While the Bijou Bistro may not have been on Blythe’s radar, I spotted it ages ago on my runs around Leith Links and have been seeking a reason to give it a go. What better reason than to pop by there and then run off to catch a bus right around the corner?
The interior of the bistro is quaint and small. I love the cornicing and the use of space, but I’m not one of those who likes to see into the kitchen and watch the magic, so I would next time sit where I cannot see directly into the cooking zone. Though, there are a few enviable corner tables that I can see myself squirreling time away with my computer and getting on with some of this work that needs to be tackled. It has a certain charm.
After glancing at the menu, I was aware that I was still not 100% over my cold and on my way out to do some endurance work, so I was not the brave soul Blythe was with the heavy meal. I therefore opted for an omelette. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good omelette, and have been working on perfecting them for a while, so I thought it would be a good dish to judge a place on, as well as being light enough that I would not be seeing it again in an hour.
The coffee did the job, but the omelette was a bit sad. There was nothing wrong with it. In fact, if I had been given this by anyone in their house, I would be quite pleased, but as it was, there was nothing special that made me willing to part with my cash for it again. Though, the chive oil that was drizzled alongside and heavily rich with chives was nice.
That being said, maybe I ordered incorrectly? The dishes coming out to the other tables were ablaze with colours and smells that made me envious. Perhaps I should have better used my ability to see into the kitchen to have made a more judicious choice in lunches. Ah well, there is always next time; where I bet a bit of dinner would be a better option.
It’s always a treat to find somewhere new, or more accurately somewhere established, but that hasn’t popped up on the radar, previously.
Much in the same way that the excellent Elbow had eluded my eye until I joyously visited it, Bijou Bistro wasn’t somewhere that had registered, until MJ suggested it as a good location for a Sunday stop. As with Elbow, I blame a slightly betwixt and between location for my lack of awareness.
Upon entering, the place seemed bright and charming, and the friendly waiter showed us to the last available table, as things were busy. The place, as the name suggests, is compact, but they appeared to be doing a roaring trade, as a number of folk were turned away, during our stay, due to a full house.
The menu offers a wide range of dishes in a broad range of sizes. I’m a bear of very little brain and frankly this confused the hell out of me. Did I want a “bijou” portion of this, a “medium” portion of the other, and a “main” of something else?
All I wanted was a bowl of soup and a burger. The menu hinted that I would be making a choice of five different sizes. In the end, the waiter only asked if I wanted a large or small soup. Was he as confused as I was, maybe?
Anyway, I ordered the mushroom and garlic soup, followed by the spinach and falafel burger. MJ opted for the omelette. We accompanied things with water and coffees, espresso for me, americano for MJ.
The soup arrived most promptly. It looked rather neat. The soup proved to be very good, with lots of rustic mushroom goodness packed in to a satisfyingly creamy broth. I was pleased with it.
Main courses weren’t so good. I would not have been at all delighted with MJ’s omelette, as it didn’t look anything like a restaurant quality dish.
My spinach and falafel burger, on sesame seed bun, was served with good fries and fresh side salad. The burger, itself, was light on flavour, and rather tame. Although the veggie burger I ate at Rock Lobster, recently, had a truly insane amount of cumin associated with it, at least it was a bold (too bold, by far) dish. The idea of boldness would have frightened this dish from the room.
So while the soup at Bijou Bistro was very good, other aspects were rather less successful. This is a crying shame, as the place is smart, the welcome friendly, and the menu definitely has some dishes that sound very promising. There is clearly a market for this understated approach, but it didn’t find favour with me. Perhaps we ordered poorly, but on the basis of our visit, today, I can’t see that I’ll be rushing back.
MJ scores Bijou Bistro
2.5/5 for food
2.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 12/20
Blythe scores Bijou Bistro
3/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 13/20
Today’s questers were: Miriam, Blythe
We ate: omelette with tomato and mushrooms; cream of mushroom and garlic soup; spinach and falafel burger
We drank: water; coffees
We wore: awesome roller derby gear; rathe pedestrian walking wear
Total bill: £19.80