Back in November, I made a long overdue visit to The Wee Restaurant’s Edinburgh outpost. It’s a bright space; cosy but not claustrophobic. We were delighted to be invited along to one of their special 4 course wine dinners (£50pp). Hosted with L’Art Du Vin, the evening was an opportunity to sample chef Craig Wood’s excellent cooking alongside some fantastic Alpine wines, presented to us by the knowledgeable Phillipe Larue.
Now, as a craft beer fanatic, I don’t drink much wine. And my head for detail was somewhat cloudy by the end of the night. So this review will focus on the food. Imagine it as an introduction to The Wee Restaurant, with a strong recommendation for attending a wine dinner!
We started with confit rabbit and truffle bon bon salad with boudin noir, celeriac remoulade, Reblechon cheese and a soft poached egg. Each element was beautiful. The rabbit was soft, the bon bon crispy and the boudin noir deeply savoury, whilst the remoulade was sweet. All that was missing was a jus, as the lovely oozy yolk wasn’t quite enough to bring everything together.
Wine: Gamay, Les Deux Cimes, Jamie McCulloch, Valais, Switzerland 2015. Ideal accompaniment: tangy, zingy and cut through the richness of the main.
Our main comprised maize-fed chicken and Montbeliard sausage ballotine with pomme Savoyarde, Swiss chard and a remarkably salty chicken jus. Nonetheless, it was a delightfully enjoyable dish, with a perfect example of ballotine. The chicken was soft and very moist; the sausage filling firm. The Savoyarde, a crispy potato cake, was a nice texture contrast.
Wine: Barbera d’Alba “Bric Quercia”, Tenuta Carretta, Piemonte, Italy 2013. Nicely offset the jus; an amazing soft, plump, fruity red, rounded and moreish.
In true French style, we then enjoyed cheese. Courtesy of local purveyor Iain Mellis, we shared a board with three cheeses, all fantastic quality and well curated. Sour crisp apple slices and a selection of delightful homemade oatcakes, light, crispy and seeded, each provided balance to the creamy cheese.
Wine: Savagnin “Poudre a Canon”, Domaine de la Borde, Jura, France 2014. A full-bodied sweet wine, lovely to sip whilst nibbling on an oatcake.
For dessert, we had something I’d never encountered. (Always a pleasure!) Oeufs a La Neige with crème Anglaise, toasted almonds and caramel sauce was a large, tooth-achingly sweet adventure in texture. It was a bizarre yet delicious combination of flaky meringue and smooth, gentle custard, crunchy almonds and flecks of caramel.
Wine: Cabidos Petit Manseng Doux Cuvee Gaston Phoebus, VDP des Pyrenees Atlantiques 2011. This white wine, although lovely, was perhaps a sweet step too far with dessert.
Overall, we had a wonderful time. Both our hosts from the restaurant and our wine expert were attentive and knowledgeable; passionate but not fussy. The food was contemporary, delicious and well delivered. Each wine was well explained, including a nice story about its origins, why it had been chosen and tasting notes. And all for a good value price. What’s not to like?
Keep an eye on The Wee Restaurant’s website for upcoming wine dinners, or stop by for a la carte any time.
Amy was invited to sample the wine dinner at the invitation of The Wee Restaurant.
61 Frederick Street
Edinburgh EH2 1LH