It’s been a while since I have been down in Leith 🙁 But thankfully I had a reason to pop down there recently as I had a Groupon voucher for Bistro Provence, given to me as a thoughtful gift by someone who knows how much I love good food! It was the first time I had ever been to the restaurant and I must admit it had completely passed me by until now, but I was excited to try it out.
The voucher entitled us to a four course meal. We were initially given menus, but they were whipped right back off us as soon as I handed my voucher over. This was going to be a set menu of the chef’s choice.
Once the waiter checked that we had no dietary requirements, he simply scuttled away to the kitchen, not giving us a single whiff of a hint of what was coming next. Our meal was going to be a complete surprise, and we had no idea what to expect. While I know this might be a bit unnerving for some, I actually found it really exciting.
Mr Bug and I were sat right by the window, so I was able to admire the view of the canal across to the magnificent Scottish Government building. I spotted a patio across the way also belonging to Bistro Provence, which would be a lovely spot to enjoy a glass of wine on a nice hot sunny afternoon, but unfortunately it was a bit on the cool side for that!
I wasn’t going to deny myself a glass of wine though, and I ordered a glass of rosé which I slowly nursed as we waited for our first course to arrive.
The waiter announced the name of the dish as he placed it on the table in front of us – smoked ham terrine with red onion marmalade and croutons. Mr Bug was a huge fan of this one, but he’s usually pretty easily sold anything ham based.
I’m not as keen normally, but this was very nice. Layered with the slightly sweet sweet onion jam on the croutons gave the natural saltiness of the smoked ham a good balance, and we both clocked up clean plate number one!
Next we were given a dish that I had overheard as one of the specials, and really liked the sound of it: crab salad with citrus dressing, grapefruit and avocado. So, I was absolutely delighted when this arrived at our table.
I don’t love crab when I have to take it out of the shell myself, so I was pleased when I saw it had been done for us and placed in a handy pile in the middle of the plate. The light taste of the crab worked really well with the delicious dressing and the grapefruit, but in my opinion the avocado was surplus to requirements. It was fine, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think it added anything to the dish. I enjoyed the salad all the same – clean plate number 2!
Next up was grilled chicken with roasted vegetables and cream sauce. It was a simple dish, but executed very well. The chicken had a lovely chargrilled flavour that was well complemented with the roasted peppers, courgette and aubergine, while the moreish cream sauce gave the dish good depth.
I think out of all the courses, this was my favourite. Ding ding ding – clean plate no. 3!
Finally, we had the crème brûlée served with an almond biscuit. The waitress gleefully boasted that this was one of their most popular dishes – and it’s not hard to tell why. This dessert had a delightful thick texture and was lovely and sweet with sumptuous hints of vanilla. With four clean plates out of four, it’s safe to say this meal was a hit.
The service was excellent too. I must admit being a Groupon patron I had the fear I was going to be treated like a second-class citizen (as can sometimes happen with these things) but no such issues here. The waiting staff were wonderful, attentive and great at talking through the food placed in front of us.
Overall, Bristro Provence filled our bellies with a wonderful feast. This fantastic French gem is a great place to go if you want to enjoy some good food and excellent wine in the heart of Leith . I’m so glad I was given the voucher as a gift, and if you see a similar deal crop up again, I’d heartily recommend you snap it up!
Bistro Provence is at 88 Commercial Street, EH6 6LX. You can get there directly on the 16, 22, 35 and 36 bus.