Jazz Sunday – taking it easy at Galvin Brasserie de Luxe, Edinburgh

Galvin’s Brasserie de Luxe, the Pompoadour’s less formal sibling, is on the ground floor of the Caledonian Hotel. It’s a bright space, with white walls, blue leather seats, and wall panels in white tiles and dark wood that matches the tables. The restaurant has three rooms, the main one houses a large, elegant bar with copper fittings.

The food is distinctly French, with steak tartare and snails staples on the menu, as well as smoked salmon, oysters and crab. The wine list is interesting and varied and the service is attentive and friendly.

A good chunk of a well-matured Cheddar with interesting crackers is a satisfying way to end a meal.

A good chunk of a well-matured Cheddar with interesting crackers is a satisfying way to end a meal.

To make your Sunday afternoon perfect, the Galvin now has a jazz band playing on a Sunday. C. and I went to experience it.

Salmon rillette, fresh, moist and deliciously dill-flavoured.

Salmon rillette, fresh, moist and deliciously dill-flavoured.

The Jazz Sunday menu has a good variety of dishes. I was torn between the salmon rillettes, the salad of beetroot and whipped goats curd, and the charcuteries. In the end, I decided on the rillettes, and C. opted for the beetroot salad. Both dishes were delightful. The yellow and purple beetroot was tender, with a bit of added crunch from shavings of raw candy cane beets, balanced by the gentle acidity of the goats curd and the crunch of candied walnuts. The rillettes were moist and flavourful, with a good amount of the herb that I think goes best with salmon: dill. It was served with a thin sliver of rye bread and a tart and garlicky crème fraiche.

The room was full of couples and small groups enjoying a leisurely Sunday lunch. It was quite a mix of people, from young couples to families, which I enjoyed. The traditional British roast beef lunch was popular and the Yorkshire puddings were puffy and huge. That’s not what we had, though. For my main, I had sea trout with saffron braised squid, fennel and chickpeas. The skin on the sea trout was crispy, the flesh was meltingly tender. The squid was cooked to perfection, and the chickpeas, in their broth, were lovely.

Sea trout with saffron braised squid, fennel and chickpeas. I want that again.

Sea trout with saffron braised squid, fennel and chickpeas. I want that again.

Meanwhile, C. had lemon thyme gnocchi, fried to give a crispy side that makes me think of delicious potstickers, sautéed jerusalem artichoke and curly kale. I really enjoyed my taste of the gnocchi and they worked very well with the earthy flavour of the artichoke and kale.

The three-piece jazz band – guitar, keyboards and bass – played while we ate, bathed in sunshine where they were set up against the window next to the entrance. The tunes they played were up-beat and not too challenging to my untrained ear. The Galvin can be quite a loud space but the music adds atmosphere and cloaks individual conversations and gives you privacy. I enjoyed listening to the music and C. enjoyed watching the bass – bass was his instrument.

Oeuf de neige is crunch, soft , delicate and creamy, all at the same time. Delish!

Oeuf de neige is crunch, soft , delicate and creamy, all at the same time. Delish!

For dessert, I was torn again: whether to have the oeufs à la neige, chocolate marquise or buttermilk panacotta? Oeufs à la neige it was. Christopher opted for the mature cheddar, a crumbly cheese with a long, palate tickling flavour and a distinct scent of wax and  that slight hint of ammonia you get with a very mature cheese. The ‘snow-eggs’ were lovely. A firm but light meringue tasted almost salty on its own which was perfect with the the sweet, rich vanilla custard. A good sprinkling of almond praline added crunch and delicate flavour.

The Jazz Sunday lunch can be adjusted for the size of your stomach and pocket: have two courses for £24, or three for £29.

Galvin Brasserie de Luxe

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian
Rutland Street
Edinburgh EH1 2AB

Telephone: 0131 222 8988
Book online.

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About Caroline von Schmalensee

Cooking, eating and drinking is fun as well as necessary. I do food for fun and I write for a living. Good food makes the world a more delicious and satisfying place. Good writing, meanwhile, can make the world a less confusing place.

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  1. Pingback: Wine and cheese masterclass at Galvin Brasserie Deluxe | Edinburgh Foody

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