“ Address: 50-54 Henderson Street / Leith / Edinburgh / EH6 6DE / Scotland „
Hubby and I are enjoying the last of our DINKY (Dual Income No Kids Yet) days before settling down and starting a family. So, having booked our hotel for our weekend away in Edinburgh I decided to look for a nice restaurant for the Saturday night, as hubby and I do like our food!
Having had a lovely meal in a Michelin Star restaurant in Jersey last year I decided to look at what was on offer in Edinburgh, and found that there are currently 4 restaurants with a Michelin Star (if you want to find one near you visit - www.caterersearch.com /Articles/2009/01/18/306085/ top-michelin-rated-restaurants.html). I looked at the websites of all four, and decided that it would be the Plumed Horse that we would visit - based mainly upon cost I have to admit (some places you can pay £80 a head before the drinks)!
The website can be found here - www.plumedhorse.co.uk
Although it's easy to navigate, as far as websites go it is pretty slow which is annoying. Anyway, I booked us a table for two for 8pm on the Saturday night which was a simple process. If you're booking a table for 4 or more people on a Friday or Saturday night then you will need to give credit card details (which is pretty normal really), as you'll be subject to a fee if you don't turn up, which is fair enough! With only two of us though all they needed were our names, and I received an automated email confirmation. Although it might be possible to get a table on the night for two, it is unlikely really (the restaurant is only fairly small doing 38 covers), so I would certainly book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
If you are a vegetarian you need to let them know in advance as there aren't any vegetarian options on the menu - suits me fine, I love my meat!
---Info about the Plumed Horse---
The chef at the Plumed Horse is a man called Tony Borthwick. More about him can be found on the website, along with a bit of history of the restaurant. Basically, the restaurant opened in 1998 in Castle Douglas, where it earned its Michelin Star in 2000. However, it moved to Leith, Edinburgh in December 2006, where despite a few teething problems it managed to regain its Michelin star.
The restaurant is not in the city centre, so you'll probably want to find your way there by taxi as we did. It's in a place called Leith which is apparently an up-and-coming area of Edinburgh. The address of the restaurant is 50-54 Henderson Street, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6DE
The taxi driver had no idea where the restaurant was so had to phone through to his office. Meanwhile I was Googling the restaurant on my phone (I hadn't got the details with me), but the taxi driver got the directions quicker. I was surprised though that he didn't know...I would have thought that taxi drivers should know where Michelin Starred restaurants are located!
The restaurant was 3 miles from our hotel, and the Cab fare was about £12 which was a bit pricey! It cost slightly less on the way back - the restaurant phoned for the cab and it came pretty much immediately.
---Arrival at the restaurant---
We arrived at the Plumed Horse 10 minutes early. Sittings are at 7pm, 8pm, and 9pm - unlike some restaurants you do not get turfed out, and have the table for the whole evening - although according to the website they hope you're gone by midnight!
Perhaps we should have lurked outside for a little bit as they didn't seem quite ready for us. They offered to take jackets, and then we were told to choose where we wanted to sit (either the main room, or the quieter side room, which is often used to accommodate parties so the website says) which I would say is a bit unusual, especially as we had to make our own way to our seats. It wasn't the best arrival at a restaurant I've ever had anyway.
From my seat I could see the door into the kitchen, and kept getting views of the chef through the window in the door. The atmosphere in the restaurant I would say was formal, but relaxed. There was no background music or anything like that.
We sat waiting for 5 minutes or so, which I suppose is fair enough as we were early. Then we were offered water - hubby and I opted for the iced tap water which was great as throughout the meal the waitress came round filling up our glasses. The service on the drinks front was excellent!
Having not been given any bread the night before at the hotel restaurant I was pleased when the waitress brought us out a selection of rolls - hubby chose an olive bread and I went for a shallot flavoured one. Lovely!
The menu had a nice selection, there is clearly a French influence in Tony's cuisine. Like upmarket places though the choice isn't huge - personally I like this as it makes it easier to decide!
Due to my food choices I really fancied white wine. It's not usual that hubby and I get white wine. So we had a bottle of white, and half a bottle of red (for hubby to have with his main course). The wine selection was good, and reasonably priced for a quality restaurant - whole bottles starting at £18. Unlike Jersey there didn't seem to be bottles which cost £thousands!
The waitress kept our white wine in a cooler shared with the table next to ours, and she regularly topped up our glasses, although once we had to reach for the wine ourselves.
In my opinion the best thing about eating at quality restaurants is the food that you are given before the proper courses arrive. There's something about the whole novelty of it which really appeals to me.
Firstly we were each brought a beautifully presented long thing plate with three tiny canapés on it. On the left was a little choux pastry stuffed with cheese, in the centre a half quails eggs curried, and on the right a tiny little piece of pork which was just so succulent and had a delicious flavour. We had a little two-pronged fork to eat these with. Yum!
Before our normal starter we were brought little pots filled with a cauliflower soup type thing with a really odd consistency. Although I'm not a massive cauliflower fan, and although the flavour was pretty strong I have to say that it was absolutely amazing. I made sure I got every last bit out with my little spoon! Wow!
For starter I chose the crab with two types of caviar. Oooh, hark at me having caviar! I had never tried caviar before, and it was nice that my first experience would be good quality caviar rather than something from Tesco. The starter was beautifully presented, and the caviar was placed upon the crab in two little piles - small amounts of course, but I definitely got the distinct tastes of the two - one I presume from salmon as it was orange in colour. The crab itself was just fantastic. Very difficult to describe all of the food since I didn't take notes - but you'll just have to take my word for it. The full description of my starter from the menu was as follows - Tian of White Crab, Celeriac Remoulade, Curried Brown Meat Puree, Lemon & Dill Oil, Sour Cream, Two Caviars
Hubby went for the Ham Hash & Parsley Cake, Poached Organic Egg, Sauce Béarnaise. I had a little taste of the ham hash and again it was faultless!
It was difficult to chose what to have for main course as it all sounded so good. However, I love eating small birds, so chose the following - Pan-Fried Breast of Guinea Fowl, White Spring Truffle,
Thyme Roasted Baby Onions, Spring Morels, Celeriac Puree, Truffled Fowl Stock
The Guinea Fowl was amazing, so juicy, so full of flavour. It was a nice big piece of meat really. I LOVE mushrooms, and really enjoyed the morels, and also the truffle (again a first - hadn't had truffle before). The whole dish was really unusual (well in my limited experience anyway!), and had such a lovely combination of textures.
Hubby isn't a mushroom fan so wouldn't have enjoyed my dish. Instead he went for the Sautéed Loin of Late Scottish Lamb, Slow-Poached Shoulder & Spinach Mousse in Crepinette, Winter Root Vegetables & Pearl Barley, Lamb Jus. At any place where quality is high then the quantity isn't going to be huge. However, there was a nice lot of lamb on hubby's plate!
The nice thing about not having massive courses is that there is always room to enjoy dessert. I chose the Hot Banana Soufflé with Toffee Ice Cream. I'm running out of adjectives to use to describe the food, but the soufflé was perfect as was the ice-cream - I wanted to lick my plate! Meanwhile hubby went for the Fudge & Ginger Parfait, with Ginger Beer, Vanilla, Lime & "Sailor Jerry" Sorbet.
Hubby decided that it would be a good idea to have a dessert wine with our desserts. They only had these by the glass or as full bottles, while hubby really wanted a half. We reached a sort of compromise by going for a glass, but the waitress put a bit extra in them - very nice!
I'm not really a coffee drinker particularly so I didn't really want one. Instead I went for a glass of Baileys (well, why not indulge?!) while hubby went for the Home Made Petits Fours and Coffee (or you could choose tea) which cost £4. He gave me one of his three Petit Fours, a truffle.
The only problem we did find later on when we were back at the hotel was that we noticed we were charged twice for the coffee when we only had one. We think this is because we asked two different waitresses for it, so they must have put it down twice. We should have noticed when we paid the bill, but we didn't. At the end of the day £4 isn't the end of the world.
This is possibly the bit people really want to know about! Basically, the cost is £43 for three courses - obviously this includes the pre-starters, and unlimited tap water!
On top of this we had one and a half bottles of wine, two glasses of dessert wine, a Baileys, and a coffee (although as mentioned we were charged twice for that). Since all our cash was needed for the return taxi back and drinks at the hotel bar we added a tip to the bill before paying on card.
The cost of the meal was about £160, plus £15 added as a tip - so £175. Not cheap, but a meal we won't ever forget - well, unless we win the lottery and start doing this sort of thing every week!
The Plumed Horse is also open for lunch which currently costs £23 for three courses (£25 on Saturdays). Menu can be found on the website, and sounds good, although just a couple of options available which is to be expected.
As I mentioned at the start while vegetarians can be catered for, they do need to arrange this in advance. Obviously a restaurant like this would be completely wasted on a child, so unless you're very rich and have very well behaved children then I wouldn't advise!
There is no dress code, so nothing to worry about there - one lady was wearing blue jeans which actually surprised me. Personally I wouldn't advise turning up in jogging bottoms and dirty trainers though. As at most of these places hubby and I were the youngest there by quite a bit.
The chef did come out of the kitchen towards the end of the evening. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to speak to him though, although if we'd asked I'm sure we could have.
This is really the main downside to the restaurant. The building isn't exactly ideal. The toilets are down the stairs, and there is only one toilet each for men and women. The toilet is all a bit cramped, and hubby said that the men's was the same. I suppose it's difficult with an old building, but the toilets were a bit of a letdown.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Plumed Horse to those visiting Edinburgh, it was a lovely evening. However, The Pheasant near Keswick is still mine and hubby's favourite restaurant despite it not having a Michelin star, and we're looking forward to going back there in May. However, I would put the Plumed Horse at number 3 on my list of restaurants visited, just after Bohemia in Jersey. Although the food was a similar standard I think the atmosphere at Bohemia was better, plus the toilets were nicer there!
I'm afraid that I didn't take any pictures (not that I could show them on dooyoo anyway) as I didn't really want to draw attention to myself - last year in Bohemia I was able to take pictures discreetly! However, pictures of the food can be found on the website www.plumedhorse.co.uk