Review: Paul Tamburrini at Macdonald Holyrood Hotel

Hotel restaurants can get a bad rap, but Paul Tamburrini is here to prove the sceptics wrong.

His restaurant at the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel offers foodies fine dining of the timeless classical variety, served up with finesse and an eye for detail.

Our tasting menu began with an amuse bouche of silky sweet pumpkin soup with crispy salty jerusalem artichoke, which was ideal for the time of the year, and eaten much too quickly. We weren’t hungry for long, though. The next course featured a huge scallop, perfectly caramelised, with cauliflower puree and brown butter with a glass of a well-matched, slightly salty Weitgrasse Gruner-Veltriner on the side. If that was a taste of the sea, next up was flavours of the earth. An exceptionally generous slab of foie gras, on a bed of black truffle risotto with cep puree was outrageously decadent and completely indulgent. Naturally, we loved it.

Onto the main event. Tamburrini knows that eating is primarily a communal practice, as shown in his rack of lamb, carved at the table with a selection of small sides to share. The chef’s skill is not up for question and the lamb was, naturally, wonderfully cooked. Of note were the wonderful slightly sweet, slightly salty coriander potatoes, of which I ate more than my fair share.

Cheese was an elegant flower of Tête de Moine, which Tamburrini had the sense to allow to speak for itself, unadorned, served with a lovely Sautern. And the dessert, warm chocolate mousse with milk and honey and a hidden heart of chocolate fondant was the pinnacle of puddings. This is a treat, no doubt about it. But trust me, it’s well worth treating yourself.

81 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh

Chiara Margiotta

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