Review: Budget Pre theatre tasting menu in Edinburgh Dean Banks at The Pompadour, Edinburgh

dean banks at the pompadour fish

Budget-friendly pre theatre fine dining tasting menu

The Pompadour is one of Edinburgh’s most famous restaurant names.  For many years it was The Pompadour by Galvin, and now Dean Banks is here.

Sitting inside the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, Dean Banks at the Pompadour has an enviable position.  If you are lucky, you will get a table looking out towards Edinburgh Castle.

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh The Caledonian Staycation

Masterchef finalist Chef Dean Banks has three restaurants and a bar in his portfolio – Haar in St Andrews, Dean Banks at the Pompadour and Dulse, both in Edinburgh and Forager in Dollar. We have previously tried his food at home during lockdown, so we were really looking forward to a sit-in fine dining experience this time.

view to edinburgh castle from pompadour
View to Edinburgh Castle from one of the dining tables.

So here is a look at the new pre-theatre tasting menu from Dean Banks at the Pompadour. The Pre Theatre 5-course tasting menu is £59pp which can be paired with a selection of curated wines for an additional £40pp, which is pretty good value by today’s pricing.

inside dean banks at the pompadour
view from dean banks at the pompadour

Dean Banks at The Pompadour Pre-Theatre Tasting Menu

dean banks at the pompadour pre theatre tasting menu

Wine Pairing Menu

dean banks at the pompadour wine tasting

We decided to take the paired wines but note that these were the pairings for the previous menu so on our visit we had: smokie instead of snacks, no asparagus, and we didn’t take the optional lobster course.

So, our first glass with the first course was Chateau Moncontour Vouvray Brut which had a yeasty, malted biscuit aroma with some apple and pear, and an apple and lemon/lime taste.


This was the chef’s take on an Arbroath smokie, which is where Dean is from.  This doesn’t look like any smokie we’ve had before but we loved the showmanship. Served in a caviar tin, it came with dashi pearls and elevated a normal pre-theatre dish into what you should expect from these surroundings.  A fish skeleton held slices of crispy rye croutons to scoop up the smokie. The pea tart was dainty and tasted green and earthy.  There were layers and layers of flavours in this course.


Fresh bread and creamy butter. Delicious, it certainly passed our bread and butter test.


Underneath the black garlic tuile, which was a perfect umami Worcestershire sauce fit for the nasturtium leaves, confit egg yolk, truffle mayo and beef.

Paired with the tartar was a Thorne & Daughters Semillon from South Africa, so a white paired with red meat. This had a really buttery vanilla aroma with a hint of petroleum too. We would have thought it was a Chardonnay if we didn’t know better.


Plancha cooked brill served atop a cauliflower foam which tasted slightly curried, with a crisp coriander tuile. This was served with a Domaine Vrignaud Chablis 1er Cru. This had a wet stone and lemon aroma with a light lemony taste.

dean banks at the pompadour fish


Confit duck leg with hoisin sauce served with a broccoli and coriander puree and hoisin sauce. Robust but also with dainty flavours. Succulent duck, delicious. This was served with a Heidi Schröck Blaufränkisch Kulm from Austria. It had aromas of leather, raspberry ruffles(!) and white pepper. The taste was sour cherry. Dry, with a lot of acidity.


Filled with strawberry and lemongrass, a crispy honey tuile, a basil sorbet topped with strawberry and gochujang jam frozen in liquid nitrogen. This was really well-executed dessert that thought and time had went into. It looked great and it tasted fruity, herby and spicy – perfect to cleanse the palate at the end of the meal. Our final wine was a Contero Moscato d’Asti. This had a floral lychee, grape and pear aroma with a sweet fruity taste. It was light and easy to drink.


@foodieexplorers Pre-theatre tasting menu at Dean Banks at the Pompadour #CapCut #edinburgh #edinburghtiktok #edinburghfoodie #budget #edinburghfood #scotlandtiktok #foodtiktok #scotland ♬ vlog, chill out, calm daily life(1370843) – SUNNY HOOD STUDIO


This was our first visit to the Pompadour since Dean took over the restaurant. It’s still one of the best dining locations in the capital.  My personal favourite course was the dessert which was exquisite and I love Moscato d’Asti for it’s sweet fruit-forward taste.

The only downside on our visit was that the service was a little disorganised. We passed on feedback at the end of the meal. All staff were friendly and polite, and we would happily return as the menu at £59pp and wine for £40pp does represent really good value for fine dining in a prime location. See our recent review of Helene Darroze at the Connaught to see how expensive fine dining can get!

Extra Information about Dean Banks at The Pompadour

The restaurant is located on the 1st floor of the Waldorf Astoria. Access can be gained either through the main staircase or by the lift in the lobby.

The Pre-Theatre menu is only available Monday to Friday 5 pm-6.30 pm or Saturdays and Sundays 12 pm-2.30 pm

Is Dean Banks at the Pompadour Michelin Star?

No, however, it is mentioned in the Michelin Guide and holds 3 AA Rosettes.

Where is Dean Banks from?

Dean Banks grew up in Arbroath, famous for the Arbroath Smokie. Dean trained in Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant and returned to Scotland to work in Number One at The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh and at Paul Kitching’s, 21212.

He then went to work as a private chef in Verbier.  By 2018  he applied and joined Masterchef: The Professionals advanced to the final 3 of the 2018 show.

What else is Dean Banks involved in?

HAAR with Rooms in St Andrews, Dulse in Edinburgh, and The Forager pub in Dollar. In addition to these hospitality venues, he operates HAAR at Home delivery service;  Lunun Gin and Mond Vodka. 

Book a table at Dean Banks at The Pompadour

Click here to reserve a table

old pompadour menu 2
A menu from the old Pompadour restaurant

Where is Dean Banks at the Pompadour

Dean Banks at the Pompadour, Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2AB

We were gifted a meal at Dean Banks at The Pompadour. We paid for our own drinks. Many thanks to Dean and his staff.

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About Emma 3257 Articles
Hello! I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers which is a food and travel website. I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers. We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year. Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.     Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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