City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

L'Artichaut


Average Rating:
4
Restaurant profile
Edinburgh Area: 
New Town, Edinburgh
Serving times: 
Closed
Telephone: 
0131 558 1608
Restaurant Established: 
09 - 11

The sister restaurant of popular La Garrigue, L’Artichaut is a vegetarian restaurant with a French theme. In November 2010, owner Jean-Michel Gauffre announced that the restaurant would not be continuing as a vegetarian restaurant. The new restaurant is called La Garrigue in the New Town.


The Reviews

4

£10 Challenge: L'Artichaut

Reviewed by Euan Andrews

Monday, August 9, 2010 - 2:25pm

Lunch: Starters £3, Main Courses £6.50

Tucked away down a leafy New Town street, L’Artichaut is sister restaurant to the justly celebrated La Garrigue on Jeffrey Street. Aiming to blend traditions of French rustic cooking with a vegetarian regime, a potentially incompatible pairing, it presents a good choice for a two course meat-free lunch at just under £10 (a wee bit more if you fancy a dessert).

On entering, the first thing you notice is the green wall décor, liberally sprinkled with paintings of different shapes and sizes featuring, of course, artichokes. This is very much a restaurant which wears its emblem as a brand. The feel is “modern rustic”, down to the matching furniture and crockery, lending the impression of being in a 21st century farmhouse.

The lovely waitress provides us with some excellent olive-studded bread to begin with, before our starters arrive. My warm asparagus, of both the green and white variety, with poached egg and hollandaise vinaigrette is a classic summer dish. Well executed, but, then again, it would be pretty impossible for any decent restaurant to get wrong. Mother has a pleasant if slightly bland carrot terrine, unfortunately accompanied by some pickled vegetables which seem to have been dunked in malt vinegar for 24 hours, making them almost inedible.

This hit-with-the-odd-miss approach continues with our mains. I’m very satisfied with my robust spicy black bean stew with chicory and spiced cauliflower, but Mother’s globe artichoke and green bean salad comes absolutely soaked in over-vinegary dressing, as well as missing a couple of vital ingredients mentioned on the menu. On mentioning this to our still lovely waitress, however, a replacement salad with less dressing is immediately offered.

Slightly breaking my own rules, I finish with a marvellous strawberry and honeycomb sundae which takes me over the £10 limit. But it’s worth it, like eating a Crunchie with fresh strawberry fondant.

As a committed carnivore, I can’t help feeling that a vegetable-only variant on French rustic cuisine is impossible. I come away thinking how much better it could have been with a bit of meat. This is perhaps doing L’Artichaut a disservice, however. Unlike celebrated local vegetarian restaurants such as David Bann’s and Black Bo’s, which admittedly make lack of flesh and fish an unnoticed virtue, L’Artichaut offers a good lunch deal for diners on a budget. You’ll get extremely high quality ingredients with excellent service and ambience presented in a relaxing setting. And hopefully slightly less vinegar.

4

Vegetarian restaurant that is out of the ordinary

Reviewed by Jo Clarke

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 4:59pm

For something a little out of the ordinary, L'Artichaut provides the rare combination of vegetarian French cooking. Vegetarian menus often opt for predictably wholesome, hearty type fare or something extra spicy, so it's a treat to come across this alternative.

For our evening meal starters, my dining companion and I tried the roasted pepper, guacamole verrine, which turned out to be a parfait glass filled with colourful layers of complementary cold selections absolutely bursting with flavour. With the natural sweetness of the vegetables and the apple remoulade, it was almost like starting with dessert, and it left our tastebuds primed for the main course.

You recognize a good cook when you've been won over to love a flavour you'd previously loathed. I opted for the fennel-stuffed courgette as my main course, and turned out to be pleasantly surprised by its very delicate hint of a spice I'd assiduously avoided in the past. The fennel and courgette were perfectly cooked: tender but not overdone, and the whole dish was subtle and succulent in the mouth.

For dessert, our baked pineapple was not entirely successful, lingering between fresh and cooked, but the accompanying currant sorbet was exceptional - tart and intense.

While my companion was less-than-impressed with the understated ambiance of the establishment, I quite enjoyed its relaxed, low-key environment which let us enjoy our meal in peace and comfort. Another standout for me were the beautifully crafted wood tables and chairs, art in themselves, which had me running my hands over the furniture in tactile delight before our meal even began.

At a very reasonable £15 for 2 course evening meal, £19.50 for 3 courses, L'Artichaut is well worth another visit.