After an excellent dinner at Cafe Fish, the previous evening, the bar had been set pretty high for the second night of dining out with my chums visiting from Rome.
With restaurants rather busy after the Scotland v Italy rugby match, and my first choice of the Edinburgh Larder Bistro completely full, I thought the Bistro at Hotel du Vin might work out to be a decent choice. I’d not visited previously, but I’d heard enough good things to be confident that it would likely suit our purposes.
The building is an excellent combination of old and new. I’d popped in to the hotel for a quick drink, a few weeks ago, and remember thinking that the main dining area was rather smart. We were seated at a good table, which gave us a particularly good view of the temperature-controlled wine cabinets.
We were soon contemplating menus, and the extensive wine-list. We were in a meaty mood, so burgers proved a popular choice. I opted for the steak hache for main course, after deviating from the usual soup opener by dallying with a spinach souffle.
It’s worth pausing for a little word about the service. While helpful and terribly polite, I found things a trifle confusing, with a broad array of people serving us at various points through our meal. It became increasingly unclear who did what. There was definitely room for improvement, especially in terms of making the overall experience less uneven.
Starters were soon with us. The soups looked good, as did the mussels. My souffle wasn’t so visually arresting, as it was already on the sink when it was presented, and it also wasn’t an outstandingly handsome colour.
The dish proved to be light and airy, as a souffle should be, and the interior colour was a much more pleasingly intense green. It didn’t, however, pack much flavour.
My main course was a good deal better, with the chopped steak, which was sitting on a rosti and topped with a fried duck egg, proving a satisfying dish. Round the table, Lorenzo, Francesco, Chiara and Agnes were all happy with their burgers, and Massimo enjoyed his kitchen chicken, very much. The wine was excellent, too.
The tarte tartin and creme brulee were sampled, then we rounded things out with a selection of digestifs.
So overall, Bistro du Vin certainly met our post-match needs very nicely, but it didn’t quite hit the heights, for me. While the setting was lovely, and a jolly good time was had by all, I’m not sure the quality of the dishes was all that it could have been.
Blythe scores Bistro du Vin
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14.5/20
Today’s questers were: Agnes, Chiara, Francesco, Lorenzo, Massimo, Blythe
We ate: French onion soup (3), mussels, spinach souffle, burger (4), Normandy kitchen chicken, steak hache, creme brulee, tarte tartin
We drank: kir, red wine, Lagavulin, Glenmorangie, armagnac, calvados, espresso, water
We wore: post-rugby wear
Total bill: £255