Edinburgh restaurant review: Le Monde is a drinks destination worth a Millionaire Baller

Gaby Soutar tests out food and drink at festive favourite Le Monde

Sunday, 1st December 2019, 4:00 pm
Le Monde recently underwent a 1 million makeover

I’m the Christmas police.

Tomorrow, 1 December, I permit you to put up a few tasteful decorations.

Don’t be like that neighbour who’s had a flashing-nosed Rudolph and a waving Santa in their window for weeks.

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Ironically, they will not be getting a card from me this year, and there won’t be room at the inn for their Amazon parcels.

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First look at iconic venue Le Monde's million pound makeover

I feel for Le Monde.

Their 13-year-old venue is next door to The Dome, which has had fairy lights snaking around its Greco-Roman columns since October. Still, even if, on the outside, they’re almost invisible in comparison, Le Monde must be swankier indoors. After a £1 million refurbishment, there’s a circular and marble-topped Laurent Perrier Champagne bar, another bar fringed in UFO-like blue lights, emerald velvet booths, pink neon artwork and a herringbone floor.

Their new look makes for a cocktaily kind of place. Thus, I’m tempted to go for a Millionaire Baller (£9) which seems the most George Street of drinks ever invented, but instead choose the more understated Cherry and Rhubarb Spritz (£9). This is almost a pint’s worth, in a glass big enough to happily house a runty goldfish. It consists mainly of soda and Prosecco, but with a touch of Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur and a maraschino cherry, like a sunken buoy.

We avoid the burger or chicken thigh with whisky sauce and opt for the slightly more exciting dishes, which are mainly divided into Vegetarian, Vegan, Sea and Land.

Our best thing was from the Butcher’s Cuts section – the shared medium rare diamond cut (£11).

It was a good bit of beef, with a livery tang and slathered in chimichurri (£2). We fought over it like T-Rex, with teeth gnashing and tiny arms biffing each other.

The set of five large chorizo and manchego croquettes (£6) were decent, with a furry ginger crust and tiny nibs of meat in their pulpy innards. The best element of this dish was the side of tangy burnt pineapple and chilli ketchup.

Apart from the unseasoned and slightly chewy sail of fish skin, we enjoyed the oak smoked salmon (£6.50) – a crumbled up fillet, rather than the slippery stuff, with loads of dill, fennel, orange wedges and blobs of crème fraîche. We also had the deli-ish vegetarian option of roast pepper and olive salad (£4.50), which was a cold assemblage of green olives, feta, dukkah, rocket and roasted red peppers.

The beetroot textures (£4.50) option from the vegan list wasn’t that successful, mainly because the hunks of this veg were pickled and the acidity eclipsed any subtle flavours of dehydrated golden beetroot, gremolata and pink purée. If vinegar were a texture, it’d be jaggy.

We also weren’t impressed by the side of baked mushrooms and cheddar crumble (£3.50). This oddity consisted of two upended Portobello mushies topped in a sort of pale, dry and cat litter-y granola – a bit like crumbled cheesy oatcakes.

For pudding, we shared the vanilla poached pear (£6), which had a slightly tired spongy texture, but we enjoyed its accompaniments of pistachio and oat crumble and a little jug that contained a warm coconut anglaise, dotted with a blob of raspberry compote, like ET’s heart.

Nice, and the grub was perfectly adequate, but this isn’t really a foodie destination. Drinky-poos are a different matter, so I’ll be back for a Millionaire Baller and to gawp at the interior.

When it comes to that, they’re definitely keeping up with The Domeses