l'escargot bleu - a little piece of France in the heart of Edimbourg
By Phil Cook
You could be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to a little bistro somewhere in Paris or Lyon as you take in the surroundings of l'escargot bleu.
The restaurant, which opened in 2008, sits towards the foot of Broughton Street and prides itself on delivering the best of French cooking with a Scottish twist.
Greeted warmly and (gratefully) presented with a Kir Royale, we munched on our tasty amuse bouche of pan fried frog's legs as we ordered from a menu that you could have spent all day choosing from, such was the variety.
I opted for le steak tartare de boeuf Dexter (£7.90) and Sarah chose la salade de chevreuil fumè (£6.90).
Our waiter approached the table with a host of ingredients and began creating the steak tartare to my requirements in full view of the restaurant - a great touch.
The tartare was exquisite and you could taste all of the eight or so ingredients in it. Classic French food at its finest.
The smokiness of Sarah's venison thankfully didn't overpower the taste of the tender meat itself and was complemented by a perfectly poached pear and sweet shallot whilst a balsamic dressing added a welcome note of acidity.
My main of la blanquette de veau rosè (£18.90), a real classic of bourgeois cookery, was ideal for an autumn evening. The rich, buttery sauce coated the neatly turned potatoes while the veal was lovely and tender. Like the spuds, the rainbow carrots were still al dente and seasoned well.
The sight of Sarah's l'entrecôte steak (£19.40) would appease even the largest appetite and came medium-rare as requested. The superbly caramelised outside gave a nice bitter note to the moist meat and Sarah really enjoyed the sumptuous Bordelaise sauce. Perhaps the accompanying gratin dauphinoise needed a little more seasoning.
I opted for my favourite crème brûlée (£5.50) for dessert and another generous portion did not disappoint as I cracked through the top and delved into the custardy goodness underneath.
Tarte au chocolate (£5.50) was called for to satisfy Sarah's sweet tooth. Rich, crumbly pastry with an indulgent chocolate filling and pleasant crème anglaise rounded off a fine meal. L'Escargot's slogan is 'A little slice of France in the heart of Edimbourg...' and the city is all the better for that.
L'Escargot Bleu 56 Broughton Street, Edinburgh 0131 557 1600 to make a reservation Open Mon-Thurs 12 noon-2.30pm and 5.30pm-10pm. Frid & Sat 12 noon-3pm and 5.30pm-10.30pm. Closed Sunday,(open 7 days during August)