After my last visit to Haldanes in Edinburgh, where I had a terrific dinner, it was great to see this restaurant being included in the Dine Around Edinburgh 2006 promotion; where some of Edinburgh’s restaurants are offering 2 courses for ¬£15, until February 5th. Needless to say I promptly booked in online for a table before the 8pm curfew, when this offer ends.
I had expected Haldanes to have re-located to their new Dundas St premises. However they are still operating from Albany St and I noticed the menu insert no longer set a moving date, whereas in December it had stated sometime in January - so there must have been a delay in proceedings. The Albany St premises will move over to be called The Albany Grill Room - more closely aligned with The Albany hotel above the restaurant. Well that’s what Haldanes menu says, but their website says the previous restaurant on Albany St will be known as Haldanes Bar and Bistro. It’s all very confusing… as is the gigantic announcement on Haldanes website saying they have moved to Dundas St. Is the website wrong or is their menu wrong? Either way they were still operating from The Albany St location as Haldanes restaurant when I visited, and if you’re booking the dine around menu online, it lists all reservations up until 5th February as being Albany St. Very confusing!… Luckily Haldanes are better at cooking than communicating!!!
Anyhow, I just hope the Dundas St atmosphere matches the homely feel of Haldanes current location - a superb gas fire, lots of space between the tables and nice warmth to the whole place are what makes Haldanes should a good location. I have faith in them matching this in their new premises though.
We browsed the Dine Around menu in Haldanes entry bar on a very comfortable leather sofa while enjoying a cocktail each. There were 3 different starters and mains to choose from. There was also a selection of 3 deserts, which could be enjoyed for just ¬£3.50 more than the two course fee of ¬£15. My initial expectation was a little apprehensive over whether the quality of the food and size of portion would match the excellent standard set on my last, full paying, visit to Haldanes or whether the meals would suffer as a result of the good value.
All doubt was cast away when our starter of filo of traditional haggis with roasted neeps and whisky sauce was served. The portion size was generous, but the real start of the show was the totally excellent standard of the food. The filo was cooked to perfection, while the haggis from Haldanes confounded that this is the best Haggis I have tasted in Edinburgh.
The mains were of equally excellent standard. I had breast of maize fed guinea fowl, that was delectably cooked - a true joy to eat. The potatoes served with this were nice, although I would have appreciated a few more. My favourite part of this meal though, was the tarragon sauce that was truly delectable. It complemented the guinea fowl really well and made me delighted with my choice of main. My dining partner went for the vegetarian option of sweet potato and borlotto bean cake. This portion size was gigantic, and most persons would struggle to eat all of it. The taste was great though, and as a non-vegetarian myself, I enjoyed sampling some of this.
For desert my dining partner had the caramelised lemon tart, served with a brandy basket of sorbet. This was impressive stuff and rounded the meal off brilliantly, as did my delicious chocolate marquise.
To round things off a good cup of coffee was enjoyed along with a generous serving of delicious fudge and chocolate:-
What terrific value: three courses of superb food for just ¬£18.50. The offer ends the 5th of February, and while not having sampled any of the other restaurants during the promotion, I cannot imagine them succeeding Haldanes for quality, style and value. All we need now is for the move to Dundas St to be complete and Haldanes to communicate this a little more effectively!!!