Review: The Pompadour by Galvin in Edinburgh

Why people from Hull don’t deserve pattie and chips for every meal …

What happens when a family of Northerners take on a Michelin tasting menu?

Magic. That’s what.

Would the words “upscale French haute cuisine in a palatial Victorian railway hotel dining room with castle views” expect to cause an immediate uprising demanding Pattie and chips?

Well it turns out not quite.

Us local yokels may appreciate a good Yorkshire pudding or ten, but we sure know how to conduct ourselves when the time requires.

The final flourish to our Edinburgh exploration was celebrated at The Pompadour by Galvin (Christ, there is even pomp in the name).


Apparently, the restaurant was unveiled in the autumn of 2012 in one of Scotland’s most magnificent dining rooms at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian.

We had feasted at the celebrated Cucina on the Royal Mile, dined on superb sticky toffee pudding at Element in Rose Street and now was the time to put our pageantry to the test.

The four of us went for a five-course drinks pairing menu, something we had never indulged in previously and instead sparingly eking out a bottle of red, and we revelled in the new found splendour.

The dining room itself needed more drama for my liking – not enough black – but the food was faultless.

Not only did we get to experience pretending to understand the Sommelier (sounds too much like smelly egg for me) but we got to taste snipets of food bursting with flavour.

An avid carnivore, this is the moment where I throw my steak knife to the ground and admit the most memorable ingredient in the meal originated from the vegetarian menu.

Our entrees of smoked eel and oyster emulsion were a splendid thing, but I still can’t get the sister’s pea veloute out of my head. Sweet, rich, heavy, light – the taste was maddening.


To add insult to injury, it appeared a second time on the menu cohabiting with mushroom gnocchi and onions. Lucky git.

Throughout our dining experience all manner of ingredients were brought forth.

The heritage tomatoes were sweet and sun-filled, the foie-gras creamy and rich, and the sea bass skin was a perfect crisp.

But then the big boys arrived.

There is nothing more likely to get the heart racing than a trolley of cheese. Nothing. And trying to decide which 5 slivers to pick while cradling a fifth glass of very expensive wine made the task more adventurous.

I don’t quite know exactly what I chose, I just know it was the right choice. If my tastebuds serve me well they were all soft and Scottish or British, with some washed in whisky and others already melting under the ambient lighting of the dining room.

The port that arrived with them was 18 years old, and tasted of sweet raisins and spices. Incredible.


Six glasses of wine in we were amazingly all still speaking to each other, and had remained civil in some manner.

There had been no eye-rolling, no quick snaps of disagreement and certainly no one trying to diffuse a situation ready to flurry itself into chaos.

I think we were all looking forward to pudding too much.

Strawberry cheesecake complete with strawberry sorbet and a biscuit crumble – amazing.

The night ended with mint macarons and cacao nibs, and after much photography underneath the hotel’s incredible chandelier, managed to stumble into the taxi while raring to get our pyjamas on.


The Hull folk had done it. We had conquered a meal fit for the economically privileged (the delights came with a £450 price tag) and felt satisfied the waiters hadn’t deemed us too common.

Robinsons 1 – The other half 0.

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