Steak Brasserie

Steak Brasserie, Edinburgh

Time is at steak

Edinburgh’s Steak Brasserie has launched an express menu that promises to serve a two-course lunch within 30 minutes. Peter Ranscombe got his stopwatch out to put the claim to the test.

Lunch is the bane of many entrepreneurs’ lives: we all need to eat and squeezing in an extra meeting during a meal break can be useful, but not if it takes a bite out of the afternoon too. What if an entrepreneur could squeeze-in a two-course lunch in the space of just 30 minutes?

That’s exactly what’s on offer from the new express menu at Steak Brasserie in Edinburgh. It’s a set menu consisting of a classic French onion soup, followed by a minute steak that’s been tenderised and then served with pomme frites or French fries, which diners can ask to be served in only 30 minutes – time to put the claim to the test, methinks.

12:55:
Start the clock. I’m seated and led through the set menu by Matthew, the maître d’, who also shows me the wine list, from which I select a glass of Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Pinot Noir from Chile (£8 for 175ml) – although the wine isn’t included in the express menu, it seems rude not to give it a shot too.

13:00:
My order is already away to the kitchen and my glass of wine has arrived. It’s full of juicy red- and blackcurrant aromas, with light smoky notes, leading into lush red cherry and sweet vanilla on the palate, along with a kick of acidity and gentle tannins – an ideal lunchtime companion.

13:03:
The French onion soup arrives. Rich and salty, it’s served with a cheesy crouton made from a slice of baguette; the onions still have a crunch and the soup is served piping hot, ticking all the boxes for me.

13:10:
I’ve polished off the soup and the bowl is whisked away. I’m left with time to admire the exposed stone walls, the roaring fire and the gorgeous La Guiole steak knife by Jean Dubost – I wouldn’t normally go a bomb on foreign cutlery, but I’ve always had a soft spot for this implement.

13:15:
It’s time for the star of the show. I seldom get excited about a minute steak but this one blew me away thanks to its marinade – the same mix of veal stock, cooking red wine, English mustard, Worchester sauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, ginger and cloves that’s used on the grown-up dishes in the main Steak Restaurant next door.

13:25:
My clean plate vanishes and is replaced by the bill, hitting the 30-minute deadline spot on. I linger a little longer to enjoy a pot of breakfast tea – again, not part of the express menu, but much-needed on a cold day for girding the loins ahead of my return to Auld Reekie’s bitter winds.

The express lunch menu at Steak Brasserie, Picardy Place, Edinburgh, costs £8.95 per person. Find out more at www.steakedinburgh.com/brasserie/