L'Escargot Bleu

L'Escargot Bleu
56 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3SA
  • Telephone 0131 557 1600
  • Seasonal times Open seven days during the Edinburgh Festival.
  • Food served Mon–Thu noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–3pm, 5.30–10.30pm. Closed Sun.
  • Pre-theatre times Mon–Sat 5.30–7pm
  • Average price £12.90 (set lunch); £24 (evening meal)
  • Pre-theatre price £13.90
  • Email
  • Website www.lescargotbleu.co.uk

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L'Escargot Bleu
Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2015/16 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

This review is taken from the current (2015) edition.

Dynamic couple Frederic Berkmiller and Betty Jourjon are the patrons and creative force behind L’Escargot Bleu (and sister L’Escargot Blanc). Their particular take on the classic French bistro fizzes with quirky Gallic charm. A handsome dining room with vintage posters and big windows provides a suitable backdrop to bold cooking served up joyfully by mostly native French staff. A glance at the menu confirms a serious kitchen underpinning the fun – there are snails from Barra with crab bisque, or homemade sausages, terrines and boudin. Berkmiller, also lead chef, clearly has a vital engagement with his produce and his intrepid ‘whole hog’ approach previously brought notoriety in the delicious form of horse meat tartare. Beef is a highlight, offered in a variety of ways and breeds: eye-popping rib-eye steak of Highland Wagyu (rich, tender and expertly cooked) or, if you are looking for a seriously good time, a Shorthorn côte de boeuf for two. Puddings are worth a look too, with tarte tatin and crème brûlée being exemplars of French classics that are reproduced here with genuine love and care.

  • High point: Creative bistro cooking is elevated by some serious sourcing
  • Low point: Side dishes could play a more considered supporting role
  • Notable dish: Le Boudin Noir fait maison - duck's blood pudding made in house
  • Private dining: Up to 16 covers
  • Provides: Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Pre-theatre menu
  • Capacity: 55
  • Largest group: 55 / 16
  • Open since: 2009
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 16
  • House wine: £17.90 per bottle

Reviews & features

Christmas Food Q&A: Fred Berkmiller – L’escargot Bleu & Blanc

17 Nov 2015

Edinburgh chef divulges his top festive tips

Christmas should be fun and stress-free when it comes to cooking. A slowly cooked casserole is great, there’s no reason for not cooking a leg of lamb and a nice shoulder of beef on the corner of the AGA.

Q&A: Fred Berkmiller – L’escargot Bleu & Blanc

27 Oct 2014

Owner talks festive food as Christmas approaches

How does your restaurant change in look and atmosphere in December? What effect are you hoping for? Both of our restaurants have put on our Christmas fur so we're extremely warm and winter friendly for the wintry season. What are the challenges in…

Neighbourhood Watch: Broughton Street, Edinburgh

9 Jan 2012

A guide to Edinburgh's hip gay hub

What’s it like? A street full of bars, restaurants and delightful eateries nestled underneath old tenement flats. Ideal for stuffing your face full of food and hitting a pub with friends just a stone’s throw from the centre of the city. Where’s it…

A guide to some of the best restaurants in Edinburgh

16 Feb 2011

The Scottish capital has some of the best restaurants for Scottish cuisine

Some visitors may come to Scotland with a sense of dread that they’ll be force-fed salty porridge or be obliged to eat everything deep fried in fat. It’s true that the more adventurous may well encounter food here they’re unlikely to find elsewhere…

Fred Berkmiller on Gartmorn Farm chicken

17 Sep 2010

The Larder: Chef's Choice

It’s not everyday a Frenchman will admit that non-Gallic produce rivals their own. Fred Berkmiller, of Edinburgh’s L’Escargot chain, on why Scottish Gartmorn chicken cuts it as an alternative to the famous authenticated Poularde de Bresse.

Comments & ratings

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37. Gastronaut18 Feb 2013, 3:32pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

Had a wonderful meal here recently - my Steak Tartare was delicious followed by a fantastic main course of hake in red wine sauce. The fish was perfectly cooked and arrived sitting on top of an unctuous pomme puree with buttered leeks. We were told that the owner Fred was cooking that night so there would be three specials on - Veal Blanqette (my girlfriend ordered this authentic & tasty dish), Coq Au Vin and (controversially!) a horse bourginon!! Wish I'd tried the horse!! I already knew this place was good but I'd either forgotten just how awesome it is or it's gotten even better recently. The waiting staff were extremely well informed & enthusiastic, making light work of dodging about the small room - conjuring up Steak Tartares to diners own specifications at the table-side, slicing cote du boeuf etc etc.. This place is a belter!

36. Melvin216 Jun 2012, 1:29pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

A lovely midweek dinner and great Steak Tartare with the requisite amount of theatre, and made to your own taste. Staff are engaging and jolly and we had a great meal finished with some delicious macaroons. As good as their place in the West End and absolutely no complaints.
It's a busy place with a lovely vibe and well worth a visit.

35. passable food in a vacuum23 Oct 2011, 11:59am Report

We dined at this restaurant last night. The food was fine - not particularly 'french' but good quality and well cooked.

The staff were not so good. We hadn't booked but were grudgingly allowed a time limited table but only on condition that we sat in the corner of the room right next to the only other two people dining in the restaurant at that time (we asked if we could sit elsewhere but were told the tables were ALL 'strictly' booked. The tables are less that a foot apart and we had trouble getting into and out of our seats. The staff similarly had trouble serving in the cramped corner whilst the rest of the room remained resolutely empty. Some of the waiting staff looked very unhappy and one in particular, with the execrable 'french' accent seemed a little too happy. Singing loudly, banging around behind the bar and causing great bursts of laughter from fellow staff each time he'd 'dealt' with a customer'. We, the four customers, seemed to be providing some kind of warm-up entertainment for the staff at the beginning of a very long saturday evening. Pretty rotten atmosphere. Won't be going back I'm afraid...

34. Delphine Seyrig28 Aug 2011, 12:51pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

A lovely, lovely, lovely restaurant. We arrived without booking for lunch and got a table immediately, a basket of fresh warm bread and a jug of iced water without needing to ask and a friendly guide through the menu. The cooking is completely French provincial with emphasis on simplicity with style and a tendency to richness. The meat and fish are local and supported by produce which is also for sale in the epicerie in the basement. A large and varied number of daily specials are displayed on the blackboard in addition to the carte.

We started with great big hot mussels in cream and garlic wine soupe - all of them open and obviously from a good source; a delicious, sparklingly fresh salmon terrine infused with lime. Both were so good and so abundant, that we could have stopped there, but yielded to chicken supreme with mustard and one of the most delicious steaks I have ever eaten. I think it may have scampered over the road from Crombie minutes before and it was perfectly, slightly, rare with an intensely savoury jus.

The cheese board is temptingly on display at a little table and it was completely impossible to resist, although the dessert menu looked wonderful. We shared the most meltingly rich St Felicien and staggered downstairs to buy some more afterwards. If only we could have found a sunny meadow by the Loire to doze the rest of the afternoon away...

It's a cliche, I suppose, that the trick of a really good French restaurant is to persuade you to feel for a while that you have actually happened upon it in situ and relax into the gentle, unfussed rhythm of the midday. You find the remnants of good mood from the last holiday and even feel a few words coming back ( the waiters are too polite to criticise!).

If you are going for lunch, don't plan on working afterwards. If you are going for dinner, look forward to a romantic conclusion to the evening. I can't recommend this place to highly: it's a "vrai perle"!

33. GW21 Sep 2010, 5:45pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

Love it, love it, love it. Great food, good wine and Betty who runs the place is a fantastic French lady. One of Edinburghs' best these days.

32. AG18 Sep 2010, 6:26pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

One of the best restaurants in Edinburgh

31. Shep24 Jul 2010, 7:00pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

Absolutely gutted that they didn't have horse on the menu this time, fantastic meat and they're not half as cute and friendly as cows so far more guilt free! That said, the duck certainly didn't dissappoint, and as for the macaroons...:-) Fantastic meal all round, finished off with an excellent calvados. Reasonable prices, great staff (V. French) and a good buzz, will definitely be back.

30. HMS12 Jul 2010, 12:01am5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

Quelle surprise!!! Great restaurant! Great environment, great staff, and amazing food. The mussels had a divine aroma! L'escargo itself was great!
As a main course, Fish, Lamb and ratatouille (me, my wife and kid). One of the tenderest lamb I 've ever tried. The fish, fitting perfectly it's sauce, and both dishes with a soft smash potato, and going very well with the Ratatouille I ordered to complement.

Crème Brulé as a dessert... AMAZING!

Congratulations for this amazing place!

29. AliMac2 Jul 2010, 8:57pm4 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

BTW I ate in L'Escargot during last year's Festival, though didn't notice any horse or donkey on the menu, and thought it was excellent. If they put cat or dog on the menu I probably wouldn't order it, so rather than your earlier plea for free-speech, why don't you just simply go for something you might like?

28. AliMac2 Jul 2010, 8:37pm Report

Aryanna, I'm intrigued that you chastise "Le Nez Grande" as the only person who is bemused by your fatuous comments. I would guess that most visitors to L'Escargot can't be bothered to respond.

I have lived in Belgium & France and bought/cooked horse fillet, bison, etc, etc (though admittedly not donkey). I really cannot see what your problem is with eating these animals if you are quite comfortable eating cows, sheep, chickens, etc. Are they nearer to God or something that I don't quite grasp?

27. Le Nez Grande6 May 2010, 7:34am Report

Calling me ignorant and you don't know the difference between "to" and "Too" by the looks of things.

Calling me argumentative, yet you are the one posting on a Restaurant list web site, for people who appreciate good innovative restaurants.

To tell people in your opinion what they should and should not eat based on out of date reports, still waiting on the link to where someone ate horse meat and died.

If thats not argumentative I'm a Chinaman

No name calling this time it's very childish

26. Le Nez Grande5 May 2010, 7:15am Report

Not questioning your right to dredge up 12 year old reports, just wondering what the relevance is on this website.

Are you familiar with the List magazine, it's a list of events & restaurants etc, so normally read by the kind of people who would appreciate what this restaurant is doing by innovating different dishes.

It's not a scientific journal where you can swop old reports and data.

It's not Horse & Hound, or hunting defenceless animals monthly.

There is also plenty of like minded people for you on Facebook, you could get together talk about horses, swop reports or lentil recipes.

You should look away now

Nya Nya Nya you smell of horses, more childish name calling I'm afraid

25. Aryanna Gambino4 May 2010, 10:43pm Report

As far as Im aware Scotland is a free country, with the freedom of expression and speech. So therefore I have the right to post what I feel and think. And isnt horse meat been sold as food in this restaurant? And showing these reports is depicting an interest in food. Or are you to ignorant to see it?

And the only person who is responding to my comments is you. One question why are you so argumentive in what I am posting? And name calling is quite childish.

24. Le Nez Grande4 May 2010, 10:18pm Report

Still looking for a life I see.

It's good you have become the guardian for Scottish peoples health, and have made it your mission to make this information available.

You say in your first missal to the masses "My customers deserve the same" I don't have any customers.

I am a customer of this fine establishment, could you take this drivel to some website where you might find a receptive audience, and you can organise signings and compare reports. Have a count most people here are interested in food if you google "the List" there is no mention of horse reports.

You are missing the point of this forum, and this word rhymes with Moron.

23. Aryanna Gambino4 May 2010, 9:53pm Report

Below is a recent study (2010) conducted in the US showing that the consumption of horse meat can be a public health risk

Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk. Nicholas Dodman, Nicholas Blondeau, Ann Marini. It is this years so your request of finding something this millenium has been granted. http://www.beautysequinerescue.org/bute_contamination.pdf summarized on http://www.harnesslink.com/www/Article.cgi?ID=79525

Le Nez Grande you me for a recent report to document my claims and here is one from 2010.

I feel that the public need to know this information.

22. Aryanna Gambino4 May 2010, 9:27pm Report

I have been to Paris, France a few times, and I actually like the city, so I know a bit about the culture. I know that horse meat is eaten in France, and in Italy (where my family come from) but I still think people in the UK need to be aware of all the health risks as horse meat is something which was not previously sold there. As the report was a French investigation I am sure that you know of the health risks, dont you think your customers deserve the same? I am not telling anybody what to do, or what to eat, nowhere did I state "do not eat this". I am just passing on information and than people can decide for themselves. And how is the truth alarmist nonsense?

But at least the documents and reports here and on other sites enable people can read the facts and than decide. But bringing a new dish into a country which never experienced it, the risks of consumption should be highlighted for customers.

And you come across quite argumentive, and at times rude.

One more question why do you keep talking about lentils, when the discussion is nothing to do with vegetables?

21. Le Nez Grande4 May 2010, 4:05pm Report

Really volume 3 issue 8, 1998, have you anything relevant in the past 12 years, say something in this millenium I go back to my earlier conversation about getting a life.

Still think let people decide for themselves, you could dredge up the same alarmist nonsense about everything we eat even lentils.

Never heard anyone ver die eating a plate of horse meat look forward to the link.

Well done you for translating the name from French, did you use the internet or a book ?

Yes I am trying to mislead people so they will flock to this restaurant and kill themselves eating horse meat it's my mission in life, I think of nothing else. If you travel the world take a trip to France if there culture does not offend you too much, and you might have a wider understanding of what is intended, by this offering

20. RudiRoo3 May 2010, 5:51pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

Simply excellent. French food how it should be, but so rarely is (even in France!).
Can't fault it.
One of the best meals I can remember in years.

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18. Le Nez Grande30 Apr 2010, 3:08pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

This restaurant is innovative, and breaking new ground despite the ill informed criticism above. Who has the right to tell anyone what they can and can't eat. Least of all alarmist ill informed lentil eaters.

Just because diners want to try something away from the ordinary fare offered in the usual lacking in imagination restaurants around town, of which there are many. Why should it be any business of someone who is keen on Lentils or horses, who are probably not even customers of any restaurants.

This offering should be seen for what it is, in context simply responding to limited demand, giving people the freedom of choice to try new dishes and over the past few years both in this restaurant and in others operated by the same Company this has been welcomed by the majority of their clientèle like me.

If this does not appeal to you then don't go there, but don't dictate to other diners about things which are not of your concern.

And as for drumming up facebook pages would you not either
A. Get a life or maybe

B. Buy a TV and get an interest in something constructive, get better informed, other celebrity chefs are now copying the innovation this restaurant has shown. You will not change the dining habits of a select few with a petition on Facebook.

C. Get a job and keep yourself better occupied in life.

17. afrikat29 Apr 2010, 12:37pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

Fantastic restaurant. We ate there last night and it was surprisingly busy for a Wednesday so word of mouth is obviously spreading about this place. It's not hard to see why.
The service was friendly, knowledgable and attentive without being smothering and the bottle of wine we were recommended was superb.
The food was hard to fault and both my partner and I loved all 3 courses we had. My only critiscm would be the lack of choice for vegetarians, however the veggie options that were available looked great and more original than the usual mushroom risoto/pasta.
We will definitely be going back and there was a great pre-theatre menu which would be a good option for those watching the budget.
Thanks to all the staff for providing such a lovely night (and as an extra bonus we didn't have to pay as I won the meal through a competition with the list!)

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13. A.F-A31 Mar 2010, 11:15am5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

I disagree with Squirrel.

A significant volume of good salami has always had donkey meat in it - no one complains about that.

And having accepted the rationale for eating meat, I can see no reason not to eat donkey or horse meat.

Bravo to L'esgcagot Bleu.

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11. delighted diner!26 Mar 2010, 7:00pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

This restaurant is fantastic! The food was absolutely delicious - I just can't fault it - and the service was attentive (but not overbearing) and very friendly and helpful - the waitress (the owner?) explained what things were but wasn't patronising at all. Top marks all round - highly recommended! They also do a pre-theatre menu which is exceptionally good value and well worth a look.

10. MGT12 Nov 2009, 10:27am5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

Excellent on every level, food, wine, service, and value for money. Cant fault them at all.
Everything we ordered was fantastic, starters, main and dessert, I could eat there forever, we had a bottle of house red and white with the meal both great wines. Four of us had 3 courses and came to less than £25 per head wine included.
Would deffinately recommend this fine restaurant to anyone who loves good food, and will definately be back for more soon. Yet to try out the deli downstairs but im sure it will hold much of the same.

9. McD's23 Oct 2009, 12:46pm4 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

Oh L'escargot Bleu!!! Divine. The food was sublime and as Michel Roux would say "as pretty as a picture".
My steak was heavenly and the prawn starter was full of flavour. My partner had the duck cassarole which was HUGE.

Will definitely be heading back and next time will leave enough room for the creme brulee.

8. gbd7 Oct 2009, 3:43am Report

Basically, same experience as the poster above. Food is good, a wee bit salty, but quite tasty. The service was bizarre, to be polite. Seems as though that manager should have taken a few more language lessons before taking on this position..

7. Edinburgh Foodie12 Sep 2009, 10:57am Report

We had booked a table for 8 and the restaurant had set up 4 tables of 2 together which was fine. One of out party was unable to make it and rather than have 1 person sitting facing the wall, we asked the manager if she could take one of the tables back and our 7th person could sit facing the rest of us. This would give her another table for 2 free if anyone came in off the street without a booking. Well, the response from the manager was downright rude. She said we were making it difficult for her and where do we think she should put the table. We then said if it was a problem, then not to bother. She pulled the table away, by this time everyone in the restaurant was looking to see what was going on. Rather than make a fuss, we ignored it and let it go. 2 minutes later, a party of 2 came in from the street without a booking and were accomodated at this table. Food fine, but my dish somehow seemed to be rather salty. I wonder how that could have happened???

6. fairly_poncy12 Jul 2009, 8:53pm Report

It's all true - this is a serious contender for best French restaurant in Edinburgh. All the stuff that matters (wine, bread, cheese) are done well - in fact to a French standard! And they do the classic dishes very well - duck confit, creme brulee, l'escargot - excellent quality and very reasonable prices.

5. CatPat27 Jun 2009, 8:43pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

Cosy, candle-lit restaurant - perfect for a special night out. My husband and I had the mussels and scallops for starters. Mussels cooked in garlic/white wine sauce, served in cast-iron pot - shells still completing opening when arrived on table, piping hot and delicious! Scallops divine - 4 of these served in broccoli puree with sliced roasted almonds scattered over the top and some rocket to garnish. Tender, large and very tasty.
Main course - Rib of beef between 2: ENORMOUS! Spectacular. Waiter appeared with wooden board and carved in front of us. They kindly offered a 'doggy bag' as if it was the most normal thing in the world, hence avoiding the embarrassing situation of actually asking for one! Cooked to perfection. Had the creme brulee and profiteroles for dessert - both generous sized and delicious. Service fantastic and even gave us a 10% off card for next visit!

4. M20 May 2009, 5:54pm4 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

Agree with the above poster that this is a welcome addition to Broughton Street. The service was very friendly and they could be forgiven for slow service as when we visited they had not been open long. I do hope they've sorted this out.

The restaurant has echos of Pierre Victoire with a menu that is typically French, balanced and well executed. We opted for the pre-theatre menu which was excellent value.

3. Edinburgh Photographer27 Mar 2009, 8:04am Report

Interion photograph and review here

2. David Gordon4 Mar 2009, 6:57pm5 stars L'Escargot Bleu Report

Frenchtastic is the word.
A warm welcome to Fred and Betty in our area and the best of luck with there new venture.

1. Mr Shackleton25 Feb 2009, 4:27pm Report

Good to see there is a French restaurant in the area. I have not gone yet, but I have been told, I simply, must. There is a French shop underneath too.

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Average rating 5/5 from 18 reviews of L'Escargot Bleu.

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