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No. 35 at The Bonham
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The Bonham
35 Drumsheugh Gardens,
0131 226 6050
Mon-Fri 7am-10am & 12-9.30pm, Sat 8-10.30am & 12- 9.30pm, Sun 8-10.30am & 12.30-9pm.

 The Bonham Hotel in the West End is fresh from a multi-million-pound refurbishment. I went along to the re-branded No.35 restaurant, housed within, for lunch with my friend Eleonora. 

The hotel is tucked away in the secluded Drumsheugh gardens; a pocket of calm in the city centre less than 10 minutes from Princes Street.

Fabrics are sumptuous, and the building's Georgian heritage has been respected but clean lines coupled with a classy palette of landscape-inspired greens, mauves, ochres and blues bring modernity to Nigel Howard's interior vision. It's a lovely setting for lunch; a steal at £19.95 for three courses.  My starter of mackerel has mouth-watering freshness. It has been torched on the outside and is served with fennels and and horseradish foam. There are garnishes of radish and nasturtium. Eleonora has an Innis and Gunn shallot onion tart with whipped goats' cheese and balsamic.

Main courses are a chunk of snow-white cod for me which comes with chorizo, fresh wild garlic fettuccine and lobster bisque. Eleonora has rolled lamb shoulder with a black truffle espuma, stem broccoli and artichokes.  The dishes are thoughtfully put together. The components work well and are on the whole complementary.

The foams, espumas, sands and dusts, however, lack punch and aren't needed. There is a bit of over-egging going on which betrays a lack of confidence to let the ingredients do the talking, especially when the produce is so stand-out good.

This shows in the desserts which, while having powerful elements, also make mistakes.  My rhubarb panna cotta is soft and creamy, and the fruit is confidently cooked to retain bite. The sweetness comes from a scarlet strawberry 'soup' aka sauce. Two strawberries on the side are fridge cold and don't deserve dish space on an otherwise delicious dessert. 

Eleonora has a Limoncello tart which is excellent as a lemon tart, but the alcohol cannot be detected, so the consequent edge and interest are lost. She loves the cucumber sorbet, but there is mango too which she hints competes with the delicate sorbet.  If these wee criticisms seem over-zealous, they are.  

We very much enjoyed our meal and are both likely to return soon. This speaks volumes in what is a somewhat crowded Edinburgh market where one is spoilt for choice.  Excellent value for money, great service and a setting to be proud of certainly help too. (S. Wilson)

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