I’m a big Edinburgh fan. Growing up in the Highlands with a large chunk of our relatives effectively defecting to the Lowlands, week-end trips south were a formative part of my childhood. Edinburgh’s not only one of the most beautiful cities architecturally, it’s also hugely inspirational from a food perspective. Independent restaurant concepts have long been embraced here and as a result, you’d be hard pushed to get through my pick of the best fuel stops in two days:
Timberyard’s Armani does Ski lodge style compelled me to congratulate the affable and obliging staff within approximately 3 seconds of entering the building.
Provenance and the Slow Food philosophy are king so expect Scottish ales and local ingredients; some from Ben (In House Forager); some from the back garden.
Urban Angel’s chain of Wholesomely Seductive cafés are my breakfast, supper or train journey packed lunch staple.
Top picks: Smoked haddock, poached egg, hollandaise & tattie scone. Cooked to such creamy perfection I’ve since questioned why more cafes don’t feature as an alternative to the ubiquitous Eggs Benedict / Florentine clan…
The Goat’s cheese, caramelized onion quiche skimps not on the good stuff: Abundantly cheesy with sweet onion and a deliciously substantial pastry base. Lightened by the addition of fresh tang and crunch from Pineapple, fennel & sultana slaw. Not to be missed: Almond & honey Florentine. Trust me.
Ship on the shore
The Ship on the Shore in Leith (seaside Edinburgh) manages to impress not just Little Miss Fussy, but Hippy Mum and even the more traditional, OBE decorated, Edinburgh Great Uncle. Fish and shellfish at its best. With wild garlic, haggis mash, in a pint or just about any way you like it. This is a must tick when visiting Edinburgh. #intelligentcooking
While Starbucks is inevitably prevalent, it’s far outweighed by the long established and increasingly popular coffee shops who’s look is anything but that of a cookie cut corporate. And their coffee strong and smooth enough to cause a discerning Antipodean barista to weep.
A stone’s throw from the university, Brew Lab leads the way, even securing colleague Paul’s much coveted high praise. Paul’s title reads: Gather & Gather Coffee Guru. And he’s Australian, of course. Following in the trend for ‘We’d Serve You From A Urinal If EHO Allowed It Styling’, Brew Lab’s exposed brick makes Havana’s perilously pinned together buildings look positively pristine.
The fresh mint tea (with egg timer) resulted in much jubilation from a non-coffee drinking colleague and the ridiculously tasty and rich Almond & cherry cake inspired me to covet my personalised Spanish version no longer. Next week I’ll bring you Orange, almond & chocolate cake: Uber moist; sophisticatedly sweet and tangy; distinctively almondy. A cake for grown ups.
Other Edinburgh hot spots: The Gardener’s Cottage, The Dogs, Peter’s Yard.