The combination of excellent food, a lovely setting and a win for Scotland’s rugby team provided a friend and I with the loveliest of Sunday afternoons in Edinburgh.
We were invited to try Ondine’s special brunch menu put together for the Scotland v France game for the Six Nations.
Ondine has been on my list of Edinburgh eateries to try for quite sometime, having heard more than a few times how delicious their food is.
With chef patron Roy Brett at the helm, Ondine is a seafood restaurant that takes itself seriously without being pretentious and stuffy. With a curved, horseshoe Oyster bar in the centre of the room, there’s a lovely sociable atmosphere as soon as you walk in.
To begin with we both enjoyed a deep fried oyster served with jalapeño mayonnaise and a glass of champagne. I must confess to never having tried oysters before but this deep fried version felt like a good way to ease myself in. Salty and garlicky, the oyster was perfect with the mayo which provided just the right amount of heat.
Next it was on to our fishy starters. My friend opted for the fish and shellfish soup with Comté cheese, croutons and rouille (£9). This was wonderfully rich and hearty while also requiring no further seasoning at all. It was also the perfect temperature for her to tuck in right away without scalding her tongue.
My potted shrimp with crumpets and cucumber pickle (£13) was a lovely dish to slowly nibble my way through. The warm crumpets which were dusted with ground nutmeg might have even convinced me to try baking again. The shrimp itself tasted incredibly fresh and succulent.
While my companion chose the slight more delicate main of wild halibut with parsley sauce and creamed potatoes (£29), I decided to go all cave man and plumped for the Orkney rib of beef with double fried eggs (£39). Although I’d requested my meat to be cooked medium-rare, it arrived looking a little more on the rarer side.
Still, the beef was tender and the eggs boasted the richest of orange yolks. As a little side, I was given a portion of Ondine’s triple cooked chips to try which were glorious. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I don’t feel the need to add any seasoning to a meal and this was one such occasion.
The halibut was cooked very well and the onion chutney was deliciously tangy and punchy while the mash was amazing, most definitely packed with lots of butter and cream.
When it came to dessert I couldn’t resist the caramel chocolate mousse with coffee cream and honeycomb (£8) and as my friend is a certified rhubarb fanatic, the pavlova (£8) made with a compote using exactly that didn’t stand a chance.
Just like the dishes before, the desserts were as pretty as they were tasty – the pavlova looking like a giant white Hershey’s kiss dusted in pink. The rhubarb itself was tangy and sharp but not too sour and the cream balanced it perfectly. The mousse was a gorgeous silky texture and the flavours of caramel and coffee complimented one another wonderfully.
Each dish was presented beautifully and staff were always on hand to top up our water and check in through out the meal. Once we had devoured our desserts we each enjoyed a pot of tea as we sat back to watch the rugby. Perhaps something to do with the fact Scotland was winning, the restaurant had a very warm and friendly atmosphere, perfect for a Sunday afternoon.