The Jolly Botanist, Edinburgh

OH and I were heading to Edinburgh to see Trainspotting Live at the EICC. Due to this we alighted at Haymarket (btw how many people see the sign ‘alight here for…” on a platform and read it as ‘alright’ instead?)

As we left the station the heavens opened and that damn Scottish ninja rain appeared from nowhere and made us dash into the first decent looking pub on our route. This just happened to be The Jolly Botanist on Morrison Street. As you can probably guess from it’s name it’s a gin palace so along with our menus for food we were given a gin menu, which was as thick as the current Yellow Pages.  As we got asked, maybe a little too quickly, what we would like to drink I panicked and plumped for a Hendricks and tonic. OH asked for a local ale.

The food menu was not huge – maybe a dozen items, 3 of which were vegetarian, which I prefer to an extensive menu as you know your food is going to be cooked to order. However, there was nothing jumping out at me as I either thought the dish was overpriced for something I could cook at home or it had a main ingredient I was not keen on. burgerI, therefore, decided on The Botanist Burger, which was beef, halloumi , smashed avocado and came with horseradish slaw and fries.

Yet again OH had not brought his glasses so he did what he usually does and just went with whatever special the waiter says out loud. This meant he went for the Jolly Pie of the Day, which wpieas chicken and leek (served with seasonal vegetables and hand cut chips).

Now, you might be able to see from the pics, but (like my fries) the pie came in one of those old fashioned, white with blue trim tin dishes. Like the ones your mum had to buy you if you were going on a camping trip with the guides because you needed an unbreakable plate. OH hates a filling with a pastry lid and always wants to pour the contents on to the plate rather than eating out of the dog’s dish. However, you will also notice the meals came on boards rather than plates. Hmm.

He soldiered on and liked what he had. He enjoyed the vegetables most of all, did not eat all his chips and left some of the pastry (which annoyed me because obviously that’s the best bit of a pie!)  If everything had been on a plate or if he had a beard, no socks and a waistcoat he would have enjoyed it a lot more.

My burger was great. The meat was thick, the roll did not collapse on me and the avocado worked well but the juices did run everywhere and made a mess of the leaf painted table. I liked the slaw too but the devil had sneaked into the kitchen and put celery in it. Now the fries. I loved the fries but the reason I loved them was that they came ready salted. I’ve been trying to reduce my salt intake as I have high blood pressure and since chips are rotten without salt I have been avoiding them. However, there was no avoiding these fries – they were hot, crispy, very salty and I ate the majority, much to my GPs probable disgust.

I have to mention the toilets. They were lovely, very clean and like something Drew Pritchard would have had a hand in. No – he wouldn’t have had his hand down the loo! He would have provided the wrought iron trestles the shallow, square sinks sat on, the piping for the plumbing on show and the industrial lights.  Someone had also hand painted the bottom of the toilets with a lovely blue leaf pattern.

On the way back from spending a penny I paid the bill, which came to £37.20 for the 2 mains and 2 drinks.

Incidentally, my gin was £6.50.

As soon as we left The Jolly Botanist it started to pour again so we ended up in Diane’s Pool Bar just a short distance up the street. Quite possible the exact opposite kind of place to our previous stop. OH bought the round. A gin and tonic and a pint. It was less than a fiver for both (therefore less than my 1 gin) and the pool table was only 20p. Obviously, we had to stay in there ’til the rain was well and truly off (5 games later).

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