When I was contacted about photographing some dishes for a new Edinburgh restaurant, I was happy to be involved. I was introduced to Chef and owner, Jérôme Henry, who showed me around the space and talked me through his plans for the restaurant. While the space was starting to take shape and the tables and bar were in, there wasn’t a great deal else there. However, it was certainly a marked change from the burger joint that came before it.
An Edinburgh restaurant with a difference
Now, while we love a good burger as much as anyone, Le Roi Fou could not be further from the previous inhabitant. Elegant and classic, with a contemporary edge (and gorgeous walnut dining chairs), the interiors are thanks to creative director, Isolde Nash , who was a former picture editor and obviously has an eye for detail.
Having previously worked at Anton Mosimann’s Private Dining Club and Les Trois Garçons, Swiss-born Jérôme Henry is certainly no stranger to fine-dining, but his new venture is so much more than that.
Le Roi Fou, the starters
While my fellow dinner, friend and long-term eating parter, enjoyed a luxurious starter of Hebridean crab chowder with neeps & buttermilk, I couldn’t resist one of my absolute favourites, beef tartare. The hand cut Scottish fillet was a perfect choice, perfectly seasoned, balanced with citrus sharpness and just light enough to justify my choice of a heavier main course.
Next up? A surprise sent up from the kitchen, a pair of Isle of Skye scallops served in a lemon and fennel purée, alongside some Wye Valley asparagus. And next to that? Oysters Rockefeller. My, (oh, my).
And, breathe…onto the mains
After recovering from not one, but two unexpected delights, we were looking forward to our mains. My friends’s buttery fillet of North Sea cod was cooked beautifully. A dill and saffron-infused velvety sauce accompanied the fish, along with some colourful vegetables. Although beautifully presented, let’s face it, with a piece of fish that good in front of you, it’s not the vegetables that grab (or keep) your attention.
I went all out and ordered seared lamb loin served with braised lamb belly & a mint sauce. (With a side of pommes frites.) While a pairing of lamb and mint might be classic, I don’t think the addition of fries is, but the waitress did not sneer or turn up her nose, and instead commented, ‘great decision.’
While I knew the food looked good after photographing it the month previously, this was altogether unexpected – fantastic food, delicious wine, tasteful interiors, a central location, and not a whiff of pretension.
My only disappointment? My own greed. I enjoyed every dish so thoroughly that there was no room for dessert. Shocking, I know – in fact, I’m rather embarrassed that I couldn’t just power through as I have so many times before. So, I can’t comment on the puds – although I have every intention of stopping by very soon for a repeat performance…in my most stretchiest of clothes.
The a la carte may be pricey (£90 for two, excluding drinks), but the restaurant certainly caters for a variety of budgets and occasions. With a range of menus from tasting to a la carte, prix fixe (2 courses, £17.50, or 3 for £21.50), and from weekend brunches to lunches – they’ve got something for everyone.
The best of Edinburgh
Le Roi Fou is, quite simply, one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh – and certainly the hottest table in town. The name may translate as ‘The crazy king’, but you’d be the crazy one if you decided not to book. If you are trying to impress someone, are planning a celebration, or just love delicious food cooked by a man with great talent, a visit is a must. It will fill you with joy.
Thank you to the team at Le Roi For who invited us for this delicious meal – it was a pleasure to photograph your dishes!
Find them: 1 Forth Street, Edinburgh
Contact them: 0131-557 9346