I’ve written a post about my trip but decided that a dedicated post was needed just for the food and drink side of things! From a michelin-star lunch to trying a buffalo burger at the local farmers’ market, I definitely tried to make the most of my time eating my way through Edinburgh.
I arrived at Edinburgh Waverley railway station in the city centre on Friday afternoon. Walking out of the station on to Princes Street I was aptly greeted by the sounds of a bagpiper playing for passing tourists. Continuing along Princes Street I admired the luscious green Princes Street Gardens and, as on my first visit to Edinburgh, was mesmerised by Edinburgh Castle sitting atop Castle Rock… you know, just in the middle of the city!
It turns out Edinburgh is not only a feast for the eyes but also the belly. This year Scotland is promoting its abundant, quality produce to the world via the Year of Food & Drink 2015. I didn’t get to any events or try any food trails this time but would love to head back and do so later in the year.
Before I tell you a bit about my food and drink adventures I want to put it out there that I am by no means a culinary expert! I simply love trying new things and sharing positive stories with others so they can also enjoy great food experiences. Below are some of the establishments I enjoyed that I’d recommend trying when you’re in Edinburgh:
The first pub I went to was a little gem called Nobles in Leith (to the north of Edinburgh), where the friendly staff made me very feel welcome. I tried the Popcorn Infused Guinea Fowl with sweet potato fondant, roasted white onion purée, mange tout & thyme jus (£15.95). The meat was very tender and the flavours were lovely. The popcorn flavour was very subtle – I would say that the meat was slightly buttery.
Besides serving nice food, the pub had a great feel about it – stained glass windows, fairy lights and lots of quirky random framed photos/pictures on the walls.
A cute thing I love about the UK are the basement apartments accessible by steps descending from street level. There are lots of these in Edinburgh, often hiding awesome little places just waiting to be discovered. Pickles is definitely worth seeking out. Nestled below another restaurant on Broughton Street, Pickles is a cosy and intimate bar serving beer, wine and coffee as well as meat and Scottish cheese platters.
Roseleaf cafe/bar/pub is that venue loved by locals that as a tourist you always want to find on your travels. A quaint little pub situated in Port o’ Leith, Roseleaf is adorned by mismatched furniture and offers its walls to aspiring artists and photographers. They serve yummy hearty meals – I had the Mac Attack: Marshall’s Scottish macaroni in a lightly truffled smoked applewood cheddar sauce with sautéed leeks & smokey bacon & herby cheesy crust! They are also well-known for their Pot-Tails (cocktails served in teapots).
Panda & Sons
From the street, Panda & Sons looks like a barbershop. Enter and make your way down the stairs and you’ll find what looks to be a bookcase but which is actually a door into the basement bar that serves a huge range of cocktails. The lights are dimmed and there are tables and couches spread throughout the space. It’s a great spot to escape for a cruisy beverage or two.
Edinburgh Farmers’ Market
I love a good farmers’ market, and Edinburgh Farmers’ Market located at the base of Castle Rock on Castle Terrace did not disappoint! There was a little bit of everything – fresh fruit and vegetables, lots of fresh meat from local producers, baked goods, Scottish tablet (think of a denser but crumbly fudge), charcuterie, baked goods…
Known for its award-winning baked goods, but also serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, Mimi’s Bakehouse is a family run business located on the Shore in Leith. The decor shouts funky tea-house as soon as you walk in and the whole experience, from friendly and thoughtful service to the yummy food, was fantastic. Wanting to try some Scottish delicacies I ordered the Gorgeous Gourmet Breakfast (£9.95) – two Crombies of Edinburgh Broughton bangers, Stornoway black pudding, plum vine tomatoes roasted with thyme, grilled Ramsay of Carluke’s Ayrshire bacon, homemade baked beans, Scottish free-range scrambled eggs and Mimi’s award-winning toasted bread. I did not eat again until the evening!
I also love a good tea shop and this was a brilliant find in my time in Edinburgh. As well as making lots of fantastic teas Eteaket does food, including afternoon tea. I didn’t indulge this time, but my pot of White Peach tea was divine (bag purchased to bring back to London!). A lovely special touch is the timer that comes with your pot of tea to ensure that you know when the optimal brewing time is!
Edinburgh is home to not one, not two, but five Michelin-starred restaurants so I thought I should take advantage of that fact and indulge in a fine-dining experience! I chose to try Martin Wishart which is located not too far away from Mimi’s Bakehouse on the Shore in Leith. If you want to try some delicious meals by awarded chefs but not break the bank, always check if there is a set lunch menu which is usually a lot more affordable (what I did on this occasion).
The set menu allowed me to choose from two options for each course. For entrée I had the guinea fowl mousse with morels and foie gras cream, for main I had the baron of Lancashire farmed rabbit with roulade of sage printed pasta and confit leg, navey and vichy carrots and for dessert I chose the chocolate delice with blackcurrant sorbet, cherries and milk curd.
As with most high end dining experiences there was delicious home-made bread, as well as canapes and amuse bouche before the entree, and I was also spoilt enough to receive petit fours after dessert! I was well and truly stuffed by this point and got to take home the handmade choccies to enjoy at a later time.
As you can see, the presentation of the food was impeccable. I was sad to ruin all the chef’s hard work… that is until I tasted it and it no longer crossed my mind! It was amazing… it was all the synonyms of amazng and delicious. Everything was cooked to perfection and it was great to get to try some new flavour combinations. At £28.50 I thought this was pretty good value (in essence I made my way through five courses), and I would definitely go back again.
I hope these provide some inspiration for those of you visiting Edinburgh sometime soon. There are so many other places that I wanted to try but just ran out of time to get to! Does anyone else have any recommendations they’d like to share?