After spending the early part of the evening at The Bakehouse, listening to some interesting perspectives on the business of food writing, not least from the lovely Nadine Pierce, a fellow Edinburgh victualographer, I headed along the road, intent on dining in the style to which I have grown accustom.
Accordingly, I thought I’d give Librizzi, a smart looking Italian, on the corner of Queen Street and North Castle Street, a go. It has long been a place of curiosity to me, as I’ve often wondered about it, but not heard too many first hand accounts.
I found the place, which is styled much like a French brasserie, somewhat quiet on my visit. I generally find that dinner in a sparsely populated restaurant is a good opportunity to catch up on things, and this evening was no exception.
I fancied soup, not for the first time, then placed myself in the waiter’s hands for main course selection. They offer a range of seafood specialities, so I asked for him to select from them, with his recommendation being the tuna, served in a tomato and pepper sauce, full of citrus zing.
The soup, which was of an intriguing sounding tomato and beetroot variety, arrived promptly and looked quite bonnie, with neatly effected cream swirls. It was good and an enjoyable start to proceedings.
The tuna steak that followed wasn’t the moistest item in history, but the sauce was palette pleasing.
The accompanying vegetables were quite interesting. At first sight, they looked much like a standard plate of accompaniments, but they proved to be a little smarter than that. The carrots were covered in fennel seeds, the broccoli heavily garlicky, and the cauliflower lightly cheesed. The sauteed potatoes were plain, but appropriately so.
Things were rounded out with good espresso. The wine, a fruity Sicilian white, was good, too.
I’m not so green as to claim that I didn’t know what was coming, when the bill arrived, but it still had me shuddering to my boots. The total cost was £46.75. That comprised soup, tuna (£22 – the prices of the seafood specials are not listed on the menu, as they are ever changing based on freshness, although you are invited to ask the waiter for the price, an option I didn’t exercise), side vegetables, a half bottle of wine, espresso, and a bottle of mineral water.
As you’ll gather from the words above, the meal was good, but it was nowhere near the quality of the city’s better Italians. In terms of a value proposition, Librizzi is a complete bust. It’s a shame, because the place is smartly turned out, the service welcoming, and the food perfectly acceptable. But until they revisit their pricing, greatly increase their quality, or preferably both, I couldn’t recommend it as a place for you to dine.
Blythe scores Librizzi
3.5/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 13.5/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: tomato and beetroot soup; tuna in tomato, pepper and lime sauce, with vegetables
I drank: Sicilian white wine, water, espresso
I wore: navy three piece
Total bill: £46.75
North Castle Street