Liam Rudden: Christmas comes early at The Dome

Chef Sue Snider at the Dome with its Christmas lights. Picture: Scott Taylor
Chef Sue Snider at the Dome with its Christmas lights. Picture: Scott Taylor
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WELL the weather outside was frightful (it was raining), and the lights were so delightful, so there was only one place to go, let it glow, let it glow, let it glow!

Dean Martin might not have sung those exact words but you get my drift, and if there is one place in Edinburgh that conjures up the magic of Christmas more than (and earlier than) any other, it’s The Dome, on George Street.

Outside, glittering columns and a forest of miniature pine trees sparkle their welcome, while inside garlands, baubles, decorations and the most impressive tree in the Capital ensure that a visit to The Dome is akin to walking into the most enchanting wonderland imaginable.

So popular are The Dome’s Christmas celebrations that they start at the end of October, which is how I came to be settling down to my first turkey roast of the season.

The festive menu, now up and running, comes at a cost of £39.50 per person, in return for which you get a three-course meal, tea or coffee and wee mince pie. There are older and younger menus for the over 80s and under 14s.

Scanning the main menu, I opted for an old favourite to start; Scottish Smoked Salmon, served with a prawn and crayfish cocktail. While I waited, I tucked into a slice of the fresh onion bread from the selection we had been offered by Eleni, who would go on to look after us quite brilliantly.

Lunching with me, actor Arron Usher started with the soup of the day, a rich, creamy chicken affair he declared “perfect”.

When my started arrived, it seemed a shame to spoil Chef’s artistic presentation. The salmon, as ever, was fresh and full-flavoured, the “posh prawn cocktail” delivered in a shot glass, the perfect accompaniment.

While Arron had decided the Pan Fried Duck Breast with warm potato and bacon salad and raspberry vinaigrette would be his main course, for me it had to be traditional turkey complete with kilted sausages, sage and onion stuffing, carrots, Brussels, rich pan gravy and potatoes – both roast and boiled.

The duck, I was assured was excellent, as Arron demolished his plate in no time at all. The turkey was succulent, vegetables crisp, stuffing not too overpowering and the gravy tasty. The roast potatoes were to die for, as they say.

Taking a break before our final course, there was time to soak up the spell-binding surroundings and enjoy the wine General Manager Steven Hall had been delighted to choose to matching our food choices. His recommendations were the light and fruity Domaine Bonnard Sancerre 2013, perfect for afternoon drinking; and to go with the main course, Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir 2012 Marlborough. Spicy with raspberry and blackberry traits, it was again surprisingly light... and easy to drink.

Then it was time for desert. Christmas pud for Arron, while I gave in to the tantalising Poached Pear in Whisky and Honey. Both perfect ends to a truly magical afternoon. Especially as the rain was off by the time we left.

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a visit to The Dome, but book now to avoid disappointment. You can wait for up to two hours for a table over the festive season if you haven’t booked in advance.

The Dome, George Street, 0131-624 8624