Like a lot of people, we’ve frequented Edmunds on special occasions. I had a stonking birthday dinner there last year for example, but wouldn’t have dreamed of popping in for a bite to eat on a rainy Tuesday. Until now.
The restaurant has reinvented its menu creating more of a bistro vibe. Gone is the set two courses for £49.50, which by anyone’s standards is a bit steep for a speedy weekday lunch and in its place a more accessible, flexible menu. As fans of the pre-reinvention, we trotted off to check it out hoping the changes were negligible. The stylish décor is virtually the same, in fact we didn’t clock a change at all. The team is the same and we were warmly greeted by Geoff and Giles out front and Didier, who is still at the helm in the kitchen driving the changes. Keen to point out there is no change in terms of the quality of the food, Didier was as passionate and excited as we’ve seen him.
The a la carte menu was reasonably priced putting it firmly in multiple visits a month territory. The cauliflower soup to start was unbelievably good and knocked spots off the foodie options surrounding the restaurant. At £7 we’d happily pop in just for a bowl of this warming, truffled, smoky loveliness with a hunk of fresh bread any day of the week. As for six l’escargot coated in garlic butter with a crunchy crouton nestled on top. Gorgeous, although we could have handled more garlic. Sweet seared scallops with a fennel and tomato salad was zingy and refreshing. Meaty and flavour-packed, the chunky country style pate with toasted brioche and pickled gherkins did what it said on the tin, but our pick of the starters was goat’s cheese with figs, sesame seed socca (bit like a miniature bread stick, but softer and 10 times nicer than you’re imagining) and honey. It looked pretty as a picture and tasted wonderfully rich yet fresh and fruity too. The viognier slipped down as we tucked into main courses.
Fillet of beef with frites, roasted tomatoes and a winning béarnaise was brilliant. Apparently there’s a bit of competition in the kitchen as to who makes the greatest béarnaise. We sampled Didier’s and reckon it would be hard to beat. Rump of lamb with dauphine potatoes, peas a la francaise and an unctuous sauce was another winner as was monkfish cheeks with ratatouille with smoked aubergine puree, although I did find an olive stone in the accompanying olive croquette which rattled a filling. The chicken chasseur was nothing like a chasseur we’d tried before – sorry mum! It was rustic and hearty as you’d imagine, but it just tasted superbly rich and perfectly balanced served with parmentier potatoes which were delicious too. This was the stand-out dish in a menu heaving with knock-out dishes.
Puds were light (thankfully) and inventive. A vey blush strawberry dessert comprised a seriously fruity milkshake, perfect macaron, intense strawberry ripple ice cream and Chantilly cream. Then there was moreish honey roasted pear with a cute vanilla sable, super sweet fudge ice cream and a rich toffee sauce. So of the changes… it still feels special, just more affordable. People don’t like change. It’s human nature, but if you liked Edmunds before its new bistro vibe, there’s nothing that will put you off. You’ll just be able to enjoy it more often and if you’ve haven’t been to Edmunds now’s your chance. You won’t regret it.