Le Bistrot de l'Institut francais d'Ecosse
This restaurant has ceased trading.
- Telephone 0131 225 5366
- Food served Mon–Fri 10am–4pm. Closed Sat/Sun.
- Average price £12.50 (lunch)
- Website www.ifecosse.org.uk
This review is taken from the 2012 edition.
It’s not an obvious lunch spot, but if you look carefully there’s now a menu attached to the Institut Français d'Ecosse’s railings, just off Queensferry Road. Walking down slightly scruffy, institute-yellow stairs to the basement feels like heading to a school canteen, and the student vibe continues inside Le Bistrot – décor is limited to French film posters, reclaimed armchairs and small tables pasted over with pages from La Figaro. Yet it manages to feel entirely French, and, somehow, cool in a hidden secret way. It offers simple, classic dishes in perfectly accented French, including rich fish soup with roille and croutons, or specials like juicy, slow cooked guinea fowl. There are simple snacks of sardines with shallots, or bread and cheese platters. Run by the brains behind L’escargot restaurants, with the same suppliers including Au Gourmand bread and pastries, basic quality is high. With chef Romu doing all the cooking and serving, the food is simple of necessity, but also from a belief that complicated doesn’t always mean better. Service is, understandably, not the quickest, but that can add to the impression of a relaxed sojourn in France. From mid-September, they are running a series of themed evening dinners. The schedule up to December includes a cous cous-oriented night in October, after it was voted the third favourite dish of French people (beating moules frites and côte de bœuf); Diner du Beaujolais in November, featuring cheeses, caillettes (a bit like pâté, a bit like sausage); and December's Le Noel Provencal, a 'gros souper' followed by the traditional 13 desserts. Each dinner is around £25, including a half carafe of wine per person. Go to ifecosse.org.uk/dinners for more info on each.
- High point: Eating a flaky croissant in the romantically tousled garden
- Low point: Not the place for a quick or a swanky lunch
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 2
- Provides: Outdoor tables, Live music, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: French classics
- Capacity: 27
- Open since: 2012
- House wine: £16.90 per bottle
- BYOB: £5 corkage
Reviews & features
Simplicity is key at Le Bistrot de l'Institut francais d'Ecosse22 Jun 2012
Lovely Gallic quality and simplicity at the Institut français' new restaurant
If you look carefully there’s now a menu attached to the railings of the French Institute, just off Queensferry Road. Walking down slightly scruffy, institute-yellow stairs to the basement feels like heading to a school canteen, but it's a fortunate…