As I alluded in my previous Falling for Scotland post about Edinburgh, making plans to dine at Chef Jerome Henry’s New Town restaurant, Le Roi Fou, resulted in madly majestic meal. Every bite of every dish (from the six course tasting menu) delighted as it confirmed why this months old fine dining destination was dubbed Best New Restaurant at this year’s Scottish Food Awards.
All hail the new king? Oh hell yes!
Best bites from the six courses (with a few surprises in between) came during the first and second platings: seared hand dived scallop with lemongrass broth and coriander, and oxtail consommé with foie gras escalope. The scallop was as delicate in flavour as it was intricate and complex, setting a luscious tone and opening the palate for more pleasures to follow. The foie gras was more deeply rich. But for such a hefty dish, it too was fairly delicate and demonstrated immense finesse and experienced kitchen craft (Chef Henry worked for years as Head Chef at Mosimann’s Dining Club in Belgravia and before that Head Chef at Les Trois Garcons in Shoreditch).
But just because those were my favourite two dishes, I don’t mean to diminish the wonders of what was served afterward. Roasted Hope Estate grouse with turnips and ras-el-hanout spiced sauce; and pan seared wild venison saddle with a mushroom sauce and spatzle both were eagerly consumed with carnivorous greed. Dining date Kemey’s pescatarian substitute dish of North Atlantic cod with fennel and saffron sauce wowed (and had me hankering to go for the fish when I make it back round to Le Roi Foi).
A decidedly Swiss cheeseboard (allowing Henry’s upbringing and culinary training in Switzerland shine bright) was a total treat, while a dessert of poire belle Hélène (poached pear with Valrhona chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream) was doubly delicious.
At £48, I found the tasting menu to be reasonably priced – or at least for my London inured wallet. Indeed, I reckon one could book a budget return flight from London, enjoy a leisurely lunch and head back and still come out ahead compared to what such a feast might cost at a restaurant of similar quality down south.
And for an extra £35, sommelier Sam Webber’s wine pairings were well worth the supplement. His selection of vinho verde with the scallop and Chateauneuf-du-Pape with the venison were particularly inspired. Webber’s choice of Fernando de Castilla sherry with the poached pear was probably my favourite quaff (and pairing) of the night.
Service was swift, cordial and knowledgeable about the menu. The dining area (owing much to Le Roi Fou cofounder Isolde Nash’s restrained approach) was cosy and elegant with minimal accouterments, a touch of Dada in artworks and a slight tip of the hat to Austrian architect Adolf Loos for a cosy bijou feel.
Reservations are recommended.
Le Roi Fou is located at 1 Forth Street, Edinburgh EH1 3JX. Find out more at leroifou.com.
Keep an eye out for more Falling for Scotland posts coming soon.