When you mention ‘Epicurean’ amongst the foodies they all have one thing to say – ‘oh the cocktails are outstanding’, so I went along to find out for myself (you all know I’m partial to a cocktail or five!).
Epicurean is the very cool, new-ish bar that is a result of the refurbishment of the 5 star G&V Hotel just off the Royal Mile. It’s modern, trendy and very sophisticated but yet manages to exude a very relaxed welcoming atmosphere.
First off I have to mention that the staff are exceptional here. Their mixologist, David Hall, was absolutely brilliant. He knows the cocktails inside and out and it was a delight to be able to work with him as a blogger to get the best out of the cocktails. When I review I often ask the staff to recommend dishes or drinks and request cocktails or food that are ‘Instagramable’ (btw that’s now a word!). David, was skilled and knowledgeable asking myself and my dining partner what spirits we were partial too, did we like sweet or sour, what herbs or botanics we liked and was able to advise. An expert and a genius! and it made my job alot easier.
The Epicurean has a set theme, as does the entire hotel. They pay homage to four Post-Impressionist Scottish Colourist painters. Influences of this are found in the menus with paintbrushes attached, the arty paint splat vases and the colourful array of cocktails and drinks.
To start, this vibrant cocktail is the Plein Air : Hendricks Gin, Kitsch Cucumber and Fennel Soda, Earl Grey, Lime, Creme de Violette drizzle and borage. The violet liqueur is added at the table so that it bleeds through the cocktail like a watercolour painting. Very pretty.
This is the Hunter’s Rose : Holy Grass Vodka, Lillet Blanc, Rose & Hibiscus, Byrrh Grand Quinquina, lemon, egg white and Champagne. The Vodka is Scottish and this cocktail is quite flowery. Whilst sipping on our cocktails we called on David again to recommend some of the best dishes to try off their Mediterranean Tapas menu. The dishes are all geared up for sharing and in a beautiful bar setting like this, there in nothing better than nibbling away on great food engaging in fabulous catch-up conversations with friends and drinking cocktails!
The menu lists most of my favourite things – Orange and Rosemary Olives, Zucchini Frittes, Edamame beans with chilli and garlic; and you can choose from cheese, vegetable or meat platters.
The dishes we tried were the Scottish Mussels with chilli and garlic in a light tomato sauce. These were simply stunning. Fresh, with a lovely dipping soup at the bottom. The mussels were sweet and plump with the chilli and garlic completing the perfect flavour profile.
The Marinated Calamari with lemon, thyme and paprika was very scrumptious too. Plenty to go around and soft and succulent.
We also couldn’t resist trying the Chorizo and New Potato dish. A wonderful combination with the potatoes soaking up the smoky oils of the chorizo.
Adding to the sheer indulgence of the evening we continued to eat, and tucked into the meat platter with a selection of cured meats, grilled artichokes, roasted peppers served with a tomato and rocket salad; and the bread basket with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was all so, so tasty. A very well thought out menu, where one dish complemented another. The several breads each with a different texture where used as vessels to scoop up the all the lovely remnants of the mussels, calamari and chorizo.
The next cocktail was the Near Milngavie : Daffy’s Gin, St Germain Elderflower liqueur, lemon and basil sherbet, celery bitters, egg white and Greek basil. This made my dining partner very happy as she loves a good ‘soor’ cocktail and this certainly delivered!
I chose the Lavender Fields which you’ll find under the Non-Alcoholic section of the menu but you can ‘take away the innocence’ with Bacardi 8 year old rum! My choice. I loved this especially when I crushed the sprig of lavender which added a lovely floral scent to the drink.
We weren’t done yet. Next to come to the table was the delightful and playful Miel Royale. Tanqueray No 10, Rhubarb, Rooftop Honey (from the G&V bees), Spring Garden Tea and Champagne served with Chamomile Sorbet and fresh Honeycomb cone! This is light and quite zesty.
We finished with some gins and tonics. The Gin Mare and tonic comes with a rosemary sprig and is quite herb-a-licious! The rosemary is a wonderful garnish to this gin. A very different but nice take on a G&T!
And the very last drink was the Burleigh’s Distiller Cut Gin and Tonic with grapefruit. Another superb garnish and actually I much prefer this to the traditional slice of cucumber or lemon. Wonderfully refreshing!
The Epicurean is chic; it has one of the best mixologists I’ve come across (a massive thank you once again to David); they grow their own herbs and flowers in their Evogro hydroponic; their honey comes from their own G&Vee-bees on their rooftop; and they have taken the time to hone their extensive and clever drinks menu.
Thank you Epicurean for a wonderful evening!
1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1AD
Tel : 0131 220 6666 www.gandvhotel.com
My Spoon Award : Tartan