Alain Roux’s new Brasserie Prince in Edinburgh’s Balmoral hotel operates as if the world is full of millionaires. It’s a shrine to Escoffier and la cuisine Bourgeoise. Commendably, it upholds classical tradition, serving dishes such as oeufs Mimosa, trout with almonds, blanquette de veau, lobster Thermidor, boeuf Bourguignon, rabbit in Meaux mustard, and monkfish Amoricaine. Diners eat on snow-white table linen, are served by black-suited waiters, and use cutlery by Global. And since it stopped being Hadrian’s, this hotel restaurant has acquired a flunky-patrolled entrance of Princes Street, a licence, surely, to bump the prices right up.

For all this swank I’ll overlook the freezing air conditioning, and the pretentious service: “What are we thinking of ordering to today?” I can talk for myself, mate. And I’ll be patient with a more junior waiter whose English isn’t good enough, and whose answer to my question “How is the tripe cooked?” is “Rare or medium”. I’ll forgive the fact that the prices are remorselessly, and in certain cases, unwarrantedly high, for instance, Grandpa Benoit Roux’s country pâté with sourdough bread costs £13.50. These are not country peasant tariffs. No free morsels here, no amuse bouche, even the bread costs £3 and popcorn is £3.50, mind you it’s ‘signature popcorn’. I’ll merely note the highway robbery of vegetarians. Brasserie Prince even has the audacity to take £9 for a starter quinoa tabbouleh with roasted Mediterranean vegetables. Greek salad with feta and pitta bread is £11, but then French chefs have traditionally shown malevolence towards vegetarians.

A slice of truffled Brie de Meaux costs £12.50.

All this I’ll take with shoulder- shrugging “C’est la vie”. But when I lash out on the whole roasted Challandais duck with gaufrette potatoes and orange sauce – a cool £65 for two, vegetables are £4.50 extra- and the bloody duck is just that, inedible, raw in parts, un-cuttable, even with a serrated knife designed by a Japanese craftsman, except that its legs have very clearly been pre-cooked separately to an English public school greyness, then, as the French say, “J’en Ai Ras le Bol”– I’ve had enough. It was bad enough watching our waiter struggling to carve the poor bird, let alone trying to eat it.

The said duck arrives after lightly inoffensive Parisian gnocchi gratin (made with cheese pâte à choux) in a professional Béchamel sauce, a mean helping with a plodding, ‘I’m all out of ideas’ garnish of cherry tomato quarters and rocket. Normandy onion soup (£7.50) once again strains pricing to the limit, but here at least there’s ample compensation in its sweet, gelatinous depths, which must surely be testimony to a ton of beef bones reduced down to a potent stock, and its elastic cheesy strings that help make it a hearty dish for a grey day.

But back to the shambles of the bloody duck, tough silver membrane through its puce, tough flesh, rubbery, un-rendered skin, and not a word from the staff as they take most of it away uneaten, apart from a slight hint of ‘troublesome customer’ annoyance when I say it was undercooked. In such reverential eating places how dare a mere customer, and very evidently no millionaire, say that the chef has made a mess of it?

Know your place then, and not a penny deducted from the bill for this carnal cock-up.

We make do with the expert gaufrette potatoes with their waffle-like mesh – but there are barely enough for one of us, let alone two, especially when the duck is such an ordeal.

We focus on the vanilla millefeuille, another embarrassment for the poor soul tasked with cutting a slice from a long slab. It slumps because the inadequate layers of flaky pastry can’t architecturally support the sheer weight of amateurishly starchy crème påtissière.

Its two sauces –chocolate and apricot – render each other null and void. Today’s seasonal fruit tart is teeth-chatteringly cold from the fridge, a thick, dense, dry case, as if filled with double thickness pastry, with frigid rhubarb compote, slivered strawberries, and a stalk of rhubarb, which is perplexingly green and sour.

Who’d want to eat here? Edinburgh, and its prestige hotels, is stuffed with rich tourists. Natives? They know better.

Brasserie Prince 4/10