Walking through the vast hotel and two large sections of the brasserie before we reached the main heart, you could be forgiven for fearing a vacant atmosphere, but it is quite the opposite.
The menu is printed daily to allow the incorporation of the freshest seasonal ingredients and whilst it has a very French flavour, the distinct effort to use local produce is evident. On the pricey side generally, there is also a very reasonable fixed price menu (two courses – £15.50/three courses – £18.50).
Unable to resist the fresh seafood, I started with a couple of Crenan oysters (£2.25 each). Despite having tried “the freshest” oysters in several venues, these were without doubt The Freshest.
Intrigued by the lasagne of Berwick crab (£11.50) for her entree, my friend was far from disappointed. Perfectly light and unbelievably smooth, the crab was almost in mousse form separated by the thinnest layers of fresh pasta in a small tower. My steak tartare (£10.50) was equally impressive and exactly as it should be with a smooth texture and lovely complementary flavours.
We stuck to a seafood theme with our main courses, choosing the whole brown crab (£13.50) and grilled langoustines (£19.50) The crab was helpfully half cracked to save my friend from splattering herself; my langoustines were covered in a scrumptious garlic butter.
The dessert menu had a few eclectic numbers – one such item was “Oeuf de la niege with praline rose” (£6). This was a white mound with a light airy texture. Chocolate tart (£7) was equally easy to rave about.
To drink we shared a bottle of white Cotes du Rhone (£28) from a pricey list.
It is a place worth its weight in the fresh seafood in which it specialises.
• Galvin Brasserie de Luxe, The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria, Princes Street, 0131- 222 8988, www.galvinrestaurants.com