It is too easy to think of Hotel du vin as only for tourists; a hotel with a bar and restaurant attached. Having stayed with them in a number of other cities, I think they are a great place for a weekend break. In Edinburgh, it’s a rare festival that Caroline and I do not drop in to Hotel du vin when were are fed up with the madness of Teviot and George Square. It provides a safe place for that final chat with good friends over a whisky in the snug. Still, I often think we forget them when thinking of a good venue for dinner or drinks on a night out at home. So, on a cold January evening we popped into Hotel du vin’s restaurant, Bistro du vin.
January brings out our price-conscious side and the value of the prix fixe menu caught our eye. After requested a caraffe of Grenache, we ordered the Cheddar cheese fondue and charred mackerel to start, passing on the ham hock terrine.
To follow we choose the carrot & brussel sprout choucroutte on pappardelle pasta and pig’s cheeks braised in Thistly cross cider over the Devon crab cake or venison pie.
The Cheddar cheese fondue with ratte potato and Altamura sourdough was delicious! The thyme-flavoured toasted sourdough was lovely on its own and delicious when dipped into the rich fondue. Between ordering and delivery, I had forgotten that the fondue was Cheddar and I initially expected other flavours (I’m used to fondue made from left-over cheese); but I was soon soothed by the rich cheese. While Caroline and I both enjoyed the fondue, we had opposite views on the item to be dipped. I loved the bread and Caroline preferred the potato. It was true comfort food and kicked off a conversation on memories of ski trips and the rich treasures enjoyed in a mountain restaurants.
The mackerel was perfectly cooked, charred and slightly salty. The salt baked beetroot had great bite and flavour. Caroline liked this dish a lot. It was well balanced and delicate.
As I am not inclined towards Brussel sprouts, the kitchen were kind enough to prepare a version of the pappardelle without Brussel sprout sauerkraut. It was a decent portion of bright green kale pesto and home-made pasta, mixed through with a sweet and tasty carrots. Very good comfort food.
Caroline’s pig’s cheeks were perfectly tender and deliciously rich. Cider and pork goes so well and the jus served with the meat was sweet and fruity. The celeriac and potato mash with mustard was generous and silky.
While our stomachs were quite full, our eyes talked us into sharing a pudding. (We’d seen huge helpings of apple and blackberry crumble, and pretty triangles of chocolate tart pass as we ate our mains.) We agreed on the Valhrona chocolate tart and coffees. The tart was served with a tangy honey creme fraiche which proved particularly popular with Caroline. I focused on the tart. It was rich and luxurious and so generous with chocolate it was quite hard – more than one piece flew off the plate when cut (and was promptly hunted down and consumed).
We had a delightful meal in pleasant surroundings and I would recommend considering Bistro du vin for a good night when looking for somewhere to go for a nice meal. We’ve written about it before and enjoy the restaurants various menus. The prix fixe menu we tried this time gives you two courses for £18.95, three courses for £21.95.
11 Bristo Place
Edinburgh, EH1 1EZ
Telephone: 0131 285 1479
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Christopher and Caroline were invited to try Bistro du vin’s prix fixe menu.