Je suis un poisson rouge*

Image: Daniel's Bistro

A mid week trip to Daniel’s Bistro in leith proved the perfect way to brighten up a miserable winters evening. Although Daniel’s was based in our stomping ground, on St Stephen street, we had never ventured to his larger premises at Commercial Quay in Leith.

On arrival we were greeted and seated in the main section of the restaurant by very friendly staff. The decor is your standard bistro fayre of timber and bright walls which is perfectly pleasant, but the overly bright lights let it down a little. A wee twiddle of the dimmer switch would add a little more atmosphere and intimacy.

The menu is extensive with the usual French favourites you might expect – cassoulet, crepes, cheese etc. – and also a regularly changing specials menu with interesting treats. We ordered from a mix of the two menus and selected a particularly lovely bottle of Gewürztraminer, a wine that could definitely do with being on more wine lists! Our starters arrived swiftly, mine a french parma style ham and with alpine cheese and cornichons. Simple and delightful. The lady enjoyed grilled stuffed moules (sans frites!) which were a definite hit. A much stronger (and garlicky) flavour punch than mine but great with the complimentary crusty baguette. Starters a firm success.

The wait for our main courses was just long enough to sit back and digest the starters. As mentioned there are plenty of old favourites on the menu and following the recommendation of Daniel himself I happily tucked into Beouf Bourgignon. It had been a tough choice between this, confit duck or cassoulet. The beef was simply served in a casserole dish piled over boiled new potatoes. The taste was rich and unctuous and the beef literally melting in the mouth – delightful! In a wild departure from the norm my dining partner had ordered polenta with grilled goats cheese – an odd choice given our shared love for meat here at Stovies! The polenta was studded with a selection of veg and topped with gloriously gooey melting goat cheese. Rich yet very, very moreish the dish was particularly hearty for a veggie option. Perhaps one to recreate in the Stovies kitchen…

Having stuffed ourselves quite successfully mulled over another couple of glasses of wine to digest. One of the excellent traits of Daniels was that the staff were more than happy to let us do this, a refreshing change in our over-rushed world. We (eventually) got round to choosing pudding, a gateaux opera with two spoons. It was delicious, just not quite as decadent as we expected, but pleasant nonetheless. A lovely strong coffee helped wash everything down and rounded up a nice evening out. Daniels Bistro – great french fare, as relaxed as any Burgandy bistro and very helpful staff who make everyone feel like a regular.

* This is all I remember of secondary school french. Next time I’ll leave the languages to Mrs Stovies, people look at me a little strangely when I say that to them.

Dinner à deux with wine: £60.00

Daniel’s Bistro, Commercial Quay, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 553 5933


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