DECEMBER is a month of extravagance and excess. You don’t have to look far for an excuse to get together with friends and loved ones, shelve the diet or the detox and have a good night out.
Unfortunately it also the time of year when many restaurants are overrun with over-lubricated office parties, unappealing turkey dinners and tight turnovers of tables meaning that you are ushered out before you have had your third spoonful of Christmas pudding and lumpy custard.
While far from offering a bah humbug atmosphere, Ondine is the ideal haven from such festive overload. The menu is infused with seasonal ingredients, without a piece of stuffing in sight, and the seafood is still as fresh as ever.
We listened intently as our waiter explained the different types and providence of the oysters and, unable to decide, we opted for a selection (£17.50). A vast range of sizes, textures and flavours awaited us, and with the shallot vinegar which accompanied, I could have eaten them all night.
Having spotted another diner’s roast shellfish platter (£39.50), it was a no brainer for my crustacean-loving dinner guest – a huge platter of every type of shellfish you could imagine. While I am sure it could have been shared between two, he delved in and polished off the entire spread.
Straying from the seafood for my main, I tried the Orkney Sirloin on the Bone (£26.50). It was just as flavoursome as hoped and could not be faulted.
If you have a sweet tooth, it is worth noting that Ondine also has the most beautiful pavlova in town (£6.50).
Ondine Restaurant, 2 George IV Bridge, 0131-226 1888, www.ondinerestaurant.co.uk