With its own entrance on Princes Street, we proceed downstairs to the restaurant, and while the interior is classical and elegant, even sporting a few blinded windows above the banquettes on one wall, it can never fully escape the feel of being a basement restaurant which can often settle things there and then. The good news is however that the food is excellent and with service to match, those first impressions are not on this occasion lasting impressions.
From the start, part of that recovery was the table at which we were seated: an expansive table for our party of four, affording each of us the space to relax and feel comfortable, aided yet further by the fact that our central table also enjoys an adequate distance between tables, bravo to Number One for this and not cramming us in like a Parisian/Knightsbridge bistro despite its own prime location.
Both a tasting menu and an a la carte is offered though as a table for four with varied prefences, a la carte is preferred. Before our choices arrive however, we are treated with canapes and bread. For the canapes, we have a haggis bon bon, confit rabbit, some ricotta and a smoked haddock fish cake. Nice enough.
The bread basket is literally that, the bread brought to the table in loaf form, six varieties (including rye, red pepper and olives and rosemary and sea salt) and cut to order at the table; individual butter pots are also a nice touch. The bread is also very tasty. And as an amuse, a tomato gazpacho, West coast crab and frozen cucumber is presented to the table. The crab is fresh, wonderfully textured, is complimented well by the tomato gazpacho and combined, offers a well conceived, clear and refreshing flavours. An encouraging start.
Anne, our gastronomic guest from the US was delighted with the beef fillet, loved the sweetbreads and while the jus was dimpled rather than lustrous, it detracted little from the taste. The sole dish offered an elegant plate with quality ingredients though flirted with being perhaps too simple/repetitive at times leaving the diner with the wish to change gear somewhat before the end but just about carried it off. Having sampled three of the six mains on offer, we were, despite some reservations on the sole dish, impressed with the solid execution and overall elegance of the mains.
The bill too was reasonable enough, the a la carte being £62 for three course though with the amuse, pre dessert and petit fours, it can be considered six courses if you like to call it that way. Service was knowledgeable, enthusiastic and friendly so nor can we ask for more there. Three and a half hours after sitting down, we left the restaurant comfortably full, happy with the food (and the bill) and feeling that we had enjoyed an excellent evening: everything then you would hope you should take away from dining out. Recommended.
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