Business events professionals were invited to a special tour of a new £3m brasserie which has been launched at one of Scotland’s most iconic hotels.
Members of the Scottish chapter of SITE (Society of Incentive Travel Excellence) gathered at The Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh as a new concept combining two of the hospitality industry’s biggest names was unveiled.
The Prince Brasserie, which has undergone a lavish refurbishment, was showcased to around 20 SITE members in a special presentation led by General Manager Richard Cooke on Tuesday.
He described how the owners of The Balmoral – the Rocco Forte family – have teamed up with the famous culinary Roux family to offer Michelin-style quality food in a brasserie setting.
The 210-seater space will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner plus light bites and sharing plates, featuring a mix of traditional Scottish and French cuisine.
Cooke said: “This is very much a relaxed environment but it is a traditional French brasserie. Michel Roux was adamant that it would be a traditional menu; the menu itself goes back to some of Grandma’s recipes, so again it’s very much based on this family theme. And of course with Sir Rocco Forte and his children now closely involved with the hotel, it’s fantastic that you have those families coming together.”
Cooke explained that Alain Roux, as Signature Chef, has been closely involved with the recipes in the kitchen; a party will be held next Thursday to celebrate its formal opening and it is expected that members of the Roux and Forte hospitality dynastyies will be at the cocktail reception, by private invitation only. Together with his father, Michel Roux, OBE, Alain – who currently retains three Michelin stars at The Waterside Inn in Berkshire – is set to oversee the menu which he promises will combine classic French dishes with the finest Scottish ingredients.
The brasserie was formerly called Hadrian’s Brasserie and the Balmoral Bar, and sits adjacent to North Bridge street. It has been under wraps for five months during the refurbishment, and the new period styling takes its cues from a traditional French brasserie and the Art Deco period. The emphasis is on luxury with leather armchair-style stools lining the bar and the restoration has also seen a picture of the original advert for the North British Hotel – the first trading name of the establishment – retained.
“We’re trying to embrace the history and the great people that have been here for the last 115 years – we’re trying to find our way forward to the future but with respect for the past,” Cooke added.
SITE members were hosted in the bar with a mimosa cocktail and then made their way upstairs for a buffet-style banqueting lunch in the Beauly Suite overlooking Waverley Station and Princes Street Gardens.
Various bowl foods were served alongside smoked salmon, a selection of salads as well as a new product, ‘Edinburgh Butter’, finished with coffees and home-made chocolates and fruit salads.
Alain Roux said: “This exciting new brasserie will be defined by a seasonally changing menu rooted in French bistro dishes, in the classic modern style, irresistibly simple, delicious food. We will be led by the fantastic array of Scottish ingredients and flavours to include beautiful seafood platters and tasty sharing plates at the bar. I want to serve the dishes that I love to cook myself at home and seek out with family and friends when we go out to eat. It will be an exciting menu, informed by my French heritage but totally inspired by Scotland.”
Emily Shields, SITE President, Scottish Chapter, said: “It was such a privilege to see the newly-opened Brasserie Prince which is looking spectacular and to hear from the GM, Richard Cooke, about the concept behind the collaboration between the Forte and Roux families.”
The new brasserie completes a five-year refurbishment plan which includes the renovation of the Castle and Old Town view rooms; Michelin-starred Number One; the Afternoon Tea lounge Palm Court and the destination whisky bar, SCOTCH.