Victoria Street and its continuations boast some really high-quality shops, restaurants and cafés. MJ, when not inside tweed shop Walker Slater, can often be found gazing longingly into their window. Together, we’ve had many enjoyable visits to Hula, and recently I had a lovely visit to the Grain Store, with today’s guest quester, Patrick. Throw in that cheese merchant, Mellis’ had a fresh shipment of Brockhall Farm’s capra nouveau, today, and there’s a good argument for this being one of Edinburgh’s most joyous stretches.
Today’s visit to these exulted parts, took us to Maison Bleue. With its distinctive blue exterior, the place is homely and charming, serving a menu of French classics with a contemporary, locally sourced twist.
Rosabelle, completing her flying, twenty hour visit to our fair city, joined Patrick and I, after a little walk up Arthur’s Seat had been the focus of her morning.
Their set lunchtime menu sounded like an excellent deal, with two courses offered at the bargain price of £8.95. This proved to be excellent value.
Rosabelle opted for the warm salad to start, then couldn’t resist trying some quality Scottish beef, in the shape of good-sized ribeye (£5.50 supplement). Patrick started with the traditional lamb-bits goodness of haggis, then followed with poussin in a garlic cheese sauce. My soup of the day, which proved to be French onion, was followed by lamb au ras el hanout.
Our gloriously attentive waitress, who along with the excellent manageress combined to deliver some of the most accurate, friendly and well-judged service we’ve received in a good wee while, brought good bread and olive oil/balsamic for us to play with, while our starters were prepared.
They followed, shortly, and looked highly accomplished. I particularly thought the salad looked good, and that’s not something I say or think, every day. My soup was pretty good, but what really elevated it was a very tasty gruyere crouton. All too often, this element of the classic French onion soup is either too firm or too soggy, or the cheese is somewhat characterless. This example, where there was firm crispness and mountains of tangy goodness to the cheese, was as good as I’ve had, and redeemed what was an otherwise slightly routine soup.
Of the main courses, I think Rosabelle’s steak might just have been the winner. It was wonderfully tender. Patrick was happy with his poussin, too. My lamb was extremely tender, with warm Moroccan spicing. It was a highly comforting plate of joy, and I’d happily order it again.
Patrick still had room for dessert, so opted for a strawberry-topped chocolate mousse. Espresso was taken by all, too.
Overall, I thought Maison Bleue was incredibly charming. Aside from the immaculate service, the warm and cosy surroundings are lovely, and the quality and presentation of the food is high. In terms of lunchtime value, their offering is right up there with the best Edinburgh has to offer. I’d highly recommend you paying the place a lunchtime visit, soon.
Blythe scores Maison Bleue
3.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 16/20
Today’s questers were: Rosabelle, Patrick, Blythe
We ate: haggis balls, poached egg-topped warm salad of peppers, chorizo and olives, onion soup, ribeye steak, boursin poussin, spiced lamb shoulder, pommes chateaux
We drank: water, red wine, cola drink, espresso (3)
We wore: alternative hiking shoes, cola drink infused top, gold tie
Total bill: c.£55