I had been looking forward to my fine dining evening at Ondine for months and I’m happy to say the exquisite food pulled me in hook, line and sinker.
The fish restaurant in Edinburgh’s King George IV Bridge, just off the Royal Mile and partly overlooking Victoria Street, has a mighty reputation – its most recent award was Scotland’s AA restaurant of the Year 2013-14 – so you can forgive me for being slightly excited.
The place oozes class and has an eclectic clientele from the casual diner in day wear to more formal dinner dress which gives it a relaxed and unpretentious air in sumptuous surroundings.
The demure decor is warm, cosy and welcoming, and there’s a large oyster bar at its core where revellers enthusiastically tuck in while a constant stream of diners take up the tables which line the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on to one of Auld Reekie’s busiest areas.
Service is impeccable and staff seem to have that “Magic Touch”, with a deft mastery of appearing just when you need them.
The whipped salt and Rosemary butter which accompanied warm, crispy bread was an absolute triumph, and that was just the aperitif. Very more-ish.
For starters, we had the dressed brown crab and peat-smoked salmon, both beautiful dishes. The crab came with small arancinis and a celeriac remoulade which made my first time having crab a very pleasant experience. Alongside the salmon are red onions, capers, horseradish mayonnaise and blinis – which are delightfully soft.
I couldn’t resist the grilled lemon sole with Peterhead clams and chorizo for my main, while Karen had grilled Isle of Mull diver scallops with organic sausages with a kick and side orders of Jersey Royals, cumin roast carrots and coriander and thin cut chips.
The two fillets of lemon sole were delectably soft, peppered with the clam shells and chorizo and soaked in an thin oily sauce which made up a succulent and tidy composition.
For dessert we shared a chocolate pot with cranberry jelly, buttery French madeleines and chocolate crumb. A little too rich for my palate but enjoyable to pick at, washed down with our fruity Rioja Blanco.
There were so many fish puns I wanted to use to describe Ondine but they just wouldn’t do it justice.
This is serious food that’s seriously good.