Broughton Street has always had its own sense of eclectic style, and its restaurants are no exception. There is something for everyone here from fun in the Basement to a romantic tasting menu in Seasons. If you fancy a bit of both, then look no further than Le Roi Fou on Forth Street. The former BurgerMeatsBun has been Farrow & Balled into a chic French neighbourhood restaurant with some serious cooking credentials. This is chef Jerome Henry’s and partner Isolde Nash’s first restaurant, and he promises much having been head chef at Les Trois Garcons and Anton Mosimann’s private member’s club.
When we arrived at 7 pm on a Thursday evening, the place seemed quite calm and subdued as we were ushered to our table by our perfect hostess. There are a few menus to choose from including pre-theatre (two courses £17.50 or three for £21.50), à la carte, Friday and Saturday lunch (two courses £15.50) and a tasting menu (£48 and £35 for the paired wines). The wine list also covers a lot of ground, and they have quite a few by the glass which is always welcome. By the time Donnie had finished his first glass of prosecco, the restaurant had filled up with a jolly mixture of locals exchanging pleasantries and curious visitors waiting eagerly to see what was going to appear from the kitchen.
There are a couple of tables in the window at the front of the restaurant with the rest in the rear dining room. This area felt a bit underdressed with bare walls that could do with a picture or two – it is the restaurant des artistes after all. Tables here are also fairly cosy with the overlong tablecloths in danger of causing a commotion when getting up to pay a visit to the loo. We loved the lively atmosphere, helped along by the staff who are all very professional but relaxed enough to chat with customers allowing their enthusiasm and love for the restaurant to shine through.
We started our food journey with a simple but delicious Provençal amuse bouche of panisse (chickpea flour and olive oil) served with a light artichoke puree and drizzled with a beautiful pale olive oil.
The olive oil here tastes fresh and matches the quality of the warm home-made focaccia which was a nice diversion while we were waiting on our starters to arrive. We could happily have munched on this all night.
My chowder arrived and was thick with delicious chunks of Hebridean crab with turnip, tangy buttermilk and a scattering of chives. I loved the freshness of the dish, and it was a generous serving accompanied by homemade oatcakes that were more like a steamrollered rye cracker – wish I’d said yes to another basket of the focaccia.
Donnie had three juicy scallops that were perfectly seared and served with a summery confit of tomato and beans drizzled with a tangy lemon oil. This dish looked and tasted fresh, dotted with finely sliced cucumber, radish that gave everything a light crunch.
Mains at Le Roi Fou
For the main course I decided to go for a beautifully moist and flaky piece of Atlantic cod that came with a soup spoon to make the most of the sunny saffron sauce, and I didn’t waste a drop of the precious liquor. Dill featured quite heavily throughout the menu so if you’re not a fan, avoid the seafood or mention it to your waiter!
No dill in sight for Donnie’s main which was a juicy pork loin sitting on a bed of spring vegetables covered in a glossy herb sauce. Donnie doesn’t eat pork very often, but he loved the crumbled pieces of blood sausage lurking underneath that soaked up the sauce and meat juices making the whole dish very satisfying.
Room for dessert?
We couldn’t come to a French restaurant and not have dessert and we were spoilt for choice. Mine was a new take on a strawberry dish – an intensely fragrant warm strawberry crumble. The chunks of syrupy sweet oats were chewy and a scattering of pistachios gave everything a delicious crunch. A generous scoop of tangy crème fraîche ice cream balanced everything off nicely – a stunning dish.
Donnie went for the less glamourous but equally enjoyable lemon sorbet served with a shot of Pickering’s Gin. Pouring the gin over the sorbet, he enjoyed a very grown up juniper slush puppy.
Le Roi Fou – Best New Restaurant
Le Roi Fou was recently awarded Best New Restaurant at the Scottish Food Awards, and it’s easy to see why. Although the team here are new, their wealth of experience from working in other top restaurants is evident – they know what they are doing, and they do it with passion and enthusiasm. There is a comfortable neighbourhood restaurant feel about the place already which added to the interesting menu makes Le Roi Fou a natural choice. We can’t recommend it highly enough so don’t wait for a special occasion to enjoy one of the best restaurants in town.
Book a table at Le Roi Fou
Le Roi Fou
1 Forth Street
Tel: 0131 557 9346
Many thanks to Le Roi Fou for inviting us along to sample the menu.