La P’tite Folie, Edinburgh


La P'tite Folie

9 Randolph Place, Edinburgh EH2 1LH

0131 225 8678

La P'tite Folie - Madness Indeed

The Bill

 2 Courses Set Lunch


A la carte

Starters  £6.50 - £14.00 | Mains £16.00 - £29.95

Desserts £7.50 

The Score

Cooking 6/10 | Service 4/5

Flavour 4/5 | Value 5/5

TOTAL 19/25

St James Centre - A Planning Triumph

When you lunch in a place whose name means small madness, it's entirely logical that your mind turns to planning officials. I don't know if you've encountered one of these fellows (they are usually male). Intoxicated on unfettered power, small of brain and entirely devoid of common sense. In Edinburgh, they were the ones who decreed that all new buildings in Princes Street in the 1960s had to be designed to accommodate a potential retail development above street level. They were also responsible for the monstrosity that was the St James Centre (thankfully now demolished).

Penthouse Flat in Rome

Mind you, and you have no idea how much it pains me to say this, I suppose they may have their uses. Town planning as we know it is a relatively new phenomenon, really coming into its own after the Second World War. Had it existed, say, in nineteenth century Rome, I don't think people would have been allowed to build flats on the top of a two thousand year old theatre. And had we had them in the early 1900s, I really, really don't think that the building whch housed us today would have come into existence.

La P'tite Folie - Madness Indeed

Just behind Robert Adam's Charlotte Square, the jewel in Edinburgh's New Town, and just up from James Gillespie Graham's masterly development of the Earl of Moray's feu, among the finest Georgian architecture in the world, we have this. Mock Tudor is widely derided even in stockbroker country in the Home Counties. What on earth is it doing here? The authors of Buildings of Edinburgh don't hold back with their opinions. Tudor House is so outrageous that they simply ignore it altogether. Madness indeed.

But you can quickly ignore it when you're inside. The place shares an entrance with Le Di-vin wine bar. There a few tables on the ground floor but most of the action takes place upstairs. Great to see it full on a Wednesday lunchtime, a crowd attracted, no doubt, by the phenomenal value of 2 courses for £19.95 (lunch time only).

We were here for a long overdue tryst with Tom Eats! regulars, Mr & Mrs Retired Captain of Industry. We all had memories of eating here, but from a long time back. I discover that the place has been open for some twenty years and that Le Di-vin is only a few years younger. On the basis that I can't remember ever being disappointed with the food, and that I've never reviewed it, such a long absence is inexplicable.

You know the feeling when you return somewhere after a long absence and it feels as though you've never been away. That's what you get here. The lunch menu is in a 5:5:5 formation, French style without being hide bound to the classics. My objection to British made rillettes is that they always pander to us Brits and our fear of fat. Across the Channel you'll have a centimetre of the stuff on top. In France they know that fat is flavour. And also lubrication - I found the LPF version (duck) a little dry. Two of us had what was described as a tarte tatin with buttered leeks and fennel with grilled Camembert on top. I'm not sure it was actually made tatin style, but it was extremely tasty, so who cares?

For the set lunch price (with the exception of a couple of possible extras that's all that's on offer at lunchtime), they could have been forgiven for serving rather dinky portions. Far from it. Any but the most gluttonous trencherman will be satisfied. A daube can cover a multitude of styles and sins. Here they choose to braise a single (large) chunk of beef. It came in the Burgundian style. I thought it a little overcooked: its recipient did not. Two types of fish were on offer. A daily special of coley was served with a coconut sauce. Surprisingly there was cream added. Very well received. Sea bass came with a butternut purée, and peas and samphire and Mash Citrus and Tomato Dressing. The wee taste I got was good. Some of the plates came with sides over and above those advertised. Their veg cookery is exemplary.

To try to sample as wide a range as we could, I chose what on paper was the most boring main, chicken breast. There was a cauliflower purée and slightly sweet red onions and pancetta. In addition to the billed green beans there was some broccoli and, joy of joys, a few roast potatoes. At the insistence of the RCI we had a side of garlicky fries. Best in town, he said in advance. I lack the breadth of knowledge to make a definitive judgment, but they were pretty darn good.

Not a chance of room for pud. As well as cheese, the options included lemon sorbet, sticky toffee, crème brulée and dessert du jour (Wednesday). I'm reflecting on this meal very fondly. Good food, great company. Now I have the reviewer's dilemma of working out a score. Whatever I come up with, take on board this truth. The cuisine ain't haute (nor is it trying to be). But dine here and you will be very well fed. If you don't have a good time, it's your own fault. Bravo, mes amis!

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