Set in a palatial Victorian railway hotel with castle views, The Pompadour at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh-The Caledonian has kept its fine dining pedigree since the departure of the Galvins but has taken on a more relaxed, innovative feel under head chef Dan Ashmore. The new seven-course tasting menu is ingredient led, with classic French techniques underpinned by Asian and Scandinavian influences.
Highlights of our menu included cured mackerel with sharp gooseberry compote and fresh, snappy flavours of pickled cucumber and lemon alongside Scottish smoked Crowdie soft cheese and soda bread. Salty, savoury smoked ham hough comes with a deep-fried crispy pheasant egg, crisp outside and rich and creamy within, and peas a la francaise.
A meltingly tender Rutherford Estate venison tartare dish is matched by salty samphire, earthy kobi seaweed, ceps and smoked confit egg yolk, while roast monkfish tail comes with summery courgette, sweet red pepper dressing and babaganoush. Roast Goosnargh duck is perfectly pink and gamey, served with classic flavours of cherry compote and apricot purée alongside pak choi and chicory, with a tiny crisp samosa made from the soft confit leg meat.
Desserts are equally accomplished. Auchterarder strawberry rice is a playful yet deeply comforting take on classic rice pudding using seasonal local fruit, while salted caramel soufflé is fluffy and light as a feather.
With slick, confident service, inspired wine pairings and a creative new menu, the post-Galvin Pompadour experience feels more laid back and modern than before, but retains all of its classic charm.