charles Heidsieck Brut champagne had grapes that were part vintage and its yeasty crisp character was perfect with the oily fish. 

We had enjoyed it with the canapés too - black pudding gougéres, squid ink sushi rice cracker with taramasalata and feuille di brique of goats cheese, quince and olive. I couldn't help reflect on the years of skill and training to produce each exquisite morsel. 

Next was scallop cock-a-leekie. Plump caramelised bivalves on a bed of leek velouté, a scrummy breaded chicken wing to the side and a slightly oaked Ataraxia Chardonnay, Kevin Grant, Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa 2013, voluptuous  enough for the scallop but with enough citrus stone to cut through the chicken. Sublime and succeeded by Inverurie hoggett, its rich mature flavour complemented by seasonal summer greenery, fat peas, lettuce, leek and swirls of sauce. A seriously smooth Rioja on the side. 

And on to the spectacular passion fruit soufflé with chef honest enough to admit his first attempt fell short. We we happy to wait for perfection whilst sampling a Vin Santo from Santorini,  a real treat with its Greek honey colour and toffee and caramel notes. A lighter more traditionally floral  Sauternes however, was the chosen match for our perfect fruity soufflés. I would challenge anyone no matter how full to resist the petit four trolley though,  multi coloured patisserie to die for, truffles, macarons,  pâté  de fruit and more.

Number One at The Balmoral is an oasis of fine wining and dining, professional relaxed service and luxurious comfort. (S. Wilson)


 

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