Each year Mr EF and I have one or two days at the Fringe – going to shows, exhibitions and soaking up the atmosphere. An essential element is lunch and that lunch has to be tasty, very tasty. Our two lunches were both delicious, it was the surroundings that were so different. So, do you crave stillness and quiet away from the crowds or do you favour a vibrant atmosphere with plenty of locals?
The Restaurant at Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Unbelievably there were only two tables occupied on Wednesday. Yes, we are members, but anyone can eat at the Restaurant. Located on Queen’s Street, it is a really short walk from George and Princes Street.
The set menu is £14.95 if you are a member or if you have room for 3 courses £18.95 (add 10% on to the prices if you’re not a member). It was one of those menus where all of the dishes sounded equally appealing. We decided upon Confit of Pork with candied apples and Sea Bass with Fennel and Champagne Sauce. Both were beautifully cooked, with subtle flavours.
The champagne sauce was made with a delicate, flavoursome stock, the sauce for the pork, rich and unctuous. For desert, in my opinion the best desert of the festival although Mr EF was less sure about the ice cream. Linzertorte made with plums rather than jam and szechuan pepper ice cream. I loved the way the spicy (think of chai tea) ice cream complemented the glorious almond and plum tart.
Our only caution, is not to choose this option if you are in a hurry, the food is delivered in a rather relaxed fashion, but it really, really well worth a visit.
Scotch Malt Whisky Society
28 Queen Street
The outside is grey and off putting but inside the restaurant is on two floors and is a light-filled room stuffed with tables and a mezzanine level. The clientele on our visit was very “Edinburgh”, parents with their grown up children, Fringe venue owners, people of a certain age enjoying a boozy lunch.
Mr EF had the warm pigeon salad with walnuts. Although he enjoyed the taste immensley, the pigeon could have done with a few minutes less cooking. I know there’s always a debate as to what a warm salad should served upon a hot or cold plate, this was cold.
I went for the Moules Frites (without the frites on this occasion). The mussels were plump, well cooked and served in a thick creamy sauce with pine nuts and onions. Heavenly. The mains cost around £7 and were excellent value.
The Outsider Restaurant
15 George IV Bridge
Which would you decide?
We thoroughly enjoyed the experience of both restaurants. Just choose the one that most suits your mood (and if it is still on the menu, you must try that amazing ice cream).