“The Frederick St branch of La P’tite Folie has been in situ for 16 years now. In recessionary times it is always good to place your money on a safe bet but visit this Gallic bistro and you may well hit jackpot.
True to form a lightly-dressed salad, bread and water appear promptly on the table. You can almost smell the garlic snails and Brittany seashore.
Mr Bite starts with steak tartare with a caper dressing (£7.50) and I choose the dolcelatte and vine tomato tarte tatin with a red pepper and rocket salad (£5.95). The tomatoes are fire engine- red balls bursting with sweetness, the dolcelatte melts, pastry is flaky and golden, there is a hint of honey in the tart; sweetness with the foil of salty cheese and fresh leaves. It is colourful, beautifully presented and refined. Mr Bite’s steak tartare is cut slightly chunky and garnished with quail eggs.
Main course for me is halibut with mussels, spinach, black olive, capers and a saffron and lime sauce (£15.90). The halibut is browned just so, the mussels, each one a burst of sea shore flavour, the seasoning perfect. You can’t cook this at home; this is French restaurant food with layers of flavour, expertise and a perfect balance of ingredients. Mr Bite had the honey roast Barbary duck with caramelized fig and a port and Thyme jus (£15.95). Slices of bird are plentiful and pink, the figs exotically sweet, the jus, deeply dark and according to Mr B, ‘mysterious’.
For dessert I choose a light, summery pretty plate of berries in Champagne and Mr Bite has chocolate nem esis (both £4.95). Layers of berries are studded into a jelly terrine, with a soft quenelle of ice cream on the side. Mr Bite’s ‘nem esis’ is a flourless pud, not quite a fondant, not quite a torte, hedonistically rich.
La P’tite Folie has a superb food and ambience and it reminds you just how good French cooking is. It is inspirational and had me reaching straight for my Julia Childs to brush up on a sauce or two.”
This review was featured in the September 2012 issue of Bite Magazine, an independent local guide to eating and drinking in Edinburgh.