In a nutshell
Le Roi Fou opened its doors in Edinburgh’s New Town in March 2017. Swiss-French chef Jerome Henry, previously of Mosimann’s London, has cooked in some of the best restaurants in the UK and has now set down his roots in Edinburgh where he sources the best Scottish produce available.
Le Roi Fou, roughly translated as The Mad King, also has a creative director, Isolde Nash, who is behind the design of the restaurant, which the pair describes as a ‘salon’. Both came to Edinburgh with a joint appreciation for art, culture and food, which Edinburgh, of course, has plenty of.
Jerome Henry has a great career behind him already and in this, his own restaurant in Scotland’s capital city, he creates classic dishes using the highlights of Scotland’s larder.
With five years as head chef at Les Trois Garçons in Shoreditch, catering for its celebrity clientele, followed by seven years working with Anton Mosimann in London’s Belgravia, where Jerome created menus for royalty, heads of state, artists, musicians and pop stars, his French roots and culinary experience are a great addition to Edinburgh’s restaurant scene.
Simple and elegant defines the menu at Le Roi Fou. With set menus for lunch and pre-theatre, a tasting menu and an a la carte, all wallets are catered for. Weekend brunches are proving popular, too.
Produce is as fresh as it gets. The restaurant is less than two miles from the sea so expect to see appearances from Isle of Skye scallops, native oysters, spiced fish soup and grilled Scottish monkfish on the menu. Asparagus season was celebrated in style during our visit and was prominent on both starters and mains.
Steak tartare was delicious and later, too, seared dry-aged beef fillet. The menu reads as a fine dining one should, with the accompanying price points, but it’s delivered with the right amount of informality from the waiting staff. This is relaxed fine dining.
What’s the room like/atmosphere?
Once a burger bar, and prior to that a second outpost of Urban Angel (an Edinburgh stalwart on Hanover Street), the restaurant has been transformed.
A beautiful space has been created; muted colours, gold velvet curtains, white linen tablecloths, walnut furniture and walls crying out for some artwork to be hung (which we are led to believe will soon follow).
Menu must-orders and misfires
The set lunch menus are the way to go at Le Roi Fou. Three courses cost £21.50 until 7.30pm during the week, while Friday and Saturday are a steal at £15.50 for two courses.
The a la carte is worth the extra spend, though, if you want to sample the best of what Jerome and his team can muster from this kitchen. Grilled monkfish served with white English asparagus and a sauce vierge was a real highlight for us. It’s meaty in texture, as expected, but delicate and flavoursome with its classic sauce.
The wine list is pleasingly short and features mostly French wine with the odd Spanish and Austrian option. The sommelier is on hand to assist with your choices and exudes much enthusiasm in doing so. A few of the wines are available by the glass including two out of the three champagnes.
Le Roi Fou is informal fine dining in a part of town that lacks anything similar to the classic cooking and gastronomic expertise that Jerome delivers. A welcome addition to Edinburgh’s New Town, for those lucky enough to live close by.
1 Forth Street
Words by Hilary Sturzaker, May 2017