REVIEW Paul Tamburrini at MacDonald Holyrood Hotel

Paul Tamburrini opened his 80 seater restaurant just over a year ago in late 2017, at the MacDonald Holyrood Hotel. Neighbours include Dynamic Earth, the legendary Rockstar North now housed in the old Scotsman Building and the ever popular bar/eatery Hemma. It is also a stones throw away from Arthurs Seat and a 10 minute walk from the Cowgate. Although slightly out of the city centre, it’s close enough to walk to or catch a taxi.

I was back again but this time to a Surprise Tasting Menu, sampling some of the dishes that will make their way onto the new tasting menu and those already chosen for the a la carte menu.

We were sat in a booth this time at a lovely vast marble-like topped table. I do love the clean lines; only broken up by crystal clear wine glasses and sparkling cutlery.

Our waiter Theo could not have been nicer and took the time to explain each dish and paired wines. It was an added bonus that Theo and Mr TartanSpoon bonded over football during the cheese course; I of course just switched off and concentrated on the cheese!

It’s a must – all tasting menus start with champagne. In this case a glass of Laurent Perrier.

Bread and butter set the scene of what’s to come. Their sourdough is from Freedom Bakery in Glasgow.

First Course – Warm Potato Mousse with black truffle and artichoke crisp.

A very light and airy mousse that filled your belly and heart with warmth. The taste of the truffle is strong at the start but gives way to rich creaminess of the potato.

Second Course – Salt Baked Celeriac with walnut mayonnaise, roasted onion and rosemary oil.

By far my number one dish on this menu but then I love onions. Large delicate leaves of onion, charred and roasted, with a pool of rosemary oil and walnut sitting delicately inside the curve, laid on a bed of smooth, silky celeriac. Heavenly!

This was paired with Vire Clesse, Le Mont Chatelaine wine. This is a medium-bodied, rich wine with flavours of citrus zest and peaches. It’s intensely crisp but also creamy which picks up on the celeriac and the walnut mayo.

Third Course – Mussel veloute, hispi cabbage and mussels.

A very elegant, simple dish with a mussel just peaking out above the foam. A small bowl filled with plump mussels; it tastes of the sea. The cabbage at the bottom of the bowl holds a slight crunch.

Fourth Course – King Crab Tagliatelle with lemon and black pepper.

Silky long stands of pasta coated in the wonderful flavours of the sea, with two-three chunks of sweet juicy king crab. A genuinely delightful dish.

This was paired with Mantlerhof Weitgasse Veltliner Gruner wine from Austria. This wine is quite floral but has a strong mineral base. It’s a wine that works well with white meats or seafood. It’s lively and fresh.

Fifth Course – Roast Rack of Lamb with French bean salad and confit potatoes.

Succulent and tender lamb lollipops. The lamb was cooked just right – pink and sweet! Three dishes accompanied this lamb, potatoes, celeriac mash and green beans.

Paired with Rioja Vivanco, Crianza, a mature, complex and elegant red wine. On the nose, the aromas of ripe red fruit stand out, with toasted notes from its ageing. In the mouth, it is expressive and very long. It is ideal with Iberian ham, red meats and roasted lamb.

A lemon fresh palate cleanser to refresh the taste buds and perk up the appetite.

Sixth Course – Fresh Pear Siphon, poached pear, marscapone ice cream and demerara tuile.

Simply delightful. The pear was poached and warm but retained a soft firm bite, the marscapone ice cream perched perfectly atop with a little crunch coming from the sugar.

This was my dessert pool left at the bottom of the plate. Love how it retains the outline of the poached pear.

For the dessert wine, we were poured the Late Harvest, Royal Tokaji. A Hungarian wine; a divine sweet white – not a traditional Tokaji but a Late Harvest wine with intense honeyed fruit and brilliant freshness. You’ll most certainly taste all the citrus in it from apricots to lemon and oranges but the honey certainly shines through.

Seventh Course – Seasonal French and British cheeses, quince jelly and walnut bread.

At first I thought this was butter, but I can confirm it is cheese! The folds are beautiful and I really didn’t want to eat it but I did. It was a really sharp medium hard cheese (soft enough for it to fold without cracking) and I’m sorry to report that I didn’t manage to get the name of the cheese.

This cheese course was well thought out and I’d call it as – absolutely exceptional.

A generous amount of fresh walnut bread for your cheese!

An exquisite pairing. This Pedro Ximenez, San Emilo Sherry is a sweet, silky and soft wine. The aromas of raisins and figs stand out. In the mouth, it is voluminous, with a long and persistent finish. Absolute perfection on its own but it’ll make you very happy when consumed along with thick chunks of the cheeses.

A wee espresso and a whisky finished off our evening of indulgence and I can’t thank Chef Paul Tamburrini and all his staff for looking after us so well.

Dinner here is an absolute treat! Beautiful setting and decor, friendly knowledgeable staff and fantastic food and wine. If you ever wanted to treat yourself or someone, consider Paul Tamburrini Bistro De Luxe.

Paul Tamburrini at MacDonald Holyrood Hotel, 81 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh.                          Tel :  0344 879 9028.

My Spoon Award : Gold Spoon award 9/10


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