Eating around Edinburgh

August 27, 2009 at 10:47 pm 14 comments

The Bakehouse, Edinburgh
The window at The Bakehouse

A friend and I have just spent a glorious three days in Edinburgh, where the sun actually shone for the majority of the time – what a difference a bit of sunshine makes. We wandered up and down the city (preferring to spend our time in the more characterful Old Town than the commercial New Town), which was probably a good idea considering how much we managed to eat. We didn’t have one dud meal, even with my total lack of planning (luckily, there were some eating recommendations from Helen and EuWen). So rather than write yet another epic post, here’s a brief guide to the various places we stuffed our faces at, in chronological order.

Teacups at Eteaket, Edinburgh
Mismatched teacups at Eteaket

Eteaket

After trekking nearly 40 minutes to our hotel from Waverly station, it was definitely tea time. Bring on Eteaket, a brilliant little tearoom in New Town decked out in vibrant magenta and turquoise. The waitresses were incredibly upbeat and friendly, explaining the different cakes and pastries on offer. The tea list is pretty impressive, too, with over 40 types of (ethically sourced) loose-leaf teas; a little triple hourglass device is brought to the table to time how long your tea should be steeped. We opted for the cream tea, and two of the largest scones I’d ever seen arrived – and they were perfect, with a soft crumb and slight chewiness that I love. A perfect little place to while away an afternoon. We had no idea why Café Rouge next door seemed to be packed, when a place like this exists.

Eteaket
41 Frederick Street
Edinburgh
EH2 1EP
0131 226 2982 / www.eteaket.co.uk

Fake flowers at Tony's Table, Edinburgh
Fake flowers at Tony’s Table – the only thing worth photographing

Tony’s Table

Tony Singh is one of Edinburgh’s better known restaurateurs, being the man behind Oloroso on Castle Street. Recently he opened his so-called ‘casual’ dining concept around the corner on North Castle Street, a family-style bistro. We came with expectations of a Canteen-esque eatery with rustic elements and good, solid comfort food and were pretty surprised by the strangely louche decor – all blood red, gold and chandeliers – and immediately felt out of place in our jeans and hoodies. Witty phrases were written across the arches, such as ‘I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals; I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants’. Check out a Twitpic of the restaurant here.

The set menu, at £20 for three courses, is a pretty good deal – but we could only fit in two after gorging on the overgrown scones just less than two hours ago. The dishes are pretty full-on, with lots of meat and pies and the like, which I just couldn’t stomach; luckily one of the specials of the day was a duck breast and ‘monk’s broth’ dish that carried a £2 supplement. The duck was perfectly cooked, all pink and juicy, while the broth was intensely flavoured and soothing – but in the end it was just a simple consommé with shredded vegetables (carrots, cabbage, and other such boring vegetables) and asking for a £2 supplement felt a bit cheeky. Soldiering on, a dessert of Scottish strawberries with creme fraiche was simple but gorgeous. Verdict? A slightly strange place to eat but there’s good grub to be had.

Tony’s Table
58a North Castle Street
Edinburgh
EH2 3LU
0131 226 6743 / www.tonystable.com

Falko Konditormeister at Edinrbugh's Farmers' Market
Falko Konditormeister’s bread and cake stall

Edinburgh Farmers’ Market

The city’s farmers’ market is held every Saturday from early morning until about 2pm, and its held on the lovely Castle Terrace where the stalls have the added bonus of the magnificent Edinburgh castle as a backdrop. I didn’t make any notes about the producers who attended (not there to WORK, afterall!), but one did stand out – the award-winning Piperfield Pork and their absolutely amazing scotch eggs. Okay, so it wasn’t piping hot (it was a market stall, afterall), and the egg was completely cooked through (again, as the nature of the market dictates), but the meat was spot-on. Perfectly seasoned, even slightly juicy – not dry or crumbly or overly processed – and, before we knew it, gone like that. Truly one of the best scotch eggs I’ve had so far (yes, to rival even the Harwood Arms’ and the Bull & Last’s!).

The Strawberry Store was also selling punnets of ripe Jubilee strawbs for £2.50 a pop, as well as wonderful Scottish raspberries, both of which we proceeded to devour while watching the marketgoers. One of the longest queues (in fact perhaps the only one) was for Falko Konditormeister‘s stall (pictured above), a German bakery and patisserie that’s situated on the other side of town. Gorgeous rye breads, strudels and various confections including a creamy blueberry cheesecake (which we bought and devoured on the train back on our last day) were all on display – next time I’m in Edinburgh, this will be the one of the first places I’ll go back to. Other thing at the market: Scottish heather honey, blueberry liqueur, a porridge bar, fudge, wild boar burgers, cheeses, and of course all manner of fruit and veg and meat stalls.

Edinburgh Farmer’s Market
Castle Terrace
Edinburgh
Every Saturday 9am-2pm
www.edinburghfarmersmarket.com

Falko Konditormeister
185 Bruntsfield Place
Edinburgh
EH10 4DG
0131 656 0763 / www.falko.co.uk

Flat white at Wellington Café, Edinburgh
Pretty good flattie, though fern virtually invisible thanks to camera skills (or lack thereof)

Wellington Coffee

It’s no secret that I like a blahdy good cup of coffee. We’re spoiled for choice these days in London, but it never even occurred to me to seek out some decent cups while in Edinburgh. How wrong was I – luckily we stumbled across Wellington Coffee on our way to seek out the National Portrait Gallery (er, we subsequently didn’t go, and got distracted by the Lakeland flagship, too). A little post-research reveals that this little joint is actually created by the same people behind the Kilimanjaro Coffee bar, and that the man behind it, Jonathan Sharp, is actually Scottish Barista 2009. Nice one, chap. The flat white wasn’t quite as good as the ones I’ve had recently at The Espresso Room, or at the ever reliable Lantana, Milk Bar and co, but pretty invigorating nonetheless. Plus points for the sleek Synesso espresso machine, and gorgeous noir cups (I’m a sucker for good mugs).

Tiny, but a great place to watch the people float by on George Street. Didn’t try any of the food offerings, as we were gearing ourselves up for a slap-up seafood meal at our dinner destination.

Wellington Coffee
33a George Street
Edinburgh
EH2 2HN
0131 225 6857

Café Fish

… Which deserves its own post (also because, for silly aesthetic reasons, the pictures I took there are stylistically different to the ones in this one and I like consistency). Having opened just a few months ago, there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of press about it, which is a shame. It was definitely one of the highlight meals this summer, and will be writing about it in more detail in due course. Ditto for…

The Grain Store

… Which was highly recommended by Helen and rightly so. It was our last meal before heading back on the train to the Big Smoke, and a nice one to round off with.

Oh Edinburgh. I loved you the first time and I still do, after this time. I’ll definitely be back again another day, if only to eat that scotch egg again…

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14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Miss Edinburgh  |  August 27, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Your blog came up with the Edinburgh tag on wordpress, glad you had a good time in Edinburgh. You were lucky to have such a good experience of eteaket as normally the staff and service are not the best, but I think they took on extra staff for the summer time.

    Will have to try Cafe Fish for myself !!

    Reply
  • 2. Kang  |  August 28, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Lovely lovely shots, very atmospheric :) Are all of them from the same FM2 or a mix of XA shots as well? Regardless, I still like your limited edition blog posts, its always so evocative.

    I wanna read the cafe fish post on its own and experience the widly different tone, stylistically.

    Reply
  • 3. Helen Yuet Ling Pang  |  August 28, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    What fun you had! I loved the location of the farmers market, I remember thinking how sad I was that I couldn’t fit any more food in between a huge breakfast and upcoming lunch. Glad you liked The Grain Store, can’t wait to read about it!

    Reply
  • 4. Gourmet Chick  |  September 2, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Sounds like you had a great time and interesting to see we were there at the same time, ate at totally different places and both managed quite a bit of great food. I am keen to go back to explore more.

    Reply
  • 5. An American in London  |  September 8, 2009 at 10:59 am

    I agree – sunshine makes all the difference (it was pouring down rain when I visited Edinburgh in July 2007).

    Was the Crisp Hut truck still at the farmer’s market when you visited? I never turn down freshly-fried crisps and only wish such opportunities arose more often.

    Looking forward to hearing about Cafe Fish and the Grain Store.

    Reply
  • 6. chocolate + jasmine  |  September 12, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I lived in Edinburgh for several years and your post has reminded me just how much I miss it – even in the rain and cold! I’m long overdue another visit.

    Reply
  • 7. Hilsters  |  October 18, 2009 at 8:55 am

    A woman after my own heart….sounds like a perfect weekend as you did all the places in Edinburgh that I do on a regular basis…weekly usually! I was back at the farmers Market yesterday and found the perfect pork pie which I’ll be blogging today….if you’d visited broughton deli aswell you would have topped your weekend off nicely! Come back again soon and have lunch there and dinner at The Dogs and you’ll go home very happy!

    Reply
  • 8. Rachel  |  October 28, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I found your blog through london eater’s blog and I love it! Especially when I came across the bit you said you prefer east end to like, oxford circus I knew I would continue to follow your blog. the pictures are really great!!
    x

    Reply
  • 9. ...  |  April 1, 2010 at 12:55 am

    i came across your blog while trying to find good places for afternoon tea in hk, and when i browsing it more thoroughly i can say its AWESOME!!!! i live in hk and study in london, so its so helpful to a blog like yours which documents both cities so well!!! i noticed that you haven’t posted in a while, and i just wanted to say PLEASE CONTINUE!!!!!

    Reply
  • 10. Bolanka  |  April 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you. I liked your site very much. You have been telling about nice subjects…

    Reply
  • 11. Jessie  |  July 15, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Ha, I love that you got as excited as I did about the Scotch eggs – http://jessieandthegiantplate.com/blog1.php/the-unlikely-and-pleasant-surprise-of-a – but it’s a shame you didn’t get to go to Susie’s Wholefood Diner, one of my favourite restaurants of all time, which sadly closed down earlier this year.

    Just discovered your blog, lovely stuff, am enjoying making up for lost time.

    Reply
  • 12. S Lloyd  |  November 27, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Eteaket is a definitely my kind of place. I wish I could fly over there right now, to be honest.As for Tony’s, I am glad to see it featured in the Michelin Bib Gourmand 2010: I value this guide over the red guide to be frank (usually great value tables)

    Reply
  • 13. S Lloyd  |  November 27, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Sorry: just saw that Tony’s is closed since Aug

    Reply
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A freelance journalist and full-time gourmand, eating her way mostly through London and Hong Kong.

Current location: London


    supercharz

Charmaine currently digs: the smell of coffee; adding ponzu to everything; bill granger; still eating natto with every meal; caressing her Nikon FM2n.

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