So can the top restaurants north of the border hold their own against the top London restaurants? Based on our experience at Number One Restaurant at The Balmoral Hotel, the answer is a resounding YES. Indeed they could teach some other Michelin establishments a thing or two about service and the importance of good bread. Bread is normally something we have found that a lot of the very best restaurants tend to dismiss. Not so at Number One, they have a “loaf trolley” and serve up world class bread baked on the premises by their Pastry Chef a former French Baker.
Hardens give Number One a FSA rating of 1 1 4, we would certainly agree with the top marks for food and service, but 4 for ambience, this is a bit mean. We really liked the dining room, the décor is warm and certainly in the evening very effective for a basement restaurant. There is a large bar area and two larger rooms with well spaced tables and curved booths that allowed everyone a good view of the room.
We went for the tasting menu with matching wines, which was all of a very high standard. The standout course being the Monkfish. The New Zealand wines were also very good indeed. I also really enjoyed the fois gras course with pineapple relish and pineapple bread. At the end of the meal the sommelier discreetly slipped us a small present in the shape of a full loaf of the wonderful walnut and raisin bread.
We also had pre dinner champagne cocktails in the lively Bollinger Bar at the Palm Court, which is a popular new venue for afternoon tea.
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