I start this review with a welcome back to you and to myself. It is a sad time when www.wordreference.com (a dictionary website used extensively in my revision) appears before www.wordpress.com. I don’t intend that to be the situation for long anymore! Anyway, welcome back one and all. I have just spent the last month at the Edinburgh Fringe playing in a show, and the chances to eat out were hampered hugely both by time constraints and budget. I did have one treat though: a meal La Maison Bleue (just off the Royal Mile).
The idea behind this restaurant, from what I could gather is that you can either order some smaller plates of food (called bouchées) and share them between the table, or you can order them in a more conventional manner as starters and mains. I chose the latter, mainly because the thought of having to share some of the things on the menu seemed like a huge shame when they sounded so delicious!
I started with “our secret recipe calamari” mainly out of curiosity. It was very good; salty and with a kick of spice on the batter. The squid itself was meaty and not at all tough. It probably wasn’t the best calamari I have ever had; that requires being near a Meditteranean beach on a hut summer day, but this came close. “Saigon beef” was a cute little dish; a stir fry served in a pastry basket, and was similarly good. Fish soup was, well, fish soup. But very good fish soup!
Onto the mains. My confit duck leg served with bean cassoulet was an absolute triumph of french cookery. The confit duck leg was simultaneously moist and flaky on the inside with crispy and shard-like skin that was so full of flavour. The cassoulet was as a cassoulet should be; rich with a salty kick from the bacon and an earthiness from the beans. It put me in a stupidly good mood, especially as it complimented the wet and cold weather! Beef cheeks were similarly rich and indulgent, whilst the rib-eye steak was perfectly cooked and clearly very high quality meat. The creolian fish gumbo was a really interesting dish and went down very well.
The sticky toffee pudding (my main vice) was the best I have ever had; the toffee sauce was just short of being sickly whilst maintaining its richness. The strawberries on top cut through the sweetness very well and added some needed acidity. A great dish and presented on a plate that resembled a UFO. (You’ll get what I mean).
So, thank you La Maison Bleue for a truly memorable meal. It is fair to say that it didn’t come up in the cheapest meals I’ve eaten, however it also didn’t reach the heights of the most expensive meals either. I intend to come back for the lunch menu, which looks truly brilliant as well.
La Maison Bleue, Edinburgh