Brasserie Prince shows off fine French dining in Edinburgh

A NEW French restaurant has opened in Edinburgh and its dishes are dazzling affairs. On a recent rainy lunchtime, we took refuge at Brasserie Prince – a gorgeous green-hued space that occupies the ground floor of the luxurious Balmoral hotel on bustling Princes Street. Initiated by legendary French father-and-son chefs Michel Roux and Alain Roux, whose iconic michelin-starred restaurants include the Waterside Inn and Le Gavroche, the brasserie is intended to show off the best of Scotland’s produce through classic French cooking. It’s a great idea and, importantly, one that is pulled off well.

The green-hued dining room at the Brasserie

Being based at a Rocco Forte hotel, a certain charisma is expected, and thankfully it was discernible during our visit. We were greeted by the brasserie’s brilliant manager, who took care of us all afternoon, and promptly seated in a cosy banquetted corner. As well as an à la carte menu that includes items from the raw bar, a substantial list of mains and some interesting sharing platters, there is a decent set menu that offers respite from the high prices that dominate.

Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux – Normany onion soup

To start, we opted for something that would really test the brasserie’s skills. Could the kitchen deliver that most classic of French dishes, Normandy onion soup? Arriving in a small couldron, with a frothy disc of melting cheese sizzling on its surface, this was one of the best onion soups we have experienced to date. Thick and creamy, with a stunning aroma, this was certainly the real deal.

Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux – Armoricaine Monkfish with Carmague wild rice

For our main course, we were curious by the diverse fish options on offer, highlighting the excellence of sea produce in this region. As delightful as salmon is, we decided to be adventurous and opted for a classic dover sole meunière, served on the bone, and a Armoricaine monkfish accompanied by Camargue wild rice. Both were delicious, high-quality preparations that thrilled with their simplicity and freshness.

After such generous portions, dessert was certainly not a neccessity, but with gorgeous options on offer – Rum baba bouchon, vanilla mille-feuille – it would have been criminal not to try something. We went for a slice of Black Forest gâteau with griottines cherries, a very subtle dish that was creamy and not too sweet.

Views from the Brasserie Prince

Given the enthusiastic crowds that occupied the lunchtime seating, and that stayed well into the late afternoon as we did, it looks as though the Brasserie Prince will become a mainstay in Edinburgh. It’s a lively, charming space and I am still thinking of the dishes that we ate.

by Derby Jones

Brasserie Prince at The Balmoral
1 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ
Tel: 0131 557 5000

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