My basal ganglia has been very active during lockdown.
Apparently, it’s the part of the brain that processes reward.
At the moment, this cranial Cookie Monster very much enjoys obscenely naughty junk food - the comforting stuff that pads my saddlebags, makes my thighs chafe and plumps up feelings of wellbeing, like a weighted blanket for the mind.
Dopamine and endorphins are my pals.
You can either get them through having an ice-cold shower, lying on a shakti mat in agony, or eating lard, and the latter is the most pleasant experience.
I’m pretty sure everyone is feeling the same.
I haven’t seen a green smoothie or chia seed on Instagram for weeks.
This place is definitely your go-to for one of those cravings.
Owned by one man band, Rob Casson, “CEO of stupid sandwiches” they’ve been around for a while, doing pop-ups at Good Brothers Wine Bar in Stockbridge.
You can order online, or they do a small amount of walk-ins.
The menu is ever changing, and you might visit them on a weekend when it’s not fried chicken, but a sandwich filled with pie, egg and chips. (Seriously).
My basal ganglia was so excited that I could feel it jiggling around in my skull.
Book through the website and collect at your allocated time from their corner location, where Rob is face-masked up, and a Perspex barrier hangs in the doorway.
He serves somebody every 15 minutes, so I could spy inside and watch him assembling my lunch, all on his ownio in this end-of-days-empty restaurant.
We ate our sandwiches in the car, since we didn’t want to drive home while feeling their warmth slowly ebbing, like Watership Down rabbits.
The Truffled Buffalo (£8) features a soft sesame bun, “tossed in fried buffalo sauce”, and there were dill pickles and a pickle mayo. It was compulsive eating mainly because of the contrast of salty fried chicken with the tangy and acidic mayo. I will never be able to think about it without my mouth watering.
It wakes those salivary glands up more than thinking about lime-flavoured Starburst.
Our other option was The Ultimate Warrior (£8), and my chauffeur had to practically dislocate his jaw, like a boa constrictor, to eat it. There was a huge wad of russet fried chicken, a splurge of bright orange nacho cheese, a handful of Frazzles, pickled chillies, dill pickles and hot sauce.
It’s the sort of thing you’d usually only eat when getting in from a boozy night out, and here we were, unashamedly in the daylight, with cheese and mayo on our chins, hoping that nobody we know would knock on the window to say hi. I could see a couple of faces looking out at us from their flat windows, along Montague Street. I wondered what they thought of us, yet I also didn’t care.
We’d also ordered a couple of sides. Trash fries (£7) were plastered in more of that nacho cheese. This time it was coating a disc of onion, and there was also “hot dog onions”, cheddar, and mayo in this dirty megamix.
We hadn’t known what to expect when we’d ordered the pimento cheese and sorghum crackers (£7). There were two boxes, one containing eight paprika dusted crackers, and the other with a load of scoopable pink squelch, which was made from a blend of cheese, mayo and chilli.
Our token healthy offering was the butterhead salad (£6). Without a human sacrifice, it was too late to appease the Gods of Health, but we tried, with bouncy lettuce that was topped by a basil-y and lemony green goddess dressing, radish petals, and “granola”, otherwise known as sunflower seeds.
We felt extreme shame at that delicious lunch, but as part of a balanced diet (ahem), I’m sure it’s totally fine.
The Cookie Monster would call it brain food.
Two Kings Sandwich Bar
The High Dive
81/85 St Leonard’s Street
(0131 667 4867, www.twokingssandwichbar.co.uk)
Lunch for two, excluding drinks, £36
Places to try Nearby
Moo Pie Gelato
You usually find this lot at The Pitt in Leith, in normal times, though they also have this shop for takeaway. It offers their soft serve gelato, desserts, coffee and small batch gelato. We’ve taken a fancy to the caramelised white chocolate soft serve and cookie sandwich, the cinnamon toast or orange, cherry and amaretto soft serve. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11-6pm.
26 St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh (0131 241 8233, www.moopiegelato.co.uk)
Incredibly, this restaurant has been here for 21 years. It’s temporarily closed, but, when they re-open, you can choose dishes such as grilled trout fillet with lemon and dill couscous and jalapeno creme fraiche and flourless chocolate cake with caramel sauce and whipped cream.
71-75 St Leonard’s Street, Edinburgh (0131 338 2917, www.blonderestaurant.co.uk)
This new business has just moved into Aizle’s old premises. They’re currently doing delivery and takeaway of their movie-themed burgers, and will eventually open to accommodate sit in diners and drinkers.
107-109 St Leonard’s Street, Edinburgh (www.luxfords.co)