Edinburgh's Café Tartine offers a wonderful and unique Burns Supper, finds Patricia Scott

“Robert Burns is No One Night Stand “ said Jock Ferguson as he weaved his way through The immortal Memory.

There is no question that once you have had a taste of Burns it leaves you wanting more. The same could be said of the extravaganza put together by Michael and Joanne Graham at Cafe Tartine to celebrate the life and works of Robert Burns.

As a proud Scottish lassie I have been a keen student in the works of Burns and at this time of year it is my great pleasure to pay tribute to him so it will be unsurprising to many that  I found myself accepting an invitation to Café Tartine’s Burns Supper.

Piper Davie Hunter and actor Jock Ferguson. Picture: CT

Piper Davie Hunter and actor Jock Ferguson. Picture: CT

I was curious to find out what this  French rustic restaurant had to offer and was asking myself “Could they really compete with the more traditional Scottish restaurants who would seemed to have it covered at this time of year?” ; the reality is they don’t have to, they stand out merely by choosing to do something different. In a part of town strewn with top class restaurants it would be easy to fade in to the background but instead the blend of French class and Scottish drama resulted  in an event which the man himself would have been proud of.

The evening started a little later than anticipated and began with renowned actor Jock Ferguson welcoming us all.

We had pre-ordered the food  from a set menu and I ordered, black pudding- scotch egg to start with while my guest ordered the Cullen Skink . The scotch egg did not disappoint it’s golden eye winking at me from the centre of it’s  perfectly baked shell with a lightly drizzled sauce gribiche giving it a little French twist. The Cullen skink was plentiful, tasteful and broth-like in it’s consistency, a hearty starter indeed.

Emma, our waitress, was very attentive at all times, making sure our glasses were filled and ensuring the ambience  was to our liking.

There was a break before the main course and then the Haggis was dutifully piped in by Davie  Hunter after which Jock  delivered a dramatic rendition of ‘To A Haggis’ (and later excelled himself with an energetic and articulate version of  ‘A Man’s A Man For All That’ during the immortal memory).

As  my guest and I had both ordered Haggis, neeps and tattties, it was to our mutual delight that we found it to be both moist and creamy with a good old traditional peppery kick.   The mashed tatties, were a  creamy delight,  the neeps  a perfect  compliment (and in fact, dare I say it, gave the taste and bite of those of yesteryear).

To round off our 3 course set menu I had chosen a raspberry crannachan which mixed with a raspberry sorbet was delicious and cleansed the pallet to perfection. My guest had the clootie dumpling which packed a punch, (no doubt due to  a generous dollop of the amber nectar) accompanied by a perfect light custard.

However, to describe the food, service and ambience would do the evening an injustice. The Grahams had also impeccably coordinated actors Jock Ferguson and Ian Watt who both educated and entertained and yet at no time distracted from the main purpose of the Burn supper. For £29,95 per head (which included a  nip of whisky to toast the bard) this was undoubtedly punching above it’s weight and certainly offered a great night of value in Auld Reekie.  Long may the Auld Alliance continue.

Michael and Joanne plan to put their Burns Supper on their events calendar every year with this being the second year and is developing into an event which if Saturday’s anything to go by will go on to be a ongoing highlight.

Café Tartine Burns supper, Edinburgh, restaurant review
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