The Bonham Hotel sits in a sleepy corner of the West End, close to good restaurants and cafés but away enough to be a haven to guests. With the Bluezy Snoozy deal they’re inviting visitors to No 35, the Bonham’s restaurant, for the market menu, wine and live music. Christopher and I went last week.
This is the deal: three courses from the market menu and a bottle of wine for £25 per head. It runs Thursdays throughout August: 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd, and then the first Thursday of the month. Sounds good? I thought it did. This is what you can expect.
The market menu
The market menu offers a couple of choices per dish, one for carnivores, one for veggies. While we waited for our starters, we sipped the house rosé and eaves-dropped on the other tables. (It’s not rude, it’s part of the job.) It was a mixed audience: some where there for the music, some because they’d tried the deal before, some were staying at the hotel.
No 35’s dining room is relaxed with gold and purple velvet, dark wood and tiles. It’s a long room with large windows either side, cosy and comfortable. The black and white tiles floor looks sharp and the brass-studded armchairs were comfortable. Service was prompt and friendly.
I started with the slow cooked duck egg with asparagus, cured ham and grain mustard dressing. It was creamy and fresh, with a nice salty edge from the ham. Christopher had a generous helping of courgette and basil soup with parmesan croutons.
For mains, there were three options: lamb, battered cod or Jersey Royals. I went for the slow cooked lamb shoulder with black truffle espuma, roasted artichokes (I love artichokes!) and purple sprouting broccoli. The shoulder was meltingly soft, crisp on the outside, juicy in the middle and shredded easily under my fork. The artichokes and broccoli were cooked just so.
Christopher had the Jersey Royals with with Camembert sauce, leek ash and charred spring onions. It was a fun celebration of the potato with just enough sauce to make it interesting. The charred spring onion added a needed note of bitterness.
We could have mixed things up a bit by ordering from the à la carte menu, or added sides, but we wanted to stay true to the offer and stick to the market menu. We chatted, ate, enjoyed the music. (I have a question about protocol: when listening to live music while you dine, do you applaud or not? I found that often it wasn’t convenient but it felt rude not to show the guitarists my appreciation.)
The end of the night
There were two options for dessert, so we went for one each and then I ate most of both.
The vanilla crème brûlée was silky smooth and rich, as it should be, with a satisfyingly crunchy layer of burnt sugar on top. Christopher told me the short bread used to be legendary: they were certainly tender and delicious.
The cheese board was less inspiring: one hard sharp, one white mold, one blue, but I still ate everything Christopher left (except for the chutney. I can’t get my head around chutney). The blue was particularly good: properly ripe with a salty kick. The wine we’d picked worked well across the various dishes: sharp enough for cream, aromatic enough not to disappear completely against the lamb.
When I reached The Bonham Hotel at 18:30, when dinner service starts, a fourth of July party was underway in Drumsheugh Gardens. There were flags, a man in a hat, a barbecue and some very polite mingling. The festivities had finished when we left. The night held a chill but we walked home happily enough. We’d had a nice dinner with lovely music and enough wine to warm our cockles in comfortable surroundings. That’s good value for £25 per head.
35 Drumsheugh Gardens
Edinburgh EH3 7RN
The Bluezy Snoozy offer runs on the first Thursday of the month.
Caroline and Christopher were invited to dine by The Bonham Hotel.