Edinburgh certainly isn’t short of French restaurants, so earning press praise for French cuisine in Edinburgh is no mean feat. On the back of positive publicity the Edinburgh Blog’s lunch club headed to L’escargot Bleu on Broughton Street. Last year L’escargot Bleu wasn’t even open, but the loyal following this French bistro has already created is testament to the excellent job Betty Jourjon and Frederic Berkmiller - the couple behind the Grassmarket’s Petis Paris restaurant - have done.
L’escargot Bleu effortlessly portrays itself as a pleasant French Bistro and our nice window seat provided an elevated view away from the hustle and bustle of Broughton Street. Simple checked tablecloths, brass cooking utensils hanging from pot racks, quintessential French posters on the wall, waitresses who are chirpier speaking their native French all complete a virtual journey 900 miles south east of the spot.
There were only two lunch club members on this visit. The third turned up long after we’d ordered so had to be satisfied with a bottle of Peroni beer (straight from Italy!). Therefore this review is only two-thirds of our collective wisdom. Such wisdom was obviously in short supply when we read the advertisement outside L’escargot Bleu for a Â£7.90 lunch. It was only while drinking a very affable glass of house white wine and perusing the the blackboard menu that we realised it was Â£7.90 per main (with fairness towards our group the restaurant’s advertising could be clearer). Starters were all just under Â£5, while side dishes were just under Â£2. All in all not such a cheap lunch! L’escargot Bleu’s pricing structure is the same for lunch as early dinner, with their evening menu substantially more. I find this a little strange as I’d normally expect lunch to be the day’s cheapest offering.
Anyhow, with a busy afternoon planned, we ordered a couple of mains with a side dish of seasonal vegetables. I shunned the Buccleuch beef for French braised rabbit served with tomatoes. This was a fine dish, with plentiful meat and a good definition of flavour between the rabbit meat and tomato based sauce. The potatoes with my dish and the other lunch club member’s salmon (fish of the day) were lovely. The salmon was flavoursome and enriched well by mussels - these dishes clearly showed the quality ingredients sourced by L’escargot Bleu.
Our visit to L’escargot Bleu was a mere flirt with the solid and skilled French cooking on offer. It’s a restaurant I’m keen to try once more for a complete picture.
Here are the quotes from the lunch club members:
Quality French cooking in a pleasant environment
Delicious fresh food and a lovely setting
L’escargot Bleu is located at 56-56a Broughton St, Edinburgh, EH1 3SA
Telephone: 0131 557 1600