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Paul Tamburrini - Modern European Cuisine.
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Paul Tamburrini
81 Holyrood Road,
0344 879 9028
Mon-Sun 12pm to 2:30pm (lunch); 5pm to 9:30pm (dinner)

We are able to be as proud of our chefs in Scotland as we are of our larder.  

Paul Tamburrini steers his eponymous restaurant at the Holyrood MacDonald Hotel.  His career has seen stints with Marco Pierre White at the legendary L'Escargot, Martin Wishart at Cameron House and The Honours and at Rogano and One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow. Skill and experience infuse his modern French cuisine and you are in safe hands when you visit his smart, stylish restaurant close to the Scottish Parliament.

Given all of this I am pleasantly surprised by a la carte prices; two courses for £25 and three for £30 (check out the Prix Fixe too, £17.50 and £21.50).  

Mr Bite urges me to 'keep my powder dry' though as we haven't actually eaten yet. I have more confidence in what we about to receive as I have actually enjoyed Paul Tamburrini’s food at all of the above name-checked restaurants apart from L'Escargot.  

Foie gras starter is silky and melting, presented with knobbly roasted pecans and a seasonal apple sauce stewed to an intense sharp sweetness. Mr Bite has salmon, confit lemon, quail's egg and buckwheat cake. Attention to produce, technique and texture are underplayed by the modest presentation on simple earthenware plates which allow the food to do the talking.  

Main courses, however, become my favourite as we veer off to Italy with risotto and tagliatelle.

Authenticity is guaranteed by cooking a few simple but high-quality ingredients to elevate what is essentially peasant food. And when I say elevate Mr Bite tastes risotto as it should be cooked (I’m afraid Mrs Bite’s doesn’t compare) and has an almost religious experience. Carnoli rice retains some bite even when cooked to a perfect soupy consistency. Aged Parmesan, butter and truffle are rich and divine. I imagine eating a bowl of this risotto outdoors on the frosty earth of Piedmont in Northern Italy.  My pasta sees big chunks of meaty king crab mingle with pasta ribbons drenched in butter, garnished with a few fennel fronds. Although hearty and simple I could have carried on eating it forever. A shout out too for a gorgeously golden glass of Weitgasse Gruner-Veltliner Mantlerhof 2017 which has flint, freshness and body.

Our banquette corner seat now feels like a perfumed cloud of wine, butter, truffle and seafood. We inhale.  Back to France for a Mandarin crème brûlée, with blood orange sorbet and poached orange where the brûlée flying solo would have sufficed. Mr Bite, as usual, can't see past dark chocolate fondant which is perfectly executed.  

I leave Paul Tamburrini hoping there exist a generation of chefs coming through the ranks that embrace classic training alongside the years of effort it inevitably takes to achieve a repertoire of dishes that provide so much pleasure. Well done Chef. (S. Wilson)  


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