Maison Bleue (oh mon dieu!)

After a couple of glasses of vino in Strawberry Blonde’s garden the other sunny Sunday afternoon, that little old craving for steak tartare once again bubbled up to the surface and yes, you all know what ‘trouble’ that has led us into in the past!

We had a little ‘google’ to see what was on offer nearby and found an interesting place called the Grain Store on Victoria Street which neither of us had ever heard of so we figured we’d head there and if it didn’t have it (or we didn’t fancy it), we’d go to Ondine instead! I have to say on getting there it looked fabulous inside, definitely one to return to but alas prior booking is required for a steak tartare! I spotted Maison Bleue a couple of doors down so we took a sneaky peek to see if they had ST on their menu…..

Maison Bleue

They didn’t but we were both instantly seduced by a starter of Escargots au Foie Gras, sautéed snails in garlic, white wine, shallots & parsley with foie gras poile! double yum & one of the tastiest, most decadent starters I think I’ve seen! The matter was settled and a table promptly procured.

The interior is intimate and quirky with wooden stairs and stone arches and despite the tables being pretty close together (seems to be a bit of a theme in French restaurants recently visited) and the lighting perhaps a little dim, we happily began to peruse the rest of the menu, all thoughts of our steak tartare long forgotten.

Maison Bleue - upstairs

The menu is actually not a typical French one, the traditional French classic, Cassoulet rubs shoulders with a N.African Tagine and a Scottish venison dish! There was a lot of ‘uhm-ing’ and ‘ah-ing’ as we both felt it would be plain wrong not to have the Cassoulet but steak was evidently still tickling SB’s fancy.

Now here is where we were VERY naughty and ended up purchasing a somewhat extravagantly priced bottle of wine, well certainly for a Sunday and no particular occasion to celebrate, (mum & dad please look away!)  a lovely Barbera d’Alba Sucule at £40! oops!

The eagerly awaited & wonderful smelling escargots arrived, delightfully presented in their own individual ‘skillets’ and we dove straight on in. Incredibly there was almost no taste whatsoever, surely that couldn’t have been right?! One look at SB’s face said it all! We both added salt (something that neither of us do very often) and tried it again, bland encore! More salt was added, and still the same result, after the 4th time I could only surmise that it was Chef’s night off as I defy anyone to use such good quality ingredients and achieve so little in the delivery! This was our whole raison d’etre at Maison Bleue and we were failed miserably.

escargots au foie gras

Suddenly the expensive (& very tasty) bottle of wine to go with our delicious ‘experience gastronomique’ seemed entirely inappropriate! The mains arrived, again looking and smelling divine, and we tucked in. My cassoulet was barely warm, I tried some more from a different part of my plate but it was still lukewarm. SB cut her steak open to find it over-cooked, this time I felt there was no option but to speak with the waitress. She was very good and apologising profusely took both dishes away without any ado.

They were soon returned and although certainly much warmer mine still wasn’t hot. SB’s fresh steak was however much better although there was now a lack of sauce as they hadn’t replenished what had been poured on the first one. We decided just to get on with it. The cassoulet was nice but I certainly couldn’t say it stood out.

Cassoulet

We had been considering a cheese board or Irish coffee but unanimously decided we weren’t going to give them any more of our hard-earned cash! On paying our £94!! bill (although to be fair the wine was a hefty chunk of that) we spoke with the waitress and enquired if their usual chef was on that night and BINGO there was the answer, NO, he wasn’t! I always forget that from my time in hospitality, Sunday can be a really dodgy night! We were asked if we’d been before and said ‘no’ but had been somewhat disappointed with the food. She couldn’t have been nicer, bless her, and took us through to a lovely seat at the front entrance and offered us Irish coffees on the house.

Irish Coffees on 'la maison'

To summarise, a lovely quirky interior, a really tasty sounding menu and excellent service but I don’t recommend you go on a Sunday! Such a shame that it turned out to be such an expensive disappointment! I’d love to hear from anyone that’s eaten there when the normal Chef is on though as it’s certainly not something I would risk again on the strength of our experience.

Maison Bleue, 36-38 Victoria Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2JW 0131 226 1900

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Maison Bleue (oh mon dieu!)”

  1. April 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    We had our Chritsmas lunch there and I was to say we had a different experience. I was very reluctant to go to Maison Bleue as I had read mixed reviews about the place and really did not fancy it despite the menu sounding great! Anyway, we had 3 big tables booked for 5pm, but they made us wait downstairs for at least 30 mins when we arrived. I understand that Christmas is a busy time but this was a bad start. Once were seated, beacause we had ordered in advance, the food and drinks arrived fairly quickly and everybody found the food great. Well, almost everybody! I was rather disappointed with my starter which was something with something with aubergine and turned out to be rather bland. My main was lovely as as my ‘buche’ for dessert. The issue came whe we had to pay. We had all paid in advance but they had ‘forgotten’ to tell us that there would be a 10% charge on the top of the already overpriced Christmas lunch. The 10% tip ‘obligatory’ is common in Edinburgh restaurants but it’s usually specified on the menu and had not been in that instance. Anyway, some started arguing. I was not in the mood for that and just handed in the extra few pounds I was owing and went outside. If they had just asked for all the money beforehand, it would been just easier. Overall an ‘OK’ experience.
    I have recently bought some vouchers to go for a lunch main course soon and shall certainly give more feedback about the place! But ‘lack of consistency’ seems to be summarising it.

Leave a Reply