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As you may have gathered, my dear readers, I love cooking and I can't think of a better way to relax than clattering around the kitchen, unless it's clattering around a restaurant kitchen. To celebrate Seafood Week, the Pompadour by Galvin at the Cally opened its pass to a select few to prep, cook and eat some fabulously fresh fish and shellfish.

With glasses of some very nice fizz, we were under the expert tutorage of chef, Fraser Allan. On the pass were crab, scallops and sea bream, all needing to be dispatched, prepped and cooked. Fraser informed us that if we wanted to get our hands dirty, then all we had to do was jump in. Never one to be asked twice, I was in there with knife in hand ready to combat with whatever was put in front of me.

First up was the crab. Popped into boiling water for 12 minutes, cooled and them picked clean of its meat ready to be made into a mayonnaise for the main of pan-fried bream. We learnt how to get the most from the crab with virtually no shell. 

The scallops, fat, sweet and juicy come from Stevie Fish. No farting around (Fraser used this expression more than once), with a quick flick of the wrist, the opalescent bundle was out of its shell, skirt removed and waiting for a hot pan. A couple of minutes later, basted in nutty brown butter, they were on a plate dressed with cauliflower puree, a light curry oil with pine nuts, capers and golden sultanas, but best of all were the sea herbs - purslane,  sea rosemary and samphire flowers. Feeling accomplished, we entered the elegant Georgian dining room with our starters. Sweet, succulent, with a hint of the curry spices, we mused about how simple and easy this was to make at home. This was classy real fast food. We used the warm bread to mop up every last scrap of juice from our plates and prepared to do battle with the next course - the sea bream.

Once again Fraser walked and talked us through filleting a fish, how to pin bone it (ladies' tweezers would do just fine) and how to cook it so it had a crispy skin for good eating. He made the plating up look so easy; a zigzag of the crab mayo, dotted with crabmeat, wilted spinach hid under the bream, which was scattered with three-corned garlic and brown shrimp, pimped with a little lemon oil dotted around the plate.

A glass of crisp, minerally Chablis was poured and we were silent as we took our first mouthful. There were 'Mmms' all round, followed by, "Wow!" as the wine was sipped, We were all seriously impressed with how good it was, not only that, but good quality ingredients didn't need to be farted about with; keeping everything simple was the key.

Things were about to get sticky as we were left to our own devices to replicate dessert that Ian, one of the other chefs, demonstrated with a steady hand. Swirls of salted caramel, daubs of chocolate sauce, dollops of reduced raspberry vinegar from the Little Herb Farm, homemade puff candy, orange sorbet and a piping bag of chocolate crémeux (a rich blend of creme patisserie and chocolate). What could possibly go wrong? Our creative sides came out and we were all pretty chuffed with our efforts, even if we were heckled from the sidelines by Fraser and Ian.

Once again, we headed back to the dining room where we reflected on the morning over our pudding and a glass of a rich, almost port-like, Spanish red dessert wine. 

To celebrate Seafood Week in such auspicious surroundings was a rare treat; the kitchen was a hive of industry but quite except for the occasional giggle, a clatter of pans and the gentle sizzle of melting butter. 

Fraser and his team were wonderful fun and service was impeccable.

If you fancy trying some uber fresh fish and shellfish for Seafood Week (until Friday 14th October), then Galivin Brasserie de Luxe are offiering a fishy platter or two with lobster, hand-dived scallops, langoustines and mussels roasted in garlic butter or Fruits of the Sea - lobster, dressed crab, langoustines and oysters served over crushed ice. Make sure you quote 'Seafood Week' when booking.

Although there are the occasional masterclasses in The Pompadour kitchen, the Brasserie are running monthly classes. For further details, see their website.
Galvin Brasserie de Luxe 

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian
Rutland Street
 EH1 2AB.
Tel: 0131 222 8988
Email: [email protected]

Opening Hours
Lunch Monday to Friday 12pm - 2.30pm (last orders) - Saturday to Sunday 12.30pm - 3.00pm (last orders) - Dinner Monday to Friday 6pm - 10pm (last orders) - Saturday 6pm - 10pm (last orders) - Sunday 6pm - 9.30pm (last orders) 

The Pompadour by Galvin
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian,
Princes Street, EH1 2AB
Tel: 0131 222 8975
Email: [email protected]

Opening Hours
Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday, 6pm - 10pm 
Lunch: Friday, 12pm - 2.30pm

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