Sometimes a bill sits up and bites you, as did mine at the new Mark Greenaway enterprise in Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria (Caledonian) Hotel. Lunch for two, with 10% service, but without alcohol, bottled water, or coffee? £108.

What did she expect, you might ask. It’s a posh hotel. In response I’d suggest that the name is misleading: Grazing by Mark Greenaway. The dictionary definition of the verb graze is “to eat small portions of food throughout the day”. “Grazing” is not a heads-up that you can expect to blow over a hundred at midday.

This site defeated restaurateurs as professional as the Galvins, and atmosphere must be part of the problem. It’s sombre within even as the sun splits the skies outside, a masculine environment of hard, slippy surfaces, fashionable mercury, dark blue and ox blood leather, all practical in a hard-wearing, comfortless way. I wish they’d can the music. Springsteen, Rag ’n’ Bone man, a disjointed playlist suited to the most conservative of Radio 2’s audiences.

Here’s some chocolate-dark brown bread that might owe its colour to treacle. The butter that comes with it has bits in it, which turn out to be duck. I’m no vegan but I’d rather keep duck out my butter. I’ve decided to order beef tartare. I like the brown ketchup that’s dotted over it, the beef is well seasoned, the toast brittle and wafer thin, but something weird has been done to the (quail’s?) egg yolks that makes them gummy, and I’m so glad that I stopped our waiter blobbing on a white substance, which he tells us is “frozen Parmesan”. (There are some rather rude acronyms in my notes here, featuring Fs and Ss.) This is how I’d imagine liquid from a defrosting fridge might taste.

Thankfully the Parmesan on the gnocchi has only been grated, and the dumplings themselves, neatly browned, have that homely, potato, flour, and butter taste. They come with baby leeks, which like every baby leek I’ve tasted, are too fibrous; a toothpick job. Asparagus would work so much better here.

Lemon sole comes on the bone, which is how I’d have ordered it, but I wasn’t asked if I’d like it filleted. It’s anaemic looking- the butter isn’t browned enough under its avalanche of capers- the soft texture is more like plaice than sole, and the flavour is mute. Perhaps it has been over-chilled? At any rate it isn’t exhibiting the freshness we’ve a right to expect for £25. There’s a burnt taste to our side order of “potato mousse/sticky lamb fat”, as if a stray bit of meat had been accidentally incinerated on barbecue coals. “Hake/shellfish/cannelloni/ bisque/leeks” makes a very odd plateful. The pasta, striped black and white, looks like a stick of seaside rock, its crab meat filling, salty, wet, spongy, reminds me of the reconstituted shellfish mulch known as ‘crab stick’. The fish is once again vapid. It’s been cooked too firm. Two singed rings of what appears to be leek again are filled with a soupy green purée, possibly featuring peas and dill. The powerful allium hit of the cremated leek is a mouth mugger. Cannelloni, despite its garish appearance is adroitly made, like the gnocchi before it. Pasta would appear to be one of this kitchen’s core competencies.

We gasp at the “grazing dessert for two”- frangipane and pear tart- because this restaurant has the astonishing nerve to charge £18 for it. The size of a one-person tart out there in the real world, with one mean quenelle of vanilla ice cream, its pastry is amateurishly tough, overworked, and baked darkly, its filling solid- more like treacle tart- with a faintly alcoholic underlay. The pears might as well be candied they’re so cloying.

Reading through the bill I can see in retrospect how the cost stacked up, but the business logic here, on the other hand, doesn’t. Edinburgh heaves with minted tourists who theoretically might eat here. Surely on residents alone this enterprise should see no shortage of custom? But considering that we are one of only three tables in this sprawling, multi-roomed restaurant, might it not be time to rethink the menu and lower the prices?

Grazing by Mark Greenaway, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Princes Street, Edinburgh 0131 222 8888

Food: 4 and a half/10
Atmosphere: 3/10
Service: 6/10
Value for money: 2/10