Wine Tasting Dinner at La Garrigue in the New Town

After seeing La Garrigue on Gordon Ramsay’s Best Local Restaurant last year (and a recent trip to their place on Jeffrey Street by Strawberry Blonde), it was with keen anticipation that AVM, SB and I booked the Wine Tasting Dinner, featuring 4 courses, with accompanying wines from the Languedoc region in their new restaurant in the New Town.

La Garrigue in the New Town

At £50 per head we felt that this was a bit of a bargain (especially if the quality of the food & the generous glasses of wine were on a par with those we sampled at Kitchin). I absolutely adore good quality rustic French food that’s both hearty and tasty and not having seen the menu was looking forward to such fare.

Unfortunately AVM had to bow out as she was called away on business and it was raining household critters outside, still, we had booked and been looking forward to it so SB & I braved the elements to make it. The welcome was warm and a glass of wine swiftly produced along with water and some lovely cheese straws and pastries, which were regularly topped up by the friendly staff.

Looking around it was soon very clear that we were sticking out like sore thumbs, not only were we at least 20 years younger than most of the other diners but that also our conversation seemed to be much more interesting to them than their own, the tables being quite close together did everything to facilitate them in this.

On spotting that one of the dishes had scallops in it and telling the waitress of my shellfish allergy we were politely told we should have let them know sooner, despite not having seen the menu. Fair play, it was online but neither of us had thought to look and had not been prompted anywhere during the process to state if there were any special dietary requirements. Reassuringly though they seemed more concerned that I may not have such a ‘lovely dish’ but that Chef would do his best to make something nice for me.

Ham & duck terrine with vinaigrette of leeks & truffle oil

We were welcomed by the Chef, Jean Michel Gauffre, easily recognisable from his appearance on Gordon Ramsay’s programme last year, and after a brief talk we were introduced to the Vigneron and the wine merchant who were able to tell us a little about the wine growing region and the wine we had just been passed along with our entrée, a smoked ham shank & duck terrine with a vinaigrette of leeks with a truffle oil dressing. This format continued, as each course and fresh wine was brought out.

Halibut with an 'unscallopy' sauce

After the entrée came Pan fried halibut and scallop with fennel bouillabaisse, I had the fish on a bed or peppers in a tomato & onion sauce. Following this, a venison cutlet with a tatin of shallots and parsnip purée with a juniper berry jus and for dessert a rosemary scented chocolate parfait with marshmallow and a raspberry coulis.

Venison cutlets

Although the dishes were well presented and had elements that excited and should have worked well, each course left me feeling a little disappointed. There were textures and flavours that seemed to be at odds at times with my pallate, it was almost as though they had been trying too hard and over complicated things. There was never, throughout any of the courses that ‘wow, this is delicious’ moment, and I hate to say it but my favourite things were the little cheese pastries that we were given at the start before the menu began.

Chocolate parfait

SB was also feeling somewhat ‘deflated’ as her experience at the original La Garrigue had been SO good! (see Guest Blog). I’ve posted them both together for comparison purposes.

Would I go back? Unlikely to be honest, it wasn’t bad but there are so many other places to eat in Edinburgh that are full of character, a little more spacious and offer tasty food that is reasonably priced. I would still however like to try La Garrigue on Jeffrey Street, it just may be a little less near the top of my to-do list after this.

La Garrigue in The New Town, 14 Eyre Place, Edinburgh, EH3 5EP. 0131 558 1608

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