If our experience of Edinburgh is anything to go by, then I’m not sure it’s possible to have a bad meal in Scotland. Even the buffet breakfast at the hotel was so scrummy that I found myself have a full
English Scottish two days in a row (unheard of for me).
Here’s where we ate…
Like little lost sheep we wandered in here on our first day in the city. Contemporary cool, without being intimidating or pretentious, the restaurant offers an airy, spacious environment to enjoy their range of locally sourced goodness. The view over Princes Street gardens isn’t bad either!
A 5am start meant coffee was needed. We both ordered a cappuccino and, by God, were pleased we did! It was the scrummiest cappuccino ever! so creamy, with a rich froth and a little trinket of chocolate floating on top. Simply divine.
Food-wise, I ordered the Salmon Buttery – Scottish smoked salmon served on a buttery pastry, complete with spinach and cream cheese and served with a side salad. Sometimes the combination of smoked salmon and cream cheese can be cloying and sickly. Not so in this instance, the portions were perfectly balanced and the accompanying side salad was crisp, tasty and very satisfying.
Hubby had an open top ham sandwich. A doorstop of delicious bread topped with a hunk of tasty ham, served with side salad and tasty mustard.
Things were off to a good start!
Our next foodie stop was a cafe called Lovecrumbs which I’d stumbled across on Pinterest. It turned out to be just around the corner from where we were staying. Lovecrumbs offers the perfect antidote to high street corporate coffee chains.
We enjoyed cappuccinos (unhealthy caffeine habit) in retro mugs, that your parents probably had when they first got married, with chocolate and lavender cake (me) and a scone (Hubby).
We sat at a piano to eat with what looked like a stuffed stoat keeping watch over us. The cafe was buzzing with local creative types, students and perhaps those who thought they might just be the next J K Rowling. As is ubiquitous with all cafes now, Apple logos glowed from all directions. What sets Lovecrumbs apart from other cafes is its retro mis-matched charm. It’s retro, quirky and kitsch. Plus the cakes are amazing, slightly more unusual than your normal high street coffee shop and they even offer gluten-free cake. Yum!
Dinner came courtesy of this authentic Mexican restaurant. Brightly coloured and adorned with South American decorations, an extensive, yet simple, menu makes Chiquitos look a tad pedestrian.
We enjoyed sloppy, but tasty, nachos to start. Covered with delicious salsa, sour cream, guacamole and refried beans they were perfect sharing food. For main, we both opted for enchiladas. Hubby chose the creamy chicken version, while I went for the slightly spicier beef version. They were both served on a bed of Mexican rice and refried beans and were so simply presented that you felt as though a Mexican friend had invited you over for dinner and cooked you an authentic dish. Seriously yummy too.
Hungry and cold from spending a few hours exploring the fascinating Edinburgh Castle, we headed here out of convenience more than anything. But we were pleased we did. Like the National Gallery the surroundings are luxurious, but not intimidating – think plush comfortable chairs in decadent shades of purple and bench seats with cosy cushions.
The Afternoon Tea looked amazing, but I always think that Afternoon Tea is something to be savoured where as, for us, this was a pure refuelling stop. We both chose the hot pork sandwich. But this wasn’t like any old hot pork sandwich, it was served on light artisan bread, with delicious apple sauce and a tasty side salad. I often find a ‘traditional’ hot pork sandwich too dry and bloating, and often end up leaving half of it. I wolfed this down and washed it down with my amazing Rosehip and Hibiscus luxury iced tea – a tough (but good) choice from their extensive tea menu.
We even hung around for some (standard) tea and cake. Although my lemon cake was a tad on the eye-wateringly tart side.
Choosing a restaurant to celebrate your anniversary in, in a city that you don’t know, is normally difficult. So I was relieved when we stumbled across The Witchery on the web ahead of our trip. As soon as I saw the opulent, yet cosy surroundings and foodie menu I knew it was where we should go. We weren’t disappointed. The restaurant is candle-lit and has a proper olde worlde vibe about it. Leather booth seats, flowers in metal tankards, comfy cushions. The waiting staff are super attentive and treat all customers the same – whether you’re a wealthy Japanese businessman, one of their many celeb visitors (the menu says that Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jack Nicholson and Dannii Minogue amongst others have dined there) or a Brummie who asks for a bottle of Magners to accompany their high-quality food (that wasn’t us by the way).
We ordered a glass of champagne each (we were celebrating) and prepared ourselves for culinary heaven. I just had to go for Haggis Neeps and Tatties for my starter. Granted I think it was a posh take on this Scot classic, but hey, at least I had the guts (no pun intended) to try it and it was nice. Not something I’d eat everyday, but I’d have it again. A bit like a posh faggot. Hubby had Foie Gras which was melt in your mouth delicious.
For main I had Venison served rare on a bed of potato dauphinose and kale, with a parsnip crisp and a dark chocolate sauce. I was intrigued by the combination of flavours and, I have to say, it was the best Venison I have EVER tasted. Super wow! Hubby had the duck was amazing too.
As a self-confessed chocoholic I HAD to go for the chocolate tart with honeycomb ice cream for dessert – rich and indulgent but not sickly. Hubby joined with my chocolate theme and went for the Chocolate brioche bread and butter pudding with pistachio ice cream which was just amazing – light, tasty and moreish. He was lucky I didn’t steal it. We even went so far as to accompany our scrummy puddings with some lovely dessert wine. Soooo good.
The Witchery isn’t cheap, but it is the perfect restaurant for a special occasion.
Do book in advance. We went on a Tuesday and it was busy! Oh, and don’t wear a big woolly jumper. it is toasty in there!
Tired from a morning of sight-seeing and craving junk food (I blame the champagne the night before) we headed to this chain restaurant on the Royal Mile. The service was excellent and the burger and fries washed down with an ice-cold coke perfectly satiated our craving. A good option if you’re travelling with kids or fussy eaters.
And that was it, the only other food we scoffed was at the airport. And scoff we did… Hubby went to one coffee shop in the airport to be served by a foreign barista.
Can I have two lattes please?
What syrups do you have?
Er, we have potato
Answered the barista
Me and Hubby looked at each other, was this a Scottish delicacy which we had been yet to try? I’d just bought a bottle of Irn Bru so I could tick that off the list of things to try when you’re in Scotland. Was Potato Coffee something we should be adding to the list? Nope, it was just that the barista couldn’t understand my Hubby’s slight Midlands accent and had thought he’d said soup. Oops!
So, there you go, stay away from the potato coffee but otherwise there are our recommendations of places to eat in the Scottish capital. That said, we clocked loads of restaurants to add to the ‘to try next time we’re here’ list so even if you go to different places I reckon you’ll still have a great culinary experience.
Have you been to Edinburgh? What restaurants would you recommend?