I had planned to fill this blog with tales of cultural sightseeing from my recent trip to Edinburgh but … this is Scotland and naturally, it rained NON STOP.
Luckily, I’ve already visited and done the Camera Obscura, the battered mars bars and Arthur’s Seat (well, half of it) – so I didn’t feel too disappointed. My sister lives in Edinburgh and we were set on enjoying the weekend, come rain or shine.
And the best remedy for rain? Eat and drink – lots!
So here’s where we wined and dined…
Brunch – Loudons, 94B Fountainbridge
Loudons is a great place for brunch. It’s a huge building but it gets busy, so be prepared to queue. The menu is full of different gluten free and vegan options, and they have a whole section dedicated to different variations on Eggs Benedict (or Bennies, as they call them) – HEAVEN.
We started with some scrummy smoothies. After a wee too much to drink the night before, a carrot and ginger vitamin boost was just what I needed.
My sister ate a veggie breakfast and I went for pancakes with bacon and eggs, covered in maple syrup. They were so thick and fluffy, I couldn’t believe they were gluten free.
Even though it was a Sunday morning, and clearly packed, the staff were attentive and the food was incredible. All their bread and cakes are baked onsite, so I’m going to have to go back for more.
Lunch – The Villager, 49 George IV Bridge
It is a really cosy pub with a relaxed, retro vibe and quirky ornaments.
Because we were saving ourselves for dinner, we only had a sharing platter. Vegetable spring rolls, artichoke and red pepper frittata, beetroot and apple salad, mozzarella and cherry tomato salad, chickpea fritters, served with olives, home-made piccalilli and dip.
The waiter served us with a bit of sauce and a vacant expression on his face… perhaps having been out the night before. And, if I’m being honest, it wasn’t anything special.
But the food did the trick and the smoothie was delicious. Best of all, it didn’t break the bank.
Dinner – The Dogs, 110 Hanover St
The Dogs was the highlight of my trip. Outside, it looks like any other restaurant in the area – which is full of classy bars and eateries. Inside, there are DOGS EVERYWHERE.
Okay, okay, not real dogs. But the whole place was lit up by candles and covered in pictures of puppies. They even had a shrine in the hallway.
And as for the food… it was probably my best meal this year. We started with artisanal bread and butter – fresh, warm and oh-so-tasty.
My sister had a colourful vegetable bowl for her main. It gave me proper food envy: charred butternut squash, pomegranate cous cous, chilli, lime and mint yoghurt, toasted seeds.
But then my main arrived. The sweetcorn and scallop risotto was rich, filling and had a hint of lemon too. I would never think to put sweetcorn in a risotto but the flavours worked really well. All the food was served in cute retro crockery, adding to The Dog’s character.
And, of course, to make the meal complete… dessert!
Apple and strawberry crumble. The crumble was light and buttery and the dollop of ice cream complimented the fruit perfectly. I only regret choosing to share it with my sister!
Drinks – Bryant & Mack, 87-89 Rose St
The last stop – cocktails. Bryant & Mack is a little speakeasy posing as a private detectives’ office.
We sampled quite a few cocktails on the menu (oops!), but there is one particular drink I want to highlight- the Ethical Daiquiri.
They take wine or booze which isn’t fresh, but most of us would drink at home (a week old, for example) and mix it with scraps of leftover fruit to make different flavours of alcohol, without waste.
It might sound a bit gross, to begin with, but it saves the planet – and tastes great! If you’re going to go here, I’d definitely recommend booking as it is a tiny place. And give the daiquiri a chance, it is nice, honest.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my whistle-stop tour of Edinburgh. If there’s anywhere else you think I should visit, I’d love to hear!