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Review

Food Focus – Waldorf Astoria

Sarah Howden
10th Jun. '21

Summer is here and the team at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian have been working hard to bring us some pretty epic food and drink experiences. Whether you want to celebrate at home, or fancy going ‘out out’ in style, we’ve got you covered!

STAYING IN

We’ve been spoilt for choice this past year with some stunning gourmet food delivery options. During lockdown new food companies were born and many of Edinburgh’s best eateries launched impressive restaurant-at-home experiences. Now that restrictions have eased, we are back out there supporting the hospitality industry…but there’s something undeniably alluring about entertaining at home.

Which is why the new Garden Party Kit by the award-winning team at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian is in hot demand. Exclusive for summer, this seriously decadent kit features the hotel’s Edinburgh Zoo themed afternoon tea for four people, along with a chilled bottle of Laurent Perrier champagne, sharing cocktails, travel-friendly champagne flutes, plates and cutlery. It all comes boxed to perfection and, for £10, they’ll deliver it too.

EGG favourite Hey J Events have also just launched luxe garden picnic set ups for those with smaller gardens, and their beautiful set up provided the ultimate backdrop for the Waldorf’s Garden Party Kit. The white low level table (which they dressed too) with soft pink and metallic seating cushions, which sat on top of an outdoor rug next to their signature tepee, looked ethereal. And the Edinburgh Zoo afternoon tea looked sensational on it, really impressing guests.

The Waldorf Astoria’s afternoon tea is food artistry at its best. Housed within a white tiered box (so no need to decant), the presentation and attention to detail, second to none. The zoo themed cakes and pastries were absolute masterpieces.

But it certainly wasn’t style over substance as it tasted divine too. As well as seasonal finger sandwiches, savoury treats included Scottish roast beef, onion marmalade and truffle mayonnaise on sliced baguette, Prawn Marie rose brioche bun, and a sun-dried tomato and ricotta quiche. We also ordered a vegetarian and vegan afternoon tea and the inspired offering is certainly not an after-thought. The freshly baked scones with homemade preserves and clotted cream were devoured too.

But the show stoppers are undeniably those cakes and delicacies which pay homage to Edinburgh Zoo’s animals – the hotel also donates £5 to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the wildlife conservation charity which leads Edinburgh Zoo, from every afternoon tea purchased.

Painstakingly handmade by the talented pastry chefs, there’s Chilean flamingos made of strawberry milkshake choux buns, giant pandas made of triple chocolate delice, Queensland koalas made of mint chocolate chip petit gateau, king penguins created from deconstructed banoffee pie and miniature giraffes constructed of watermelon ganache filled macarons. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

There’s even a selection of teas, available. And let’s not forget the chilled bottle of Laurent Perrier champagne and cocktails. We enjoyed a Cherry Blossom sharing cocktail featuring Caorunn Raspberry, Kwai Feh Lychee Liqueur, Lime and Cranberry Juice, plus a Mangotini sharing cocktail featuring Rum, Mango and Lime. Beautiful serves which perfectly complemented the afternoon tea.

Now, at £199 it may seem a splurge but this is one generously sized Garden Party Kit. In fact, the afternoon tea alone fed the six guests in attendance (plus leftovers). For the ultimate in summer party decadence, the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian have nailed it.

The Garden Party Kit is available for collection daily, from 12-2pm, or delivery Fri-Sun 12-2pm. Delivery is to EH1-17 postcodes only, price £10. Head here to book. 
Hey J Events luxe garden party set ups start at £95. More info on that here

GOING OUT

After months of lockdowns, when going out for food or drinks you want to do it in style. So hurray for The Courtyard at The Caledonian, a new outdoor pop-up bar for summer.

Located in the hotel’s car park nestled behind some large planters filled with the prettiest lavender, hydrangeas, Semicos Senetti, euonymus and Lambs lug plants for a holiday vibe, The Courtyard is oozing with style. The entrance features a big statement flower wall and behind five luxurious summer huts await, complete with Laurent Perrier blankets and personal hot water bottles for cooler days. This is one insta-worthy pop-up.

We visited for lunch and drinks on a warm, sunny day. With Ibiza-style lounge music playing in the background and being surrounded by the lush greenery, the atmosphere was perfect. There is a range of signature cocktails available using premium ingredients, along with champagne, beers, spirits and mixers. And then there’s the small but perfectly formed Scottish seafood food menu featuring native oysters, dressed lobster and crayfish cocktail, oscietra caviar and a gourmet salmon platter. A vegetarian mezze is also available.

We opted for the salmon platter (£26), dressed lobster (£19) and vegetarian mezze (£24) which were all spectacular. The flavoursome salmon platter, with cold smoked salmon, hot smoked salmon and salmon mousse, served with a lemon and garlic mayonnaise, looked like a work of art – and tasted even better. The dressed lobster and crayfish cocktail was a stunner of a dish, the lobster cooked to absolute perfection. It was devoured all too quickly and was a taste of summer. And let’s not forget the vegetarian mezze platter – which came with chargrilled vegetables, freshly stuffed peppers, marinated olives, hummus, sunblush tomatoes and garlic flatbread. It was one of the best we’d had.

It would be rude not to sample the signature cocktail menu (£10 each) so we took our waiter’s recommendation of the Valencian Spritz, a delicious serve of Belvedere vodka, fresh passionfruit, lemon and Fever-Tree blood orange. The Edinburgh Rose was just as delightful…the Laurent Perrier, Edinburgh Gin and raspberry syrup concoction was very drinkable! As was their classic Bellini, made simply with Laurent Perrier and peach. Fizz purists will savour a glass of their crisp, ice cold Laurent Perrier brut or rose, available by the glass or bottle.

As we sat relaxing in the sun with our cocktails and seafood, it was just the tonic we needed. It felt a million miles from home – even for those two hours. It was one of the best afternoons out we’ve had in a long time. And we’ve already made our next reservation. See you there!

The Courtyard is open daily from 2-10pm, weather permitting. Under 18s not allowed. To book call 0131 222 8832 or head here more information 

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