Restaurant reviews: The best Edinburgh Festival eateries
Fancy a festival bite but time is tight? Grub guru Jonathan Trew lists the victualers near the venues
HOTEL DU VIN
11 Bristo Place
Tel: 0131-247 4900
Housed in what was once an asylum, the bistro at Hotel du Vin is an elegant spot for lunch or dinner. Brasserie classics served in generous portions are the name of the game. The menu changes regularly but typical choices might be the tremendous steak tartare; duck confit with Puy lentils and lemon sole Meunière. The house burger is a thing of beauty.
The decor in the bistro is wine-themed and, while the restaurant is by no means a silent temple to gastronomy, it always feels pleasantly calm after the seething madness which is Bristo Square in August.
As the name suggests, the wine list is worth delving into and, if the sun is shining, the Veuve Cliquot courtyard is a pleasant spot for some bubbles. You can have a two course lunch from a tenner. Around £30 a head for dinner. Much, much more if you really explore the wine list.
- One of the classier options in the Bristo Square area
113-117 Lothian Road
Tel: 0131-622 7499
Fajitas, quesadillas, tacos and wings number among the solid supporting cast at Jack’s but the chunky burritos are the true stars of the show. Loaded with freshly cooked steak, chicken, pulled pork, haggis or veggies, they come tightly rolled and ready to be man-handled straight into your gob – only wimps resort to a knife and fork.
A bright and breezy joint, Jack’s
operates as a takeaway or as a fast casual restaurant where your food is prepared on the counter right in front of you before you haul it back to your table.
Masochists attempt the Krueger – about three foot of burrito filled with everything. Apparently, around 60 people have ordered it and eight blokes and one woman have managed to finish the beast off. Burritos start at £6.95.
- Fast-paced, fun and young
7 Nicolson Square
Tel: 0131-667 5214
The service is friendly, but can be chaotic; basic surroundings and they don’t serve alcohol but the fantastic, home-style curries more than make up for it. For over 30 years, Kebab Mahal has been feeding students, late-night revellers and worshippers from the nearby mosque.
As well as being ideally placed for the Bristo/George Square hub, all day opening hours mean Kebab Mahal can accommodate the unusual meal schedules which the Fringe can inflict on culture vultures. Perfect for tight budgets, with no mains over £8 and many under a fiver. At peak times, the queue is out the door, tricky if you’re grabbing a quick bite between shows. However, time it right and you’re in for a spicy treat.
- Cheap, cheerful and open late at weekends
14 South St Andrew Street Tel: 0131-557 3737
Chinese mates reckon that this joint is about as authentic as Asian food gets in Edinburgh and I am not going to disagree. I can’t vouch for the buffet but the dim sum are delicious.
Rather than having staff note down your order, diners tick the dishes they want on a form which is carried off to the kitchen. Quarter of an hour or so later, a procession of bamboo steamers filled with gorgeous dumplings arrive.
Personal recommendations include the prawn and chive har gow in their wobbly, translucent wrappers; the pork siu mai and the deep-fried spring rolls. The congee, or rice porridge, flavoured with salty pork and thousand year eggs is a great, late breakfast after a heavy night. £20 a head, tops.
- Popular and bustling Asian
22-26 South Clerk Street
Tel: 0131-662 8926
This veteran Southside drinker has been given a new lease of life since being taken over by Fuller Thomson, the people behind Holyrood 9a.
Hearty fried breakfasts; healthy spinach omelettes and meaty salads dot the menu but pride of place goes to the 20-strong selection of burgers which start at £6.95.
You could go fancy and order an Italian (topped with mozzarella, sunblush tomatoes and basil pesto) or go for the Southern BBQ burger, topped with smoky bacon, BBQ sauce and chilli cheese – a combo which we feel would have pleased the grease-stained patrons who used to drink here when it was a bikers’ bar.
A wide selection of ales, many of them from Scottish craft brewers, completes the picture.
- Cold beer and hot burgers. What more could you ask for?
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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