We went to the same place twice in the same week. The two experiences were both worth writing about, so consider this a By One Get One Free reader offer!

Blythe’s Verdict (1)
Aside from my beloved Domenico’s, The Bonham, on Drumsheugh Gardens, is probably the restaurant in Edinburgh where I’ve eaten most regularly. It’s five minutes from my house, and when LQ: Istanbul’s Mina and Patrick used to live in Edinburgh, their flat was even closer than that. So, it was with much nostalgia that we headed there, after two distinctly average quests, to Cucina and Sygn.

The Bonham is a boutique hotel, with a restaurant that seats around 50 covers. It’s a classically wood-panelled town house design, with smart tables matching the warm and welcoming feel of the room. We were seated at a large round table, to which sparkly water was brought while we contemplated our choices.

The Bonham does an a la carte menu, full of absolutely first-class dishes, but we usually rely upon the briefer, but equally spectacular market menu, which delivers you three courses for £20. You have three choices to pick from for starter, main, and dessert.


A little amuse bouche of coley cake with basil cream kicked things off.


On this occasion, both Patrick and I opted for the spiced parsnip soup, with Mina going from the a la carte for the chanterelle risotto. The soup was first class, as we’ve come to expect, and the risotto, of which I sampled a little spoonful, was excellent.


We ordered one of each from the main course options from the market menu: I had coley on a bed of seafood spatzle with Jacqueline sauce; Mina chose the fricassee of truffle gnocchi with squash and hazelnuts; and Patrick went for the braised shoulder of lamb with beans and a tarragon jus.


To say the dishes were good would be a colossal understatement. My coley was supremely good, with the foamy Jacqueline sauce just lovely. I had a little taste of the gnocchi and it was sensational, like a lovely pillowy cloud.


I topped this off with a little cheese board, featuring Dunsyre blue and Pont L’Eveque.


Patrick had a slice of Tuscan cake that was apparently full of light almond goodness.


A plate of deadly petit fours put a 5/5 score for the food beyond doubt, before we repaired to the lounge for post dinner espresso.


I was very happy in the knowledge that I would be returning for part two of this quest on Sunday.

Blythe’s Verdict (2)
Part two of the quest began in uncharacteristically sunbathed conditions. I gently lolloped along the short journey to The Bonham (in previous days it was judged at precisely 1 fag’s distance from my humble abode; these days around 7 minutes), gently glowing from the singular bliss of a hangover-free Sunday.

Aside from the gentle joy of introducing some well-established friends to the freshly-formed concept of Lunch Quest, today marked the day when our youngest lunch quester yet, Ruby Mae, joined the honour-roll of questers.

When I arrived, Danny, Clo and Ruby had been seated in suitable majesty. Michael soon arrived to round out our party. Our menu contemplations settled upon a good array of dishes.

Clo started with Mina’s favourite, the mushroom risotto.


Danny and Michael chose the hock and trotter croquette.


Do I have to tell you what I chose?


My carrot soup was excellent. There is little more to add. Clo was very happy with the risotto, and although the croquette precipitated some adverse reaction from our high-chair seated guest of honour, I think Danny and Michael both approved.

After a little gentle reassurance, Clo chanced the braised ox cheek, to follow. Danny opted for the duck, with Michael and I plumping for the sea trout.

When the dishes arrived, I had serious envy for the ox cheek, which looked every bit as good as the spale bone beef I had in Leith Lynx, a few weeks ago. Its consummate fally-apartness upon being introduced to cutlery confirmed my suspicions. It was the unmistakable star dish of the day.


Danny’s duck looked very tempting, but he was not a fan of its tough cabbage accompaniment. Danny barely ate a single green vegetable before his age of majority, but has become a keen green consuming machine in recent times. However, anything that throws a pebble in front of his cruciferous crusade is to be considered rather negatively.


My sea trout, served on a bed of pearl barley risotto, with citrus foam, was an excellent marriage of flavours and textures. I was highly pleased with it, and glad I’d chosen its crisp lines, however longingly I eyed the ox cheeks.


For dessert, Danny and I opted for cheese. Michael chose the indulgent chocolatey thing, and Clo picked the classic bread and butter pudding.

The chocolate ice-cream didn’t quite work as an appropriate accompaniment for Clo, but the pudding itself was rich, soft, fruity goodness.


Michael seemed happier with the cassis sorbet than this decadent diamond of chocolate, but still rated the dish as highly pleasing.


Our cheese board, which featured a soft goat’s cheese and a hard, flavour-packed cheddar was entirely pleasing.


Coffees arrived, with nice little brownie accompaniments, to round off an excellent afternoon.

Across both quests, The Bonham has shown itself to be an excellent venue, consistently producing dishes of true imagination, boldness, and balance. It’s another gem of the West End, and one you should consider visiting, at your earliest convenience.

Scores

Out of 20, Blythe scores The Bonham (1):
5/5 for food
5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 18/20

Out of 20, Mina scores The Bonham:
5/5 for food
5/5 for presentation
5/5 for service
5/5 for setting
giving an overall 20/20

Out of 20, Patrick scores The Bonham:
5/5 for food
5/5 for presentation
5/5 for service
5/5 for setting
giving an overall 20/20

Out of 20, Clo scores The Bonham:
4.5/5 for food
4.5/5 for presentation
5/5 for setting
5/5 for service
giving an overall 19/20

Out of 20, Michael scores The Bonham:
4/5 for food
5/5 presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 17/20

Out of 20, Danny scores The Bonham:
3/5 for food
5/5 for presentation
5/5 service
4/5 setting
giving an overall 17/20

Out of 20, Blythe scores The Bonham (2):
4/5 for food
5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 17/20

Out of 20, Ruby scores Lunch Quest:
4/5 for entertainment
4/5 for Godfathering skills
4/5 for allowing me to eat ceaselessly
4/5 for excellent snoozing opportunities.
giving an overall 16/20

Today’s Lunch Questers were: Ruby, Mina, Michael, Clodagh, Danny, Patrick, Blythe (twice).

We ate (1): coley and basil amuse bouche, chanterelle risotto, spiced parsnip soup, braised shoulder of lamb, fricassee of truffle gnocchi, roasted coley, cheese board, petit fours.

We ate (2): carrot soup, wild mushroom risotto, pork hock and trotter croquette, braised ox cheek, roasted breast of mallard duck, sea trout with pearl barley risotto, bread and butter pudding, dark chocolate moelleux and cassis sorbet, cheese board.

We drank (1): sparkly water.

We drank (2): house red, water, coffees.

We wore (1): tied back hair, Muzo’s trousers (frickin’ love that guy), regulation pinstripes.

We wore (2): Superdry shirt, round the waist grey jumper, floral smock dress, Argyll socks, leopard print loafers.

Total bill (1): £60
Total bill (2): £105

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Written by TheDudley