Hotel Missoni (now the G & V Hotel) sits just off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The Bar has a very different vibe from other hotel bars. It is a functional space where you can meet colleagues or wait for a friend to come out of the shower, as you’d expect a hotel bar to be. But it is also a comfortable, colourful space. Here, you can get a coffee, or a cocktail. They also serve food and it was to check out the new bar menu, and plan the year ahead, EF and I visited Bar Missoni (now the Bar at G & V Hotel) Thursday night in January.
We talk a lot about the importance of not just good food but also a warm welcome and a pleasing environment. The staff were very friendly and helpful even before we confused them by announcing that we were there to talk to the bar manager and try out some of the bar menu. And we didn’t make it easy for them: in a rare mix-up we turned up one day early. We might have caused confusion, but they accommodated us with charm.
The food is prepared in the Cucina kitchen so there are some very nice things on the menu. We were looking at the new sharing platters in particular, but could not resist ordering the zucchine fritte on the side of the cheese and classic Italian platters.
Generous sharing platters
Sharing platters sometimes aren’t worthy of the name. I’m greedy and I often don’t think there’s enough on a platter for me to share with anyone, at least not if I’m hungry. That was not a problem here. We couldn’t finish all the food we got. (Of course, the zucchine fritte had something to do with that.)
Cheese and meat are filling and we had good amounts of both. I really enjoyed the generous serving of salami and proscuitto, served in large, meaty roses with toasted bread, pickled onions, sun-dried tomatoes and enormous green and black olives. I’m not normally a fan of pickled onions but these were sweet pickled so less sharp than I expected. They added nice crunch and contract to the rich meats. The olives were lovely, the greens ones juicy and tart, the black ones rich and almost cinnamon-flavoured.
The cheese platter came with toasted fruit bread and honey, both very nice accompaniments to cheese. We had generous servings of Toma, Peccorino, Gorgonzola and Parmesan. If you haven’t had Gorgonzola with honey before, try it soon. It works ever so well. The sultana bread was a revelation. It’s sweetness was a perfect foil for the punchy flavour and almost crumbly textures of Peconrio and Parmesan.
We didn’t try the vegerarian platter but that looked good too: carrots and hummus, endive and olive oil dip, cauliflower with Gorgonzola sauce. The menu has other options too, from simple sides like chips to mains like salmon on rye, Scarmoza sallad and soup.
I misread the menu and expected courgette fritters instead of the skinny courgette fries that we ordered. It was a pleasant surprise. Fine-cut juliennes of courgette had been battered, deep-fried and salted. They were pretty and very moreish despite having less courgette flavour than I had maybe expected. The battered juliennes made me think of whitebait, not because of flavour or look but purely because of method. “Ah”, I thought, stuffing my mouth full of golden green fries, “I wonder what else you can treat this way…” I might have to experiment with other vegetables. We had a glass of prosecco with our platters and there was something very indulgent in the combination of fritte and pear-scented sparkly.
Light and airy tiramisu
We were full but not too full for dessert. Unfortunately, they only serve the bombolini (custard-filled doughnuts) until three in the afternoon so we tried the cake of the day – a plain but pleasant sponge – and the tiramisu. I like the idea of coffee, cream, cake and chocolate, but often when I have tiramisu I feel disappointed. It’s too heavy, there’s too much cream. This version was a little different: cool, coffee-soaked cake was topped with light-as-air vanilla foam, or a very airy zabaglione-style sauce. It was light, refreshing and very, very good.
We enjoyed our evening at G & V. Marika, who looked after us, was lovely, and the bar, with its joyous colour and patterns, is really fun.