With Franco-phile originator of Edinburgh Foody, Danielle, now down south for a new life of baked goods and grandchildren, Team Edinburgh Foody 2.0 accepted an invitation to try the new Côte restaurant in Frederick Street and do a little bonding.
Côte’s USP is producing authentic French classics, freshly cooked to order, using ingredients of the highest quality. Corn-fed chickens from the heart of rural Brittany, pork rillettes and Charentais melons direct from the legendary Rungis market in Paris sit alongside classic ingredients such as English asparagus from Herefordshire, Breton tomatoes and mussels – featured only when in season.
Nicki and I were already familiar with the chain, having eaten many a time in London. Luckily, Côte’s specials menu changes monthly so there is always something new to try. I started with the July special of artichoke and goats cheese tartin, followed by the special of whole herb-crusted rack of lamb served pink with roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil potato puree and braised minted peas.
The chargrilled sourdough with soft goats cheese, roasted baby artichokes with black olive tapenade, was very salty and could have been complemented by a sweet red onion marmalade to cut through the saltiness (a personal preference). The rack of lamb was delicious albeit a huge portion, perfect for sharing. For dessert, I finished with the iced berries with white chocolate sauce, a go-to favourite, which was light and cleansing.
Although familiar with Côte I hadn’t visited before, but I found good Friday night vibes all round. The team opened with pissaladiere, a dense spread of soft, caramelised onions and delicate shavings of powerful reblochon cheese on crispy dough. It would’ve benefited from anchovies for a salty boost but was nonetheless satisfying.
To start I chose tomatoes Breton. Vivid, vinegary tomatoes, capers and salty black olives lounged on sourdough, drizzled generously in oil and served with whipped goats cheese. To follow I opted for veal escalope. The thin soft meat, lightly fried in breadcrumbs, was just how I remember it from childhood holidays.
I finished with chocolate mousse, the star of the meal. A coating of cocoa hid a large amount of light, airy mousse. It was neither too sweet, nor too dark and bitter. Despite being very full, I finished the lot.
I’ve now been to Côte Edinburgh three times and on each occasion the team have been extremely warm and welcoming. This outing en masse with the team was no exception. Ross was our waiter for the evening and he was brilliant, very attentive and also tolerant of our bad jokes. As for the food, I love fish, so had a double dose with prawns for starter and salmon with ratatouille for main, followed by my all-time favourite dessert, tarte tatin.
Côte is extremely generous with its portion sizes particularly the starters, so it’s no hardship to share at the start and keep the sweet treats to yourself. The salmon was cooked well and complemented by the colourful burst of vegetables in the ratatouille. Despite trying everyone else’s dishes that night I still managed to demolish the lovely warm apples and crisp pastry of the tarte tatin – a winner every time!
If there’s steak tartare on the menu, I will have it. Some people judge the quality of a restaurant from the cleanliness of the loos – I turn to the raw meat. Côte’s steak tartare is delightful, slippery with yoke and studded with tiny capers.
For mains, I had the Breton fish stew: vegetables and seafood in a tomato-y broth. I love picking mussels from their shells and undressing prawns. The stew was clean and hearty.
Staying with the simple theme, I had the ice cream coupe for dessert: vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. Simple. Perfect.
The front of the restaurant is brisk and light, café or bar style; the middle, where we sat, dark and intimate; the back a bright bistro. Upstairs, there’s more seating as well as a private dining room.
Fredrick Street has certainly had a facelift this year with lots of new arrivals. From the Wee Restaurant and Belted Burgers to Côte, there is something to tantalise everyone’s taste buds whether you are looking for the independent experience or the safety of an established chain. During the Festival there will be activity across the city with people looking for good places to grab some food between shows. Côte’s a great place to head to.
The EdinburghFoody team ate as guests of Côte Brasserie.
51 Frederick St,
Edinburgh EH2 1LH