We hear a great deal about recycling these days - du Vin recycles attractive but sometimes un-loved buildings to restore real gems in the best tradition of British understated style.
Complement that with all that is best in the French bistro ethos, bars that reach out to please, and you have a setting that provides an inspirational background for people to meet, do business, get married, provide a base for golf or fishing, somewhere you can call your own for a private celebration, a spa or - most engagingly - a wine school that breaks the mould.
In Edinburgh, du Vin has taken on the site of a former lunatic asylum, squirrelled away deep in the Old Town of Edinburgh, only a short walk from the historic Royal Mile. Next door to the well-known Bedlam Theatre, this striking luxury boutique hotel has 47 timelessly furnished rooms and stunning suites offering monsoon showers, luxurious Egyptian cotton linen, and air conditioning. Plasma TVs and DVDs are also standard. As a comfortable base from which to explore the fascinating city of Edinburgh, with its great historic and cultural heritage, as well enjoy the nightlife and entertainment scene, the hotel could hardly be bettered.
In the trademark classy bistro the choice of starters could include shell on prawns with garlic mayonnaise, an Isle of Mull soufflé, pig terrine with homemade pickle, or duck rillette with crusty bread. How often the simple things in life are the best, and it applies here to the classic dishes on offer, amongst which the devilled lamb's kidneys, or the choux farci a l'alsacienne, are notable.
Head Chef Matt Powell leaves no recipe book unread in his quest for new dishes, including those of his own, and main courses demonstrate his success. Natural smoked haddock cassoulet with Montgomery's cheddar crust, char-grilled squid, fennel, leeks and a warm chorizo dressing and chicken Cordon Bleu with potato salad all demonstrate an independence of approach that is mirrored throughout the menus, which change daily.
Whilst one might argue that the whole point of being in a du Vin is to snuggle up to the wine list, this list is designed to march with the food and can only be described as superb. With a team of two sommeliers, headed here by Romain Audrerie, there is no room for anything but the best. Service is telepathic in the best possible sense.
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for full information and rates. Hotel du Vin, with fourteen options throughout Britain, awaits your call.