Two courses for £14.40 at one of Edinburgh’s top addresses? Yes please!
Everyone likes to get a bit of a deal from time to time and we’re no different so when we read about Hadrian’s Brasserie at the Balmoral Hotel’s lunch and pre-theatre deal we added it to our list of places to try.
And try we did to book on a couple of Saturday evenings but they were full…..third time lucky.
Hadrian’s offers a set menu of two courses for £14.40 and three courses for £19.50 for lunch and pre-theatre and £18.50 and £23.50 respectively for dinner.  Each course comes with three options, so hopefully something for everyone.
The Brasserie is part of the Balmoral Hotel, situated under the clock tower at No1 Princes Street.  Once inside, the restaurant is really quite large and glitzy with immaculate staff gliding back and forward between the crisp tables.  The other dining option in the hotel is Michelin starred Number One.  This is also on our list for a very special evening when we really feel like splashing out.  One of their seven course tasting menus with matched wines comes in at about £220 per person….a bit out of our budget at the moment!
Our first job of the night was to choose something to drink.  Firstly we were presented with the very comprehensive wine list.   It seemed that our wee deal night out was going to get expensive with a glass of wine hovering around the £10 mark.  One of our waiters very kindly brought the beer menu so we decided to have an Innis and Gunn which was about £6.
Next we were brought a cute little Hadrian’s bread loaf and some salted butter.  The bread was delicious and disappeared in no time,  Maybe we should have kept some to have with our starters.
Delicious bread
First up I chose warm smoked salmon tart, mixed leaves and crème fraîche dressing whilst Raymond had potted beef brisket with sauce gribiche and sourdough bread.
My starter was simple and light with crisp pastry and a creamy salmon filling.  The tart was accompanied with crisp frisée lettuce which seems to be everywhere these days.  It would have been nicer with a crisp mixed green salad, but I suppose they need to keep the costs down to make the deal work.
Salmon Tart
Raymond’s potted brisket was nice too with good chunks of meat.  It also included sauce gribiche which is a mayonnaise style cold egg sauce made by emulsifying hard boiled egg yolks and mustard in a neutral oil like grapeseed oil (according to google).  The dish was served with a slice of toasted sourdough bread – lovely and crisp. The frisée lettuce also made an appearance.
Potted Brisket
Our waitress offered us a top up of bread, so we were delighted when she brought along another one of the delicious wee loaves for us.
For main course I had sea trout with new season carrots, saffron bouillabaisse and Raymond had butternut squash risotto with sage crisps.
I hadn’t had sea trout for ages but this was honestly the best I have tasted.  It was absolutely delicious.  The meaty fish worked so well with the bouillabaisse and I couldn’t stop raving about the taste.
Raymond’s risotto was also extremely flavoursome and a perfect texture.  The sage crisps were a little softer than he was expecting but still worked well.
We decided to share dessert – cherry rice condé with pistachio crumble, which came in 3 layers.  At the bottom a sort of cherry compote topped with rice and then the crumble on top.  It was a great end to the meal.   The sour cherry compote mixed with the creamy rice made for a much lighter dessert than we expected.   The pistachio crumble added colour, texture and crunch to the dish and was a welcome addition.
Cherry rice condé
We really enjoyed our pre-theatre meal at Hadrian’s and as you can see it’s a good deal.  You get to dine at Edinburgh’s No1 address, sample some great cooking, and you might even bump into royalty.
We were having a cocktail in the Balmoral Bar one night on our way home from an evening in town and next thing there was a flurry of activity and Prince Albert of Monaco and his entourage arrived.  You never know who will be there so keep your eyes peeled!
If you do decide to dine in Hadrian’s remember to book in advance so that you’re not disappointed.
1 Princes Street
Tel:0131 556 2414