WITH trestle tables, rickety chairs and benches and, most importantly, checked table cloths, stepping into Chez Jules feels a touch like walking through a wardrobe and coming out in rural France rather than Narnia.
As soon as we sat down we had an immediate sense of relaxation and no pressure to rush. To start we chose boudin noir aux pommes (£5.95) and le crotin de chevre grille (£5.40). The former was was a delectably tender French black pudding which combined perfectly with the apple, although I could have done without the curly lettuce garnish. The goat’s cheese salad came with walnuts, toast and a honey, balsamic and sesame dressing.
To follow we had the noisette d’ agneau au romarin (£14.90) a braised lamb shank with rosemary and garlic. Generous in size, the meat fell enticingly straight off the bone and was delicious.
Following reports of less than perfect versions of Surf and Turf being served, we were very pleased with the rib-eye steak and half lobster that arrived. The steak was wonderful and although not of top quality, the lobster was tender and juicy. Accompanied by one of the best and most garlicky aliolis we have ever tasted and matchstick fries it is an outstanding dish especially when considering the price (£19.90).
Fit to burst at this stage, my sister insisted on dessert. The crème brulee (£4.90) and mousse au chocolat (£3.95) were a perfect end to the meal. Chunks of chocolate were a great twist on a classic and the crème brulee was as creamy and soft as anyone could wish for. One of our new favourite restaurants, Chez Jules is perfect for the laid-back diner.
• Chez Jules, 109 Hanover St, 0131-226 6992, www.chezjulesbistro.com