When I graduated from university, many years ago, I came for a lunch with my mother and brother to Daniel’s Bistro, which used to occupy the premises that have recently been taken over by Bistro Provence. I’d visited on a few occasions since then, but hadn’t been for a while, so had missed the brief spell it had as Bistro Garrigue.
This new venture had opened just a few weeks ago, so it was unsurprising to find the decor looking nicely freshened. It felt rather more sharply stylish than the last time I’d visited.
I popped in at an odd time, having been trapped in a couple of meetings until 3:30pm. When passing in the morning, I’d noticed that they were open all afternoon, though, so was reassured that I’d find something suitable to meet my late lunch requirements.
In the slot between the end of lunch service (2:30pm) and the start of dinner (6pm), they run a day menu featuring a nice range of light dishes, snacks, and sweet treats. Fortunately for me, the snacks included soup, so I was quickly put at ease.
Indeed, the wonderfully attentive waiter offered me both the soup of the day, which was rosemary and butternut squash, and their seafood soup from the main a la carte, which was a nice touch. I opted for the former. Mention of a pear and Roquefort tarte was made, so I quickly said yes to that, too.
The soup soon arrived, looking plenty bonnie enough, and accompanied by a wonderfully crisp garlic crouton. It was an accomplished soup, with strong herby notes.
The tarte was elegant and flavour-packed. I could get all Gregg Wallace about the pastry, I suppose, but it’s rather safer just to say that it was highly enjoyable. The filling’s balance of flavours was really nicely judged, too, with this classic combination really hitting the spot.
So overall, Bistro Provence is a very impressive new addition to Leith’s parade of restaurant excellence. The menu radiates local freshness, and dishes are executed to a very high standard. I look forward to visiting at a more conventional hour, to sample more of the Gallic delights from their menu.
Blythe scores Bistro Provence
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 16/20
I ate: rosemary and butternut squash soup; pear and roquefort tarte
I drank: water, espresso
I wore: www.tieclub.co.uk tie
Total bill: £10.35