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October 1, 2012
The Pompadour by Galvin

The 5pm blog had the very good fortune to eat at The Pompadour by Galvin last week.

It’s the latest restaurant from Jeff and Chris Galvin, the brothers behind the Michelin-starred Galvin Restaurant empire which, until now, only operated in London.

Waldorf Astoria

The Pompadour by Galvin on the first floor and the ground floor Galvin Brasserie de Luxe are both part of the Caledonian Hotel’s transformation into a Waldorf Astoria.

Craig Sandle, who previously headed up the Michelin-starred number one restaurant at The Balmoral, is in charge of bringing the Galvin brothers’ recipes to life at the Pompadour.

The brothers have every reason to be pleased with what Mr Sandle is doing. The stand-out dishes from our meal were:

An incredibly beautiful dish of sliced scallops, Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes that resembled the leaves of a flower

A delicate dish of crisp, baby summer vegetables where the acidity of the pickled beetroot slices was tamed by the sweetness of a goat’s cheese

An immaculate pear souffle – melting in the middle but with Demerara sugar crispy bits dotting the exterior

Show stopper

Good as they were, the show stopper was the Poulet en Vessie “Pompadour”. Designed for two, this was an entire chicken cooked in a pig’s bladder and and carved theatrically at the table.

The bird had had foie gras rubbed under the skin and into the flesh before being poached in Armagnac inside the bladder. The whole pig thing may sound a bit beyond the pale but it’s just an early version of cooking sous vide and won’t frighten anyone with a fondness for haggis.

The meat was moist but had bite; the foie gras gave it an earthy richness and the spirit lended just a hint of sharpness. I could eat it every day for a very long time before growing bored.

Destination venue

The Pompadour’s elegant interior has been sympathetically restored and it all looks suitably grand but not imposing. Factor in Peter Adshead, the charismatic and enthusiastic sommelier, and it all adds up to be a rather special destination restaurant.

It’s certainly good to see the Caley receiving some TLC. The Pomp is making no bones about its Michelin star aspirations and, over the coming few years, it is certainly going to give Edinburgh’s other grand hotel restaurants a run for their money.

Three courses at The Pompadour by Galvin cost £58. Say £100 a head with wine, aperitifs and a tip. Not cheap but on a par with its competitors and you will enjoy a meal that you will remember for a long time.

For extra romance, ask for table eight which has stunning views of Edinburgh Castle through a massive, semi-circle window.

The Scotsman has in-depth pieces on the hotel’s revamp here, here and, most recently, here.