Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Edinburgh Is Delicious: Hotel Du Vin, the Best Brunch in (Old) Town

Here’s my deep philosophical thought for the day everybody:

Food rocks.

So much so that we decided three meals a day just wouldn’t cut it. Hence we have afternoon tea. Elevenses. A bowl of cereal around 9.30pm. And the king of all the inbetweeners – brunch. Wonderful, wonderful brunch.

Whilst you can get an all-day breakfast pretty much anywhere in Edinburgh, the classic Sunday brunch– in its cocktail-swigging, omelette-snaffling, plate-heaping form – is relatively hard to find on these mean cobbled streets. Those clever chaps at Hotel Du Vin noticed it too, and promptly came up with Le Brunch, an elegant but unpretentious take on the American stuff-yar-paaaahole-mama-YEAH mega buffet. The four course extravaganza kicks off with a light soup, followed by the seafood and charcuterie-laden French market table and then your choice from a range of traditional breakfast options and hearty Sunday lunch mains, polished off with a button-popping pud. It runs from 12pm – 4pm, and you get the lot for – drum roll – a totally incroyable £19.95, which is pretty good value whichever way you slice it.

On my first of undoubtedly many visits, we began with a bowl of silky herb-adorned vegetable soup This option is always veggie, we were informed - very democratic, very delicious:

The next course, Le Brunch’s centerpiece, was supplied courtesy of the French market table, aka the Buffet of Dreams. It featured a giant leg of Serrano ham, plus platters of French meats, pickles, rillettes, pates, a huge basket of freshly baked bread and mounds of glorious fresh seafood. I loaded up with king prawns, dressed crab, smoked salmon and a favourite that harks back to my upbringing near Morecambe, potted shrimp, all topped off with a freshly-shucked oyster. Feast your eyes...

Repeat visits to this gala spectacular are welcomed and encouraged, but I strongly advise holding your horses as the mains that follow are no shabby afterthought. Especially if you choose, like yours greedy pig truly, the epic HDV bistro burger, a lavish affair topped with bacon and gruyere, served with burger sauce and a cone of crispy fries. It’s cooked to your liking, super juicy and clearly made with great quality beef.
It was an excellent choice, but there are plenty other scrummy alternatives if that doesn’t float your boat, including traditional “brunchies” like Omelette Arnold Bennett and Salmon Hollandaise, alongside British Sunday favourites like the roast dinner and pie of the day.

And then, there was dessert. Perhaps only a fool would say yes, but as the person who wore high-waisted jeans to a four-course brunch, well, then a fool I undeniably was. Again the menu picked from the best of the UK and La France’s national dessert trolleys, with rhubarb crumble and trifle to crème brulee and profiteroles all on offer. I went for the pistachio and nougat ice cream sundae which injected a retro classic with some of HDV’s signature culinary panache, and was a refreshing finish to a pretty remarkable meal.
Summing up, since writing this post is making me need to raid the fridge, immediately: Le Brunch, like Sundays in general, is not something to be hurried. HDV know this and encourage patrons to put aside an afternoon (three hours, in their own words) to relax and fully savour the feast course by course. It’s quality as well as quantity, all-you-can-eat with a touch of class, and it’s simply perfect if you, a fellow philosopher, also think that food does indeed rock. Check out the menu...then I'll see you there soon!


  1. Holy moly, I think I may have seen the Buffet of Dreams in my actual dreams. Wow.

  2. Oh I'll have to visit next time I'm back in Edinburgh looks great!!

  3. It's truly glorious guys - make sure you do!