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Galvin Brasserie de Luxe
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Galvin Brasserie de Luxe
The Caledonian, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Edinburgh,,
Princes Street,,
EH1 2AB.
0131 222 8988
Mon- Fri 12 noon-2.30pm; Sat & Sun 12.30pm - 3.00pm; Mon-Fri 6pm - 10pm, Sat 6pm-10pm, Sun 6pm - 9.30pm

Trust me, he's one to watch" was the nod from a well-kent Edinburgh chef about Fraser Alan, currently cooking at Brasserie de Luxe. I had completely forgotten this tip however, as I sat down to lunch at said Brasserie. My memory would kick in later.

The Brasserie has been modelled on typical Parisian style and has a horseshoe bar serving seafood. Part of the Waldorf Astoria and previously Henry J Beans, there is direct cobbled access via Rutland Street.

Starters were smoked salmon, blini and crème fraîche (£9.50) for Simone and a salad of beets, blood orange and St Maure goats' cheese (£9.50) for me. The seasonality of the menu was blindingly obvious. The blood orange segments complemented a rainbow of beets; blue borage flowers were oh so pretty alongside them, the white, creamy, goats' cheese, c'etait superbe! Simone explained that her salmon was light and delicate, not too heavy and oily as can be the case, and consequently it didn't overpower the palate.

Simone is half French so declared she would try the cassoulet (£14.50) 'to test if it compares to 'cassoulet de grand-père'.  It passed. Meat fell from the bone, boudin noir and garlic sausage contributed to flavour, haricot beans were creamy, carrots cooked whole to retain maximum flavour. I had whole lemon sole, brown shrimps, Grenoblaise (£19.50). This stunning fish had come from Peterhead (I had to know) and was cooked simply with lemon, capers and butter. Snowy flesh flaked on my fork, it was seasoned perfectly, mini cubes of cucumber and potato along with tightly curled shrimps the only accompaniment needed. Parfait.

At this point, Simone rushed to feed the meter. She wasn't missing out of œuf à la neige with praline rose (£5.50) for the sake of parking. I had blood orange soufflé with ginger ice-cream. Pretty presentation, we realised is de rigueur at Galvin's; ditto simple, classic dishes with a light touch. Meringue with a chewy marshmallow texture floated in vanilla speckled crème anglaise and then dissolved in the mouth, ephemeral as a cloud. My soufflé had puffed up nicely (bien sur!) and the orange flavour was concentrated.

If you imagine Edinburgh's restaurants as geological strata (indulge me) with the Michelin-starred establishments forming the upper crust,  Brasserie De Luxe slots snugly into the next layer alongside the likes of Ondine, The Honours, Mark Greenaway. It's up there.

Only on the way out did I bump into the chef Fraser Alan and had my light bulb moment. Jean-Michel was right, he is one to watch.



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