Rhubarb Restaurant, Edinburgh, Dining Review, Location, Scottish Accommodation
Rhubarb, Edinburgh : Prestonfield House Restaurant
Prestonfield House Hotel & Rhubarb Restaurant, Scotland, UK
Review of Restaurant, Prestonfield House Hotel
Prestonfield House Hotel Five Star information added at base of page
Prestonfield House Hotel Rhubarb Review
Tucked behind a swathe of Southside suburbia is a former Lord Provost’s white-rendered house, its double gables framed by mature trees.
The house faces Arthur’s Seat to the north, to the left is the Prestonfield Golf Club and to the right Duddingston Loch.
The house is fairly sedate from outside but as entry unfolds you are swept into a cosetted luxury of colour and pattern, richly-furnished rooms and exquisite service. The plan is axial, stepping up in section to the Dining Room, down again at the far end to the luxury sleeping accommodation. The palette varies but is generally rich and dark, with a theme of dark red and rhubarb with black and gold trimming; there is a wealth of wallpaper in the public rooms and in the twenty-six bedrooms. Most fabrics – especially those in Rhubarb – are woven specially for Prestonfield House Hote by Watts of Westminster (famous for the Lord Chancellor’s expensive wallpaper) mainly to documents & archive designs by Bodley, Pugin though there are a few bedroom walls upholstered in printed velvets.
Prestonfield’s main hall is split by a full width bank of lovely, worn wooden steps, at the bottom of which sits a baby grand, scene of an impromptu sing-along after MTV’s 2003 Music Awards in Leith by various celeberities such as The Darkness. At the change in level, the hall has been opened up into a room above to bring down light and open up views. Off the lower Hall is the Yellow room on the left for pre-dinner drinks, and the Italian room on the right, complete with original Italian paintings.
Upstairs, off a kind of Minstrels’ Gallery, is a sumptuous dark-paletted room called the Tapestry Room, complete with heavy rococo ceiling and enfiladed Leather room complete with – surprise, surprise – leather panels. So no room at Prestonfield has bare walls and thus the sound quality of the Hotel is quiet, discreet, relaxing.
Back down in the Hall can be seen architectural plans and sections of the House drawn in the war years by a Polish architect. We were shown into some typical suites including one slept in by Bryan Ferry. The flowers match the flock wallpaper, the seats match the curtains and luxury gadgets are discreetly concealed. Standard elements such as glass coffee tables don’t exist here, instead we have richly-carved trunks overlaid with glass.
We are shown back to the Yellow room for pre-dinner drinks. Prestonfield House Hotel’s menus and wine list are A3-sized, large ‘red’ canvas affairs that ooze quality. There is a good choice within courses at Rhubarb: 9 starters, 8 main and 7 pudding.
Starters included two seafood dishes – seared scallops on horseradish pomme puree, mustard oil and parsley juice or Lindisfarne oysters ‘au natural’ with traditional garnish. Fish starters were grilled yellow fin tuna ‘nicoise’ and Red mullet esca beche with warm carrot dressing. Alternatively you could have Crottin goats cheese ravioli with bell pepper and walnut salad or Tart tatin of cherry tomatoes with vine-ripened tomato sorbet. Rhubarb’s star starter – apart from the traditional oysters of course – seemed to be theGewurztraminer poached Foie gras ‘au tronchon’ with pickled cherries. Finally, a Tian of veal kidney and sweetbreads plus sweet Marsala sauce or a White onion and grain mustard soup with mull cheddar toasts made up a strong selection of starters.
All this could be washed down with wine from a really phenomenal wine list, pages and pages long. I went for a Riesling Kavinett Weinght S.A. Prum 1997 to accompany my Monkfish tails. My wife chose a Enate – Tinto Crianza 1999 from Spain: ‘redcurrants, brambles, mocha, capiscum, spicey and licourice flavours’ to go with her Roebuck main course. Both suited, both had complex flavours, especially the Riesling despite the Crianza’s list of flavours.
Service was easily the best received at any top establishment in Edinburgh – see the dining page for other reviewed restaurants. It was slick, balanced, but not too friendly or too serious. Nothing let it down like dull cutlery or pedestrian tableware. The bread served was delicious, the water and wine delivery polished.
We enjoyed Rhubarb immensely, we were pampered and the Hotel proved that it could really look after its guests. The Hotel is still young in its new colours so we hope that it can maintain its standard over the years, it certainly seems to be a place we can take our favourite guests from abroad for a quality evening of discreet luxury. Well done to the chef, and well done to James Thomson, Mark Gardner, designer/PR man Mark Rowley, and all the team at Prestonfield and Rhubarb!
Rhubarb restaurant opening times
Mon – Sun 12pm – 3pm; 6pm – 11pm
Review from May 2004
For further info on Prestonfield House Hotel or Rhubarb Restaurant please contact the Prestonfield House on 0131 225 0976
If you are interested in developments at Prestonfield:
Visit James Thomson’s Prestonfield House Hotel, Edinburgh’s most indulgent retreat at www.prestonfield.com or enjoy a taste of Rhubarb at his latest highly-acclaimed restaurant at www.rhubarb-restaurant.com
The Witchery by the Castle, Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh & Prestonfield House, Priestfield Road, Edinburgh
Prestonfield House Hotel – Direct line: +44 (0) 131 668 3403
Prestonfield House Hotel – Direct fax: +44 (0) 131 668 3976
Review of Rhubarb Restaurant received Apr 2005
‘Fantastic – food and service excellent. The interior design is fabulous. An amazing dining experience – so good we went back for the Hogmanay Ball and were just as impressed!!’
James Thomson restaurants
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Rhubarb Restaurant – Building : page
Website : www.rhubarb-restaurant.com