In my adult lifetime, the food landscape in Britain has changed remarkably. Britain’s reputation for bad food was totally justified in the 1970s but since then improvements have been incredible and the quality of food in restaurants and shops has dramatically improved.
Food is now taken seriously but sometimes I think that the seriousness is overdone and we’ve lost sight of the fact the the pleasure of eating does not just depend on the quality of the food but also on the environment and the company. In short, if we are having fun, we can enjoy pretty ordinary food.
Fondue is an example of fun food – no-one (I hope) would ever eat a fondue on their own. It’s an Abigail’s Party, 1970s dish which is impossible to eat in a dignified way. But, with the right company in the right environment, it’s really great.
Petit Paris is a small French restaurant in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh and, I guess to liven up quiet Monday nights, arrange fondue nights periodically during the winter. For £20 each, you get a plate of charcuterie as a starter, a cheese fondue and a tart as a pudding. Five of us went along last night to one of these evening.
The decor in the Petit Paris is stereotypical French – lots of old signs etc. In fact, it’s more French I think than any restaurant in France that I’ve been in.
I forgot to photograph the charcuterie but it was reasonable quality and a good introduction to the main act – the fondue. This was a large pan of melted cheese and wine with a bucket of bread cubes for dipping.
As I said, it’s not the most elegant dish for diners but it is damn tasty. We overdosed on cheese.
We drank very drinkable house wine in tumblers which seems to be the norm here. It suited the fondue and the ambiance.
The tarte du jour was a pear and almond tart with a little bit of creme anglaise. It went well and was a great finish to the meal.
The restaurant was full with almost everyone having fondue and enjoying themselves, laughing as bits were dropped in the fondue, on the table and as cheese dribbled onto trousers and skirts. Thoroughly recommended – you will not leave hungry.