Food & Drink

Eat out, drink up


eep it simple. This is the Kattitude of Thierry Menard

who, with partner Sebastien Leparoux, has seen a strong public response and positive critical reaction to their Lafayette Restaurant in the three months since it opened on Edinburgh’s Randolph Place. Lafayette is part of a small renaissance in basic French dining, a trend that surely no one would have predicted a while back with fusion and the Far East seemingly at the forefront of the culinary charge.

Menard says the use of too many ingredients is responsible for spoiling many creations, the flavours getting lost. Hence the attempt to simplify. ‘We put emphasis on the taste,’ he says. Chef Fabrice Bouteloup takes a ‘modern approach’ to more traditional French cooking. The regularly changing menus offer dishes such as roast rump of lamb garnished with French beans, pomme croquette and thyme jus; salmon fillet with a tarragon cream sauce and vegetable rice as well as a home-made vegetable sausage set on crushed potatoes with a carrot and cumin jus.

Housed in Sir Thomas Duncan Rhind’s eccentric 19th century mock-Tudor edifice with Tuscan-esque columns, English half-beams, Scottish-influenced turrets and a handsome iron weathercock, Lafayette is several steps up from the former occupant, Randolph’s. The ground floor is now a tidy lounge decorated with drawings and watercolours by Giles Wallace for pre- and post-dinner drinks. Upstairs in the 50-cover dining room, Fleur de Lys patterns and wood panelling are far from the height of fashion. But Menard says: ‘We must have done something right; people tend to linger.’

New Town’s Cafe' Marlayne on Thistle Street is another relative newcomer to Gallic gastronomy, having just clocked its first anniversary. Run by Marcelline Levicky (sister of the now infamous Pierre Victoire founder), this 25-seater is a snug fit. But prices are equally minute: a portion of soup for £1.50? Zut alors. The daily changing a la carte menu produced by chef lsla Fraser ranges from courses like the aforementioned carrot broth seasoned with honey to calf’s liver and peppered duck breast to halibut with fennel and dill.

Just down a few addresses from Levicky’s old charge on Wctoria Street, Maison Bleue recently replaced this


Lafayette heralds a renaissance in basic French dining

branch of the rather short-lived Bleu. With North African chicken and couscous, haggis balls in beer batter, and sushi on the menu, French cooking here is offered with a broader dialect.

ln Glasgow, the potential for more Michelin stars falling at our doorstep comes with the opening at May’s tail end of Chardon d’Or, a sister restaurant of the Roux family’s Le Gavroche in London’s Mayfair. French for Golden Thistle, Chardon d’Or marks a homecoming for Ayrshire-born chef Brian Maule, who’s been working with Michel Roux Jr at Gavroche for eight years. But before he can open his own shop on West Regent Street, some construction is due to occur at the old Brasserie. The island bar will be moved and moored to the west wall, opening up the dining room. To help brighten the room during the day, a hefty doorside pillar will be pared down to its structural core.

Maule rejects fusion. He anticipates dishes such as grilled scallops with roquette or lamb with Provencal vegetables. His cooking helped Gavroche earn two Michelin stars with prices to match, dishes in Glasgow will be more moderately priced, with lunches running between 212-215 and dinners between 2222-5235. He has not ruled out ambitions for fresh accolades, but Maule wants the business to succeed commercially first. ‘Stars don’t pay the bills.’ (Barry Shelby)

I Lafayette. 9 Randolph Place. Edinburgh, 0737 225 86 7 8: Cafe Marlayne. 76 Thistle Street, Edinburgh. 0737 226 2230; Maison Bleue. 36—38 Victoria Street. Edinburgh, 0737 226 7900; Chardon d'Or. 776 West Regent Street. Glasgow, 0747 248 3807.

life-long learning c0urse. Although


Capturing the fiesta spirit

120 THE LIST 26 Apr—10 May 2001


Don't allow the Italian-sounding name to confuse yOu. This new Mexrcan restaurant is named after Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City. Director Francisco Ventura-Perez compares this lively. colourful common in the Mexican capital to London's Covent Garden: a Mecca for residents and travellers thanks to its restaurants. bars and. especially. the many roaming bands of mariachi players and other musicians who serenade the sotiare every night. This fiesta spirit is what Garibaldi's. the restaurant. is meant to capture.

Along with his Scottish partner Gordon McClure and fellow Mexican- born chef Alejandro Aranda (the trio‘s corporate name is Tres Amigos Ltd). Ventura's mission is to 'represent' his country in Edinburgh. His business plan stems from a paper written for a

Aranda has worked in London wrth SLlCh British notables as Marco Pierre White. his Mexrcan menu attempts to infuse a bit of authentICity and not take the usual Tex-Mex route.

Instead you'll find cevrche (marinated fish) and cake con tres leche (with three milks). Only the failure of locals to appreCiate the real thing may stand in the way of his ambitions to prepare genurne Mexican dishes. Meanwhile. Ventura in his gurse as mixologist. will Shake up several Tequila-based drinks.

Although the basement space lbelow the now closed Dix Neufl is hardly as roomy as its namesake. one section will be set aSide for entertainment and dancing. DJs and salsa competitions are in the plans. wrth trips to Mexico and the original Plaza Garibaldi a possible prize. (Barry Shelby)

I Garibaldi's. 97a Hanover Street. Edinburgh. 0737 220 3007.

Side dishes

Extra helpings of news

IF YOU MISSED out buying The List Eating and Drinking Guide bundled with the last issue - which unfortunately sold-out rather quickly from many independent newsagents - rest assured that it will soon be available in leading book sellers and at better news stands. From May onwards a heftier edition of the fully updated guide (with a perfect-bound cover fairly certain of withstanding repeated use) to some 800 restaurants, bistros, cafes and bars in and around Glasgow and Edinburgh will be sold for £4.95.

Ali l ER SOME DELAY AND A licensing application challenge. Beluga Bar and Canteen Restaurant is likely to he open as you read this. In Edinburgh's Chambers Street. adjacent to the Sheriff Courthouse. acrr ss from the Museum of Scotland. housed in the t')asement and ground floor of the one-time dental school, Beluga is the latest operation from Festival Inns. which owns the Three Sisters. From the ‘opening night' menu posted on the pavement outside. main courses include pan-fried pave of lamb With truffle risotto cake (ill/1.95) as well as a carrot and walnut raVIoli ($39.50). There is also a bar menu With dishes in the {EB—5‘7 range.

SET TO BE LAUNCHED ON the week of 23 April is Fishers’ New Town Edinburgh restaurant. A sprawling operation - by Thistle Street standards - Fishers In The City will have seating for about 90, more than twice the size of the well-regarded flagship operation in Leith. The menu will be practically the same: expect to find seafood soups, fishcakes and daily ‘catch of the day’ style specials.

CONTRARY TO WHAT YOU might have read here a fortnight ago. Borough bar and restaurant on Causewayslde. Edinburgh. did not have its press and VIP launches on 20 April as planned. due to some unfortunate electrical snafus on site. Now the date IS either 4 or 1 1 May for the Ben Kelly de3igned venue.