Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Weekend Brunch: Hotel Du Vin

Ahh poor neglected blog.  It's been a busy old year, time has whizzed by and all of a sudden I find myself in mid-May wondering how on earth the middle of the year has crept up on me.  I've been busy working on some other projects, most notably a new Edinburgh lifestyle blog as well as preparing for my dad's imminent visit.  He'll be staying with me for a month and I'll be delighted to see him; it has been a lot of fun researching places in Scotland to visit and places to eat in Edinburgh - he's got a big appetite, which I've happily inherited.  With that in mind, Hotel Du Vin has firmly secured itself on the list of places that I'm sure my dad will love.  They have a four course Le Brunch which can only be described as epic.

As I've previously mentioned on the blog, Edinburghers seem very keen on brunch, with the love veering more towards an all-day breakfast than southern style Sunday roasts.  Hotel Du Vin are bridging the gap between the two with their Sunday brunch where you start off with a soup and then get all of your continental breakfast needs from their French market table. There is a choice between breakfast favourites and lunch options for your main course (from the a la cart menu) and finally some dessert to round it all off.   Brunch runs from 12 to 4pm, leaving you ample time to enjoy the feast at your leisure.  It is priced at £19.99.  

To start from the top, the first course of the brunch feast is vegetarian soup du jour and on my visit this was a vegetable soup with fresh parsley garnish.  The soup isn't served with bread (you don't want to fill up on the first course!) but was packed with flavour with a perfect velvet texture.  Next up is a trip or two to the French Market Table, where you can help yourself to freshly baked breads and croissants, charcuterie, rillettes, pates, vegetables and, if that wasn't quite enough, plenty of fresh seafood.  The table was heaving with food and soon my plate was too.  I took full advantage of the beautiful seafood on offer and came away with dressed crab, a few king prawns and a freshly shucked oyster, along with some fresh bread, pates and salad.  A plate full of cockles was also on offer along with a rather delicious potted shrimp.  A leg of serrano ham being freshly carved at the table was also a nice touch.  It really is very generous and you can go back again if you so desire.  By now though, I was starting to feel a little full - worryingly so, considering I'd ordered my main course of Sunday roast.  But that's the beauty of Le Brunch - there's no rush so you can just kick back with a cocktail and enjoy eating at your own pace.

The main course options range from Omelette Arnold Bennett (with haddock and Gruyere) and salmon hollandaise to heartier options like a pie du jour, bistro burger or steak frites.  On this occasion I thought I would go for the Normandy roast chicken as I was in a Sunday roast kind of mood.  It was accompanied with a gravy boat and a good selection of veg - the essential roast potatoes, some carrots, parsnips and the obligatory green vegetable selection.  The chicken was not the boring option here: a very generous portion which was lusciously moist and crispy skinned. 

Finally, just when I thought I could eat no more, we were handed the dessert menus and had to make a decision on the final course.  I did worry this was going to be the 'wafer thin mint' that would tip me over the edge however I can't resist dessert and there were some tempting treats on offer, with rhubarb crumble, traditional trifle and profiteroles being among them.  However I chose what I considered to be the lightest thing on the menu, the Bistro Du Vin coupe which comprises a vanilla and pistachio ice cream with chocolate sauce and pistachio nougat.  It was a fun and simple dessert which rounded off the meal well.  I did have slight plate envy when I saw a huge creme brulee pass me by but I'm glad I finished with ice cream and didn't physically have to be rolled out of the hotel.  

Le Brunch was such a lovely way to spend an afternoon and is perfect for when you want to treat someone to an extravagant daytime meal.  It's incredibly good value and I'd thoroughly recommend it for a long leisurely afternoon with an optional walk across the Meadows afterwards being an enjoyable end to the day.

* French Market Table picture courtesy of Hotel Du Vin


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