Located just off the main road in Bruntsfield, Le Mouton Noir is always reassuringly busy, a sure sign that they must be doing something right. Despite this, we'd never yet ventured in - so in an effort to redress this oversight, we secured a table on a chilly Thursday night. Inside, the ambience was relaxed without being too informal, aided by the muted tones and large oak-veneer tables. The menu mixes classic and contemporary Gallic cuisine, but lacks any of the pretension that often accompanies French cooking. The owners instead prefer to rely on good ingredients, paired and prepared well, and complemented by an interesting wine list. To begin, we plumped for steamed mussels in white wine and cream, and the soup de jour. Heaped high and served with a liberal dressing of fresh smoked salmon and chopped hazelnuts, the shellfish were cooked perfectly, while the potato and parsnip soup, topped with shards of Parmesan, was velvety smooth. And once the cheese melted, it made for a delightfully gooey start to proceedings. Next up was the rustic shoulder of veal with vanilla, parsnip and cream sauce. The succulent, slow-cooked hunks of meat were tender and moist, and the tower of buttery mashed potatoes helped soak up the deliciously creamy sauce - ideal winter comfort food. The other main course was a clever variation on the French standard of steak frites - beef skirt with a raspberry vinegar and shallot reduction, alongside hand-cut chips with the skins left on. By this point, we were fit to bursting, but the dessert menu was just too tempting to resist. The tarte au chocolat was wickedly decadent - a flaky pastry base topped with rich chocolate ganache, served with flaked almonds, cream, ice cream and a delicious creme anglaise - while the creme brûlée, lightly infused with lavender, was a light and tasty way to round off a terrific evening.