Recently, I met Christopher after work and we decided to go for dinner somewhere. We were on George Street, walking towards the West End, so I suggested La P’tite Folie. We’ve reviewed them before but it’s time for an update: what’s happened in the last three years?
La P’tite Folie was a group of two authentic French restaurants, one in Tudor House and one on Fredric Street. The latter is now The Wee Restaurant Edinburgh. Tudor House remains and is augmented by Le Di-Vin, the wine bar at the back of the building. (One of my top picks for wine and cheese.)
La P’tite Folie has an upstairs and a downstairs. I really like the tiny down-stairs, with the large windows out onto the street. It’s more informal than the room upstairs, large windows to the street and French posters giving a relaxed feel. Down-stairs is where we sat this time, at an intimate table in a corner. We hadn’t booked, so only had the table for two hours but knew that would be enough. It irritates me when a place gives you two hours for dinner and then waits half an hour to take your order. Not so here. Bread and salad – to whet our appetite – were promptly served, our orders taken, wine brought and, before long, our starters arrived.
Christopher started with the soup, tomato and barley, and I had the scallops with celeriac and truffle puré. They were absolutely lush. ‘I see you didn’t like it,’ the waitress said with a wink when she collected my plate. I’d mopped every last bit of juice with a spare piece of baguette: my plate looked pristinely clean.
The menu is thoroughly French: you can expect seafood, meat and fowl with traditional seasonal accompaniments. The food is well sourced and cooked with respect. We usually ask what the vegetarian option is before sitting down – it’s on the menu as ‘vegetarian’ – just in case it’s something Christopher can’t eat. It was a parcel of grains and celeriac served with beetroot and tomatoes, so we were good. Omnivores are well served at La P’tite Folie, vegetarians, especially picky ones, can have problems.
Plates are attractive and tasty. I’m usually torn between a few different options, often coming down on the side of fish. This time, however, there was liver on the menu and I just couldn’t pass it up. It was cooked to perfection and came with creamy mash, a delicious jus, onions, pancetta and broccoli. It was the perfect combination of refined and comforting. I loved it and would have mopped that plate completely clean too if we hadn’t already eaten the bread.
The dessert menu is traditional: creme caramel, cheese, usually a tart of some kind. Trusty, delicious classics. We were tempted by the chocolate and praline tart. Sadly, there was no praline but the chocolate tart was good as it was. A rich ganache in a crisp casing. Sometimes there’s Colonel, lemon sorbet served with a shot of vodka. I like light, fruity desserts, especially boozy ones.
It’s always interesting to study your fellow guests. IT was a Friday and couples were out for dinner, either like us, just because, or to celebrate something, friends were meeting after work, and people were on dates. We had fun guessing at table constellations and stealing glimpses of other people’s plates.
We finished with coffee and an avec: amaretto for Christopher, armagnac for me. We paid and left before our time was up without feeling hurried at any point.
After a thoroughly satisfying and pleasant dinner we joined the people walking the pavements of the West End looking for the next place to go to. When you start the evening with French produce and service, you want to continue that way. From one of our favourite restaurants to one of our favourites wine bars.
I always enjoy myself at La P’tite Folie. The food is always good, there’s always more than one thing on the menu I want to eat, and the service is always brisk and friendly. If you like authentic French, go!
9 Randolph Place
Telephone: 0131 225 8678