The Hotel du Vin group offer 19 unique experiences across the UK, including Hotel du Vin and Bistro in Edinburgh. A street or two from the city’s Royal Mile, which draws itself through the centre of Scotland’s most elegant city, Bistro du Vin is conveniently situated and offers a taste of classic French dining among an ancient Scottish setting.
Dating back to 1743, the building’s woven heritage includes its time as a poorhouse, asylum, and science lab. These dynamic touchpoints are visible throughout including the dining room, where, alongside a mezzanine that occupies its wine list under the eye of the in-house sommelier, high ceilings are framed by dark beams with reclaimed dark-stained floorboards and restored fireplaces. Step outside and the terrace is as an al fresco oasis with a heated cigar bothy to curl up in on cooler evenings.
Hotel du Vin Edinburgh vouch that ‘whatever your requirement, they’ll fit the bill’. This is apparent from the terrace menu we ordered from, which safely and sensibly caters to both locals who swing by for lunch to hotel guests who reside in one of the 47 rooms and suites.
Moderately priced, menus demonstrate the Bistro’s cross-cultural identity between France and Britain with descriptions flitting casually between the two: (the ‘cheese plate’ sits alongside ‘salade frisee aux lardons’ or ‘salade maison’). This can be seen across the classic à la carte, to the Sunday lunch and terrace menu which provide for guests throughout the week and into the weekend, both indoors and out. Meanwhile, a wine list takes centre stage with Lanson and Lombard champagne to both new and old world wines from across the globe.
The terrace menu seems somewhat more relaxed with a focus on daytime dining. Our meal peaked early with the starters, or light bites and salads. These included a plate of five large tiger prawns with warm garlic butter and a chicken liver parfait. This was smooth and generous in size alongside a basket of warm bread, washed down with sparkling wine. Meanwhile, you can also choose to snack on (or start with) an oak smoked salmon or melon and airdried ham with a shallot vinaigrette.
Larger dishes epitomise European brasserie dining with favourites that always make the cut. These include steak frites served to your liking with a peppercorn sauce, or an escalope of Normandy chicken with ‘pommes frites’, a ‘petit salad’ and garlic butter. Following suit, I selected the croque monsieur (also available as a madame with a fried egg) which firmly sticks to the tradition of this classic toasted sandwich with baked ham, Emmental cheese and béchamel sauce, served with salad and chips. My guest pursued the more so exciting moules marinière which arrived steaming hot but fell short against its seafood tiger prawn predecessor.
The most interesting part of this menu is its ‘Burnt Chips’ in partnership with The Burnt Chef Project. A way of incorporating a charitable cause into their menu and capturing both the attention and awareness from diners, these (invisible) chips step in as a £2.50 donation to challenge mental health stigma within the hospitality sector. By ordering these chips you’ll be donating to their worthwhile cause and helping the restaurant to raise awareness and reinvest money into mental health training and resources across the industry: an inventive and unexpected way Hotel du Vin and Bistro in Edinburgh incorporates a worthwhile cause into their day to day offering.
Address: 11 Bristo Pl, Edinburgh EH1 1EZ