La Pompadour (Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh)

La Pompadour has a gorgeous old-fashioned formal dining room. We were lucky enough to visit on a very quiet Wednesday evening (surprising, given how close to the Festival we’re getting), and we got one of the best tables in town: tucked into the north-east corner, looking straight up at the Castle. The down side of it being quiet enough for us to get that table was that the restaurant felt empty and lacking in atmosphere, and its formality felt intrusive instead of luxurious.

I started with a medallion of sea bass on a bed of ratatouille couscous, and a red pepper and chili sauce. Main course was roast lamb on a bed of spinach and puy lentils, with roast vegetables and new potatoes. Dessert was an enormous cone of dark chocolate mousse with blackcurrent sorbet. The flavours were traditional: rich and well-balanced, but not terribly adventurous or exciting. Presentation was excellent, but the portions were a bit on the large side–I could only face one of the home-made chocolates and fudges that came with the after-dinner tea and coffee, which is a shame. The food was well-priced (£18-£26 for a main course), but the wine and spirits were expensive. £15 for a bottle of what was effectively house white is on the high side, but £6.80 for a (50ml) measure of gin is shocking.