L’escargot Blanc

Edinburgh has one of the highest concentrations of restaurants (per capita) in the world, it makes this city one of the easiest and greatest cities in the world to live in. This abundance of choice mixed with an incredibly high tourist turnover will often present restaurants a unique opportunity to establish themselves in a famously volatile market. It also though, gives some restaurants an opportunity to capitalise on and exploit the booming tourist trade in the city. Exactly which meal is in the need of the most help for restaurants? Lunch.

As such outside most restaurants will often be a ‘lunch special’ - offering usually two or three courses for a fixed price. I’m all for fixed menus, I’m all for lunch. But I’m also weary of these offerings towards the centre of the city; often you’ll leave disappointed, hungry or feeling like a fool. Sometimes all three.

My faith in lunch menus had dipped so far that on my visit to Forage and Chatter the other week I did not even trust them not to rip me off. I simply just ordered off their A la Carte menu, and it was incredible. But that is not what this article is about.

This is about an experience so genuine and satisfying that my faith in lunch specials has returned. An experience so fulfilling that I actually got a little bit emotional after my first mouthful of soup. An experience that made me feel like the fool all along.

L'escargot blanc.

Upstairs from a small wine bar sits a hidden gem of Edinburgh’s dining landscape. The wine bar itself is an attraction on it’s own, something I’ve frequented often in the past weeks never thinking to look upstairs.

Upstairs from a small wine bar sits a hidden gem of Edinburgh’s dining landscape. The wine bar itself is an attraction on it’s own, something I’ve frequented often in the past weeks never thinking to look upstairs.

With owner Betty casually running the floor, service is flawless. In hospitality like as in life, you’ll often have two types of leaders. You’ll have those that dictate and those who lead by example, after observing for mere minutes it’s obvious Betty’s of the second kind and her heart entirely is in this restaurant. If Betty is not in the restaurant, the restaurant manager fits in seamlessly. He refers to the restaurant as his baby, something he wants to work on, nurture and perfect every single day.

Two courses, great wine list and a complete experience under £20? It’s worth a whole lot more. The two course lunch alone is just £12.90.

Though the meal itself was wonderful, it’s the experience of this place that should draw you here. The menu seemingly changes daily, so making a recommendation seems rather pointless.

From my first visit, I will say that my mushroom and truffle soup as well as the beef crepes were exceptional. The soup itself - actually one of the best things I’ve eaten all year. Rich and earthy yet somehow still light. Perfect way to start the meal.

On the second visit; a gigantic bowl of mussels and a chicken dish with potato boulangeres, squash mash, olive tapenade and edible flowers from the back garden. So much going on in this dish for the price paid. The richness of the potato, the bite of the tapenade, the texture of the crispy chicken, the surprise of the flower. Just wow.

There was only one negative, though maybe I’m being overly critical. L’escargot Blanc radiates all things French, from the food to the staff to the decorations and it’s an incredible combination they’ve found. I couldn’t help though but notice the coffee cup on the opposite table had a design saying ‘Grand Milano’ and a coffee bean with an Italian flag, it just doesn’t fit.

But if that’s the one negative about this place then hell, that says a hell of a lot. Not just great food but the entire experience. Slug on down to L'escargot blanc.

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