Or, food porn from the Scottish capital. (Sometimes I feel like I’m carrying the equivalent of a six-month fetus in my belly.)
THE EDINBURGH LARDER –– DELI & LICENSED CAFE
15 Blackfriars Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1NB
We didn’t have much time to choose some of the more elaborate brunch dishes as we were rushing off to catch our free Sandeman’s New Europe tour (go early so you can get a good-looking guide haha) but Alan was pleased as pie he got the cappuccino (£1.60). We also got two combinations of scrambled eggs – one with the smoked salmon (too salty), and one with the sausages (yum), £5.95 each. The waitress gave me the wrong change twice, which was slightly annoying, but worth coming in to chill and read if time is on your side.
OINK HOG ROAST
34 Victoria Street, Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2JW
Fresh pig + chili = yummy sandwich (but spam the sauce or it can get a little dry). £3.70. The shop is now open till 8pm but both days we walked past it had shuttered up by around 5-6pm cos they sold out, haha.
THE PIEMAKER38 South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1LL
We paid £1.30 for this haggis pie — haggis is the Scottish national dish, which is apparently sheep innards that USED TO be boiled in stomach and brain until the latter two bits were banned for obvious health reasons. It’s still a pretty gross thought but mmmmm what a delicious gross combination! The pastry was biscuity and firm, just the way I like it, and coupled with the stewy haggis texture made for a filling snack.
21 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2DJ
IMHO any self-respecting carnivore and/or beer drinker should be ashamed of herself (or himself, whatever floats your boat) if she makes it up to Scotland and ignores this place. I can’t remember how I Googled this place, maybe through an entry on The Edinburgh Blog or something, but Alan and I soon found ourselves walking semi-empty and rainy lanes. I had read that the Lothian Road area used to be quite seedy, so being the paranoid, untrusting tourist that I am, I grabbed my bag tightly and walked extra quickly whenever I saw graffiti and hoodie-clad men. Thankfully Red Squirrel looked appropriately safe — rowdy enough to make you feel like this wasn’t going to be a place that served shitty food at exorbitant prices, and sufficiently lit to help ease my mind that there wasn’t like illegal prostitution going on in the backrooms and stuff.
Red Squirrel also isn’t one of those rip-off pubs that can be dime-a-dozen in London. £10 bought you a two-course meal – an appetizer/dessert and a main. For appetizers we got the peri-peri chicken, which was decent, but come on, there’s stil Nando’s and their extra hot sauce is still my benchmark. But for mains — and that’s what you’re really here for — we went for the burgers.
The venison burger was not too bad though I think Red Squirrel should stick to beef patties. Alan loved the sourdough bun, and the guacamole is an addition I think more burger places should consider.
Dessert was a meh berry cheesecake but hey, the burgers were pretty darn good. And how can I forget the drinks?? I loved Red Squirrel because they offer 1/3 pints, all pro-rated, which is great for unadventurous drinkers like me. Now I can try them in tiny portions and decide what I really like. Okay, that’s what would happen in theory. I still stuck with my Aspall’s, which is a really easy cider. But Alan, who is fashioning himself some kind of beer connoisseur, had the Innis & Gun, Blue Moon, and Black Ale Organic Blond. The above three names mean nothing to me, but here’s a picture of a happy alcoholic.
Did I mention the service at Red Squirrel was really good too? I loved it when one of the waiters came up to me out of nowhere to apologize for a delay which I wasn’t really noticing.
1-2 Moat Place, Edinburgh, EH14 1NY
How we ended up as Jashans was also another stroke of good fortune. We were waiting for the bus to the main city (our host’s place was 20 minutes away from the hubbub) but we had just missed both of them. The thing about Edinburgh’s transport is that buses have 30-minute intervals between them, and the Tube network is nothing compared to London’s, which contributes to the Scottish Middle Ages charm I guess. And I was starving. Jashans beckoned from the immediate distance.
“Let’s go,” I told Alan. “Let’s eat Indian food in Scotland.” Alan consulted his iPhone and TripAdvisor told him Jashans was the 4th best restaurant in Edinburgh.
It’s so funny that I had to go all the way to Scotland to eat the best Indian food in my life.
This is a fraction of the food we got. We also had two more appetizers. The damage was just £11.95 because it was Sunday and they have ‘Sunday Banquet Menus’ then :D:D On weekdays they have something similar for £8+ but one less main.
We ate: Chicken Puri, Garlic Mushrooms, Chicken Tikka Massallam, Lamb Rogan Josh, CHICKEN JALFREZI, Garlic Naan, Saffron Rice!
Chicken Jalfrezi, my mouth waters as I think about you. This is legitimate spicy food that smells like Heaven (all those herbs and their names I do not know).
Afterwards I food coma-ed like crazy but it was so worth it.
38-40 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2JU
Alan really wanted to try Mussels & Steak (a restaurant recommended by our very pretty friend Shimin), but the guy was being really inflexible about seating arrangements. His loss, our gain — we found Petit Paris which is a super legit French place run by French chefs with real French waiters (who are all very aesthetically pleasing).
We got two appetizers: warm goat cheese, and fish soup (each £4.90). The goat cheese was slightly crispy on the outside but oozed milky goodness as soon as your fork cut into it. I’ve become quite a fan of cheese of late, so maybe I won’t be the best judge in determining if the taste is ‘too strong’ or not, but even Alan, who was never a cheese-person, gave it the thumbs up.
But it was the fish soup he went a little crazy over. I can’t quite describe it — you drink it and you know it is fish, but it isn’t fishy. It reminds you of tomato and anchovies but in the best possible way. I MISS IT AND WANT MORE.
And for the mains, which we shared, because by now we were bursting, we got the Scottish grilled ribeye steak with a Cognac + peppercorn sauce (£17.90). I’ll throw you the usual words: juicy, tender, succulent, amazing, noms, Ineedtocomebackhereagain.
There will be a day when I can cook dishes like this. But until then it looks like I’ll have to save money for trips back to Edinburgh. Still food in Edinburgh is slightly more affordable than the ones we’ve had in London, which I think is one reason why we enjoyed the food aspect of our little trip so much.
And I really should start running! I wonder if my mother will greet me with cries about how fat I am when I finally return, as she did to me last summer. HAHA.