(Added October 2012: Some more recent comments are here)
Standing in front of the restaurant, you have the unappealing Missoni hotel restaurant menu just to the right, and a Pizza Express just to the left: it shouldn’t be too hard to resist either temptation and instead climb the stairs that lead to the airy, bright, modern room of Ondine, with a display of oysters and its appealing U-shaped bar area in a dominating position, and minimalist but comfortable table setup, the high chair backs a delight for the long Man’s back.
Many classics, no longer often seen any more around except in old fashioned venues, are on the menu. A mussle mouclade
that belies the conviction of many Italians that mussles (how plump, tasty, fresh!) don’t go with creamy or curried sauces.
And how much more classic can you get than with a Lobster Thermidor*:
just a shade, but really a shade, overcooked for us, and otherwise extracting murmurs of delight, the fresh herbs not skimped upon providing a pleasant background .
And the same did our Dublin Bay prawns, that came in generous amount and once again top quality, this time with faultless cooking:
It’s very simple: if in Edinburgh you are in the mood for seafood, unfussily but competently prepared, served generously, and of top quality, go to Ondine. The service is smooth and the prices are reasonable: £34 for the lobster, same cost as for a mixed crustacean large plate, around £20 for mains such as the Dublin Bay prawns, around £10-12 for starters such as a lovely, ungreasy squid tempura like this
or the mussle dish, or a squid risotto that we want to try next time. Because there will be a next time!
*Here is how the great man did it (the Sauce creme being a bechamelle with added cream):
Split the lobster in half lengthways, season and gently grill, then remove the flesh from the shell and cut into fairly thick slices on the slant. Place some Sauce Creme finished with a little English mustard in the bottom of the two half shells, replace the slices of lobster neatly on top and coat with the sauce. Glaze lightly in a hot oven or under the salamander. (from Auguste Escoffier “The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery“)