City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Chez Pierre


Average Rating:
4
Restaurant Photos
Photo of the Edinburgh restaurant
Restaurant profile
Edinburgh Area: 
New Town, Edinburgh
Telephone: 
0131 556 0006

Pierre Levicky's French-influenced restaurant from the man who pioneered affordable gourmet meals with the Pierre Victoire chain.


The Reviews

4

£10 Challenge: Chez Pierre

Reviewed by Euan Andrews

Sunday, August 1, 2010 - 8:39am

Price of Le Complet: £6.90

Pierre Levicky is a bit of an Edinburgh culinary institution in himself. The Frenchman can be said to have introduced the city to the concept of eating well in pleasant surroundings at non-bank breaking prices. I vividly remember, as an impoverished student in the early nineties, sitting in one of the many branches of Pierre Victoire studded around the city centre and thinking to myself, “Wow, I’m in a restaurant. Eating good food!”

Sadly, hard times came Pierre’s way, but he’s in the process of re-establishing himself. His medium-sized New Town eatery (coincidentally, in a bit of a French double-header, right next door to L’Artichaut) was previously known as Chez Pierre, but is now in the process of reverting to the re-launched Pierre Victoire brand.

This light, airy dining room is pretty much always busy at lunchtime, popular with large parties, tourists and local professionals. The ambience can be brisk and noisy, but the food and unflappable service disguise any latent hysteria. Pierre himself can often be seen through the partition into the kitchen, poring over hot pots and stoves.

It would be very easy to spend a lot of money on lunch at Chez Pierre. There is an extensive menu, plus the daily specials which today consist of mouth-watering options of veal or lobster at the £15-£20 mark. But we’re on a budget, and so we’re here for Le Complet. This is a daily special offering two choices for the main course, plus a complimentary starter to share and coffee to finish. At £6.90 per person, it’s a pretty good deal.

Here today with the glamorous Miss H, we have only just given our orders before bread is delivered (one could judge the quality of a French restaurant by the speediness with which they bring bread to the table) along with a salad and excellent chicken liver pate to share. Maybe chicken liver pate is a bit on the retro side in the UK, but this has a deep, rich flavour, managing to be both coarse in texture and smooth on the palate.

We’ve barely finished this before our main courses arrive. Miss H is having the escalope of chicken wrapped in Serrano ham and gruyere. This could be said to be more Spanish than French, but the creamy sauce and perfectly-cooked chicken of superior vintage swiftly dispel any worries over authenticity. The only real criticism is the anachronistic presence of the pilau rice served with the chicken.

For me, it’s the moules poulette. This is a traditional French dish of steamed mussels with lemon, white wine and cream. What can only be described as an avalanche of mussels arrives before me. A mammoth portion of huge, plump, bright orange mussels with a creamy, zesty sauce, I find myself grateful for the remains of the bread to soak up every last drop and morsel. They’re let down slightly, however, by the accompanying “frites” mentioned on the menu turning out more like chunky chips.

Our coffee follows and then we’re back outside. The whole procedure has lasted around fifty minutes. Le Complet isn’t the most lingering of experiences, but for a quick lunch date on the hoof, it’ll leave you more than satisfied.