Teuchters Landing, Leith, Edinburgh

OH and I paid a visit to Go Outdoors in Edinburgh today. I know that surprises you because obviously I’m not really one for exercise or going outdoors for that matter but when I do, I do like to look the part. Anyway, after spending too much money on clothes just to pretend I’m fit we decided to go for a drink, which is far more my style. OH suggested Teuchters Landing and I was in full agreement. (btw there’s no apostrophe so don’t bother commenting on it).

When we went in OH went to the bar and I searched out a table through the back, finding one looking over the quay. OH soon joined me with a Bloody Mary and a bottle of non-alcoholic lager. The Bloody Mary was heavy on the Worcestershire sauce and had the biggest piece of celery in the world – I’ve definitely had better but I’m not complaining. We sat blethering for a while, watching others having food brought to them. Everything looked amazing. The menu is extensive and full of lovely sounding things like mugs of mac n cheese, risotto, mussels, sharing boards, fish n chips, brunch items….honestly I could go on and on so it’s fair to say there is something for everyone. We decided to get a sharing board and plumped for the fish one, which had smoked mackerel pate, hot smoked brown trout, Newhaven smoked salmon, soused Orkney herring and caper and chive tattie salad. When OH had ordered it at the bar he had returned with a glass of white wine, another non-alcohol lager and a bowl of bread and oatcakes.

It wasn’t long before the board arrived and it was wonderful.
As well as the fish it was scattered with gherkins, cherry tomatoes, lemon quarters and cress. The trout was thick and not dry, the salmon fresh and tasty, the pate was spot on and the highlight of the board was the herring, which was beautifully sweet and tangy. There was more than enough for us but we still managed to clear the board.

I forgot to take a pic so thanks to
gmorrs on tripadvisor for this pic.

The bar had a great atmosphere and there was an assortment of different people enjoying the varied menu. Families, couples, friends and dogs were all out on a horrible Sunday but having a lovely time nonetheless.

A Bloody Mary £7.00, 2 x non-alcoholic lager £7.80, a glass of wine £5.00 and a sharing board £12.50 = £32.30

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Starbank Inn, Newhaven, Edinburgh

OH wanted to go to Edinburgh today to buy some fishing and camping gear so after visits to Go Outdoors and the Edinburgh Angling Centre in Granton and spending a small fortune, we needed to find somewhere near by to eat that was not going to break the bank any further.

The Starbank Inn was only a short drive away and there was a parking place right outside the door so that’s where we ended up.

The inn is a Belhaven pub so had  a large 3 folded menu offering all the normal kind of bar food – burgers, fish n chips, pies, pasta etc. On the black board was Cullen Skink soup and Scallops.

I was betwixt and between and wasn’t sure whether to order soup and a sandwich or one of the pies. After ordering our drinks I decided on the IMAG9957Haggis and Potato Pie – Spicy haggis, layered with neeps and tatties, topped with Cheddar cheese and served with a creamy whisky sauce. When it arrived it was nothing to look at. The vegetables, carrots and courgettes, were bland and tasteless. The whisky sauce was creamy but I’m not sure it had even sat next to a bottle of whisky. When I first cut into the pie there was only potato and turnip with no haggis in sight. It turned out I had started in the wrong corner as the opposite corner was all haggis and no turnip. Unfortunately, rather than there being layers, there were lumps. However, after finding the spicy haggis the pie did get better and I loved the lid of baked cheese even though I did have to chisel it off the plate.

IMAG9956OH had decided on the Chicken Tikka Skewers – Served with tikka masala sauce on a bed of rice, with naan bread, tomato & red onion salad and a yoghurt & mint dressing. I asked him what his thoughts were and he replied – alright, average, middle of the road, could have done with more sauce and it filled a hole. Definitely not high praise. Mind you, he loved the Trade Winds ale that he had 2 pints of.

As usual when pubs have large menus with deals like 2 meals for £11 (not on a Saturday though) you know what you’re getting. Don’t get me wrong. There was nothing wrong with the food it just wasn’t anything special. However, service was special and everyone was friendly, chatty and helpful, which made the Starbank Inn very cheap and cheerful.

2 mains, 2 pints and a diet coke £27.43

 

 

 

The Fishmarket, Newhaven, Edinburgh

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During the week I saw on my Twitter feed someone raving about the new restaurant that had opened in Newhaven Harbour, The Fishmarket. (next to the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar in Edinburgh) I looked up the website  and had a look at their menu, which looked great. There was crab, lobster, langoustine as well as haddock, cod and lemon sole.   The main hook for me on the website was ‘From the Boat Straight to your Table’. What’s not to like?

I, therefore, suggested to OH that we could lunch there on Sunday. I felt it was prudent to phone ahead and book and I was glad I did as when I asked for a table at 1.30pm I was told I could either have 1.15 or 1.45.

We arrived promptly and were given a table in the window with a good view of the harbour. The restaurant was busy with family groups and other couples. There was also people sat at the bar who I am guessing maybe hadn’t phoned ahead.

The decor was clean with white tiles and contrasting dark green ones. The staff uniforms were nautical, white and blue striped tops so be pre-warned and don’t be like the woman who didn’t know and was sitting dining with friends and family but equally could have been clearing tables.

The menus were already on the table. However, a waitress walked past me holding heaped plates of mussels, which looked amazing but there was no mention of mussels on the menu. I looked around for a specials board but to no avail. When the waitress appeared to take our drinks order I asked about the mussels and was told the other table had phoned and requested them in advance. Oh. My first disappointment. A different waitress then appeared to tell us that the only draught lager, which had been recommended, had run out. Oh.

My next one was when a couple that came in after us but got their food order taken before us and received their food before us too. I realise all food is cooked to order but that was bad service and it was a full 40 minutes from entering the restaurant to getting our food.

As we waited, I noticed the two women sitting next to us orders arrived. One had fish and chips and the other 4 hand dived scallops, which all arrived on separate shells and took over the table. I checked the menu. The 4 scallops, each no bigger than a marshmallow, would cost her £24.

Anyway, I had decided on the lemon sole as I had realised on further scrutiny of the menu and checking other people’s plates that everything was deep-fried and I wanted something that wasn’t. OH knew before we got there that he was having dressed crab. So when the waitress eventually appeared we gave our food orders. Her first question to me was “do you want it battered or breaded?” Oh. Battered I replied disappointed. Her second question to OH was “do you want chips with that? It’s not that big.” OH agreed to have chips. My question is – If a waitress is suggesting you get chips with something why doesn’t it already come with chips?

The next disappointment was when OH’s dressed brown crab arrived with no shell in sight. It came on a plate in a circle with some sauce and chivIMAG9674es on top. As my mum pointed out when I told her, “it could have been tinned if there was no shell.” Saying that, OH did enjoy it but also said he was glad of the bread that came with it. OH also suggested that some side salad with some spring onions or strong herbs would have added to the dish. If OH is making serving suggestion then I know the dish is lacking.

IMAG9673My lemon sole was good. The texture, unlike haddock and cod that easily flakes, was mushy but it didn’t taste muddy as some bottom feeders can do. The chips were chip shop chips (there’s a take away chip shop attached to the restaurant, which is where the deep-fried dishes are cooked).

If getting shit-faced on Prosecco or Pinot Grigio is the acceptable face of afternoon drinking then The Fishmarket is the place for middle class people to go and eat unhealthy, deep-fried food without the same guilt.

Normally, I would have another glass of wine and OH would have a dessert but we decided we would just ask for the bill. When we got it, there was no drinks on it and the waitress had to ask what we had to drink.

Overall, the food was good. Fresh, tasty and very fishy (there was nothing on the menu that wasn’t fish) However, I had been expecting a classy seafood restaurant but instead I got a posh fish and chip shop so I won’t be needing to go back.

A pint, a small glass of wine, 2 mains = £38.80

Forage and Chatter, Edinburgh

I recently changed jobs and as a leaving present I was given a voucher for Forage and Chatter in the west end of Edinburgh. Therefore OH and I headed there yesterday to enjoy a spot of lunch on the hottest day of the year so far. Incidentally, when I phoned to book a table the restaurant was fully booked but they thought someone was going to cancel their booking so they took my number and phoned me back within 10 minutes to offer me a table at 1.45pm, which I thought was great and endeared me to the restaurant immediately.

We found the Forage and Chatter hidden down some stone steps at the end of Alva Street. Inside we were led to our table, which was basically out the back door of the restaurant in a covered over back yard. We were then given 4 menus – drinks, wine, table d’hôte and à la carte. The set menu was 2 courses for £14.95 and 3 for £17.95. Obviously, I opened the wine one first.

Not long after the wine arrived we were given two deep-fried dough balls along with some pesto and spiced butter.  Looking at the menus, I really wanted to order the Langoustine Bisque, mussels, leeks and fennel for starters but the restaurant was really hot as was I so the thought of soup became a no no. Instead I ordered Chicken liver parfait, prune, hazelnut and mushroom.

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The liver parfait was gamey tasting but not over powering.  The hazelnut was crushed over the top to give it a bit of a crunch but I felt it could do with another texture as overall everything was just too smooth.

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OH ordered Roasted Cauliflower, dates, capers and wild herbs.

He loved the date sauce and the chargrill flavour of the cauliflower.

For his main OH ordered Red Deer Loin, turnip, purple sprouting broccoli and mustard seed with a side of buttered new potatoes. IMAG9483OH really enjoyed his deer loin and felt the portion size was perfect, pointing out that as it was a strong meat he wouldn’t want to eat too much of it but it was enough to satisfy.

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I had North Sea cod, leeks, potatoes parsley and capers. I thought it was a bit on the salty side but I don’t know if I’m just noticing salt more nowadays due to trying to avoid it (yes i know I mention my low salt diet every blog – deal with it). The cod was lovely, big chunky flakes with a fabulous crisp edge.

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As is our norm nowadays, I stuck with the wine and OH had a dessert. Carrot cake, orange, pistachio, white chocolate, which visually looked more savoury than sweet but was well-balanced and a good end to the meal (the waitress brought me a spoon too). Although I didn’t try it all I can testify that the cake was light and spongy.

The restaurant has a quirky dining space with menus that make the most of local Scottish ingredients and I’m really glad my ex-colleagues made it possible for me to enjoy this hidden gem.

1 starter £8.50, 1 main £21.00, 1 side £3.50, 1 set lunch £17.95, 2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc £45 = £95.95. (Yes 2 bottles of wine. It was really hot and the wine was really cold and moreish)

Old Chain Pier, Newhaven, Edinburgh

Today OH and I decided to try the Old Chain Pier for a spot of lunch. The Old Chain Pier is possibly a pub you have driven past on numerous occasions but have never stopped at. It’s on the waterfront just along Lower Granton Road.

We didn’t have a reservation but the harrassed looking waitress managed to find us a table with a view of the water. The place was busy and I noticed it was child and dog friendly. Childen were allowed in the conservatory and the mezzanine level but it looks like dogs werre allowed anywhere.

Since the waitresses were run off their feet, I went and helped myself to menus. There was the usual type of pub grub but with a bit of a lean towards fish dishes. Fish and chips, Cullen Skink, fishcakes, mussels, crayfish and cod all got a mention. There was burgers, sharing platters, chili, stew and sausages but nothing really jumped out at me so I was thinking about having fish and chips again. There was two sizes to chose from – small at £8.95 or large at £11.95. Incidentally the fishcakes came in different size too – small was 1, medium 2 and 3 for the large helping.

As we made up our minds we ordered drinks. I had a mixed fruit cider and OH asked for a soda water and lime. When they arrived OH plumped for the Mexican 6oz Burger – chili beef, jalapenos, cheese, sour cream and guacomole at £10.95 . The waitress asked if he wanted chips with it – of co

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urse he did.

As you can see the burger looks great. However, OH found it to be a logistical nightmare. He couldn’t lift it whole and when he cut it in half the chili leaked out so it became messy. As you know, OH hates not getting a plate so the board annoyed him too. Saying all that, he really enjoyed it, even though he used his knife and fork throughout. He liked the mix of flavours and said it was a good, thick, meaty burger and chili wasn’t too hot, just spicy. The chip bucket seemed endless and he even left some as there were that many.

The description of my dish was (small) Beer Battered Angel Cut Welch’s Haddock with Mushy Peas, Tartare Sauce and Hand Cut Chips.

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I have to say the fish was fantastic (so much better than last weeks). The batter was crisp and lush, the fish was right out the fryer and was fresh, light, tasty and fell into large lovely flakes. The chips were good and the tartare sauce was okay but nothing special. Disappointingly, (again) the mushy peas weren’t mushy peas but mashed up garden peas. What’s happening? Is this a new trend? If it is I don’t like it – I want proper marrowfat mushy peas with my fish please!

Neither of us fancied a dessert so we just asked for the bill, which never appeared so I went up to the bar to pay the bill. This was when I realised that the chips were an extra £3.50. This annoyed me, not because of the cost but because I felt conned. Come on, burgers should come with chips. Obviously, I have since checked the menu and the burger descriptions don’t mention chips and it does say to add a side but still……

If you have driven past The Old Chain Pier before and never ventured in I’d recommend stopping for a change.

2 mains, a side of chips, a bottle of flavoured cider and a soda water and lime – £29.15

The Roxburghe Hotel, Edinburgh

OH and I decided to pop through to Edinburgh and enjoy an afternoon tea at the Roxburghe Hotel. I know what you’re thinking – you wait ages for a blog about afternoon tea and then suddenly two come along. Personally, I think OH was just a tiny bit jealous of Lusa and I’s fabulous afternoon at the Roman Camp so was more than happy to sip tea of an afternoon rather than our usual cocktail crawl along George Street.

When we first arrived at the Charlotte Square hotel we were ushered along to the Samovar Lounge by the efficient door man. The room was lovely and decorated to a high standard. Unfortunately, there were no window seats available so we were seated next to a thoroughfare. imag5129Yes, you read that right. It turned out that the lounge sits between the entrance and the rest of the hotel so people that were staying in the hotel walked through the lounge to get to their rooms or to go out…and it was a busy hotel.   Although it gave us something to talk about I would much have rather had a more private dining experience.  You’ll notice from the pic that the fire wasn’t lit either.

The first thing to arrive was the amuse-bouche or mouth amuser, which isn’t on the menu but a freebie from the chef to give a hint to his style. It turned out to be home made lemonade served in little screw top jars with handles. Cute. We were also asked what kind of tea we would like. I opted for traditional black breakfast tea and OH, who isn’t a fan of strong tea, decided on rosy white fig tea. There was also a little timer on the table to ensure that you don’t let your tea stew for too long.   imag5131

Then the little plates of nibbly things arrived. On the savoury plate there was a smoked salmon and cream cheese blini; coronation chicken tart; smoked ham, dill pickle and piccalilli Provençale roll and an egg mayo and cucumber brioche roll.  Another plate had plain and fruit scones with clotted cream and strawberries with little jars of strawberry jam. The middle plate held fresh strawberry tart; baklava; chocolate opera cake and mini meringue with lemon cream.

As ever, my favourites were the little rolls. I could eat several plates of them without coming up for air. OH loved the scones with clotted cream and managed to eat both of his. Incidentally, the clotted cream had grapes and strawberries in it and came in a little flower pot with a pansy on the top. Cute too. OH also rated his pot of tea highly. The baklava was quite greasy and I could feel the calories coat my lips. The strawberry tart was yum and although I left my 2nd scone I cleared up the rest quite easily. Although also quite messily. Why don’t you get tongs and little dessert forks for afternoon tea? I left my napkin in a disgusting state.

Overall, the food was great, the service good and if I hadn’t of had an exceptional afternoon tea experience a couple of weeks ago it would get a high rating. However, a visit to the toilet brought the afternoon tea to a disappointing end. The 4 star hotel had 1 star loos. First of all it was a trek to get to them, down stairs along a corridor and then into another one. Then the smell hit me. When I went in I found there was only two toilets and one was out of the order (hence the smell?). The other had no lock on it and it was a busy place. One lady was already waiting and having to stand guard for her mum. The décor wasn’t great either and considering how lovely the rest of the hotel is I was surprised at the lack of the attention there was to the Ladies.

Afternoon tea for 2 – £38.

 

Bridge Inn, Ratho

 

OH and I had arranged to pick my brother and his wife up from Edinburgh Airport on Friday night so instead of hanging around at home waiting for the clock to edge ever forward we decided to head to Edinburgh to get something to eat. I did a quick google on restaurants near Edinburgh Airport and the Bridge Inn in Ratho jumped out as somewhere close, different and exactly what we were looking for.

Finding the Inn wasn’t difficult as it is right on the Union Canal and the only place that jumps out at you in Ratho.

The menu was large and highlighted they must be one of the only pub restaurant in Scotland to employ a full-time gardener, working in their walled garden further up the canal towpath. They also have their own pigs, chickens and ducks – a reason to return for their breakfast menu. During the shooting season they obviously have a word with their local game keeper too.  All these good things added up to various offerings on the menu such as their own sausages, venison, duck and a roast vegetable and puy wellington. With that in mind, I was boring and went for Haddock and chips, from Scottish day boats, lemon, chunky chips, mushy peas. 2016-03-11 19.13.58There was a choice of small or large so I sensibly (with hindsight) went small. OH plumped for the Roast duck breast, pak choi, tomato bulgar, baby courgette honey glaze, jus.

My fish was excellent. The batter spot on, light crisp and not greasy. The mushy peas came in a separate jar in case you’re  the fussy sort (like some people I know – yes I’m looking at you Claire) and don’t like their foodstuffs touching.  I was also given some tartare sauce, which was homemade and I loved.

2016-03-11 19.13.24OH raved about his duck, which was done to perfection. It wasn’t the slightest bit chewy and the perfect shade of pink. He wasn’t so sure about the tomato bulgar and would probably have preferred some roast potatoes but that’s only a slight thing.

As I had went small earlier I had room for a dessert, which when I looked at the menu quickly became cheese. AND (I’m blaming the menu here) because the list of dessert wines and ports were also shown, I decided to be decadent and have a glass of port with it too.

OH chose the Frangipani sponge, vanilla pear, blackberry gel, roast almonds. I didn’t taste it but it looked lovely and OH cleared the plate. 2016-03-11 19.48.54My cheese came with a variety of biscuits, some celery, grapes and a fabulous homemade chutney. I’m guessing here but I think there was grapes and cherries, which had been soaked in booze before being added to the onions. It was lush!  As was the accompanying port.2016-03-11 19.49.02

OH finished his meal with an double espresso (remember he still had to drive to the airport) and I finished my second glass of red.

The service was fantastic – waitresses and waiters alike were friendly, welcoming and helpful.

The bill came to £56.00 (2 mains, 2 desserts, lots of drinks).

The area the Bridge Inn is in looked lovely in the dark and OH and I have decided to return in the summer to check out their decking area, which looks over the canal. This restaurant is off the beaten path but definitely worth a visit – especially if you are picking up someone from the airport.

4 hotels and a holiday

As you may have noticed I have been on holiday for the last fortnight. If you haven’t, you really need to go back and read about Me, my mum and Amsterdam to catch up ;p

Over the last couple of weeks I have managed to check into 4 different hotels. This isn’t my norm – I usually book a self-catering apartment for the duration but as I spent my first week with my mum, my second with OH and the weekend in the middle with both of them, my brother and his wife, it just kind of happened that I became a hotel bed hopper.

I view myself as pretty easy pleased. I don’t need fancy stuff to keep me happy or so I thought. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long to turn me into a hotel room snob. Previously, I’d have maintained, a hotel room is solely a place to sleep in between wining and dining. That was was no longer true! I was running around like a demented sniffer dog, checking out if there was hand lotion, a sachet of hot chocolate, a complimentary biscuit and a mini-bar. If there was a free sewing kit I was ecstatic.

On one occasion it was “hurrah” there’s free biscuits – swiftly followed by “lemon f’ing curd biscuits?!?” On another it was “I can’t believe there’s no mini-bar!” This is highly telling of my new found hotel room pretentiousness as, of course, I’d never purchase anything from a mini-bar anyway. I’m far more inclined to smuggle in a packet of jelly beans, a tube of Pringles or a bottle of wine (I say inclined, I mean always) rather than paying something silly like €2.50 for a Mars Bar. By the way, who does pay that for a Mars Bar?? I mean, I totally get that someone might in Amsterdam but no stoner with the munchies is going to be staying in a hotel with a mini-bar…see told you I was utterly pompous.

So, I was in 4 hotels and they were the NH Amsterdam Schiller, the Malmaison Edinburgh, a big old country house in Co Durham and Aldwark Manor Golf and Spa Hotel near York.

You may wonder what one was the best but really they all had their own idiosyncrasies. The hotel in Amsterdam had all the toiletries (and a free toothbrush from reception because like a total twat I had forgotten mine). It was original Art Deco and it’s bonus ball was Tom Jones live in the brasserie (if you don’t already know this you didn’t click on the link above – go back! ;)).

The Malmaison lost points due to the lemon curd biscuits but it did have a lovely large room and the Rangers squad staying overnight prior to the Hibs match. I like to think my loud snoring kept them up all night and my intimidating chat in the lift with the RFC suit lead to Hibs beating their asses 2-1 the following day. This stay also followed on from an eating experience at The Kitchin where I was able to watch Tom Kitchin in the kitchen so, as you’d expect, most things fall into insignificance after that and sadly, the Mal’s breakfast did just that.

The hotel in Co Durham’s jacuzzi wasn’t working but it’s redeeming feature was Scarlett from Gogglebox was in the pool when OH and I tried to lose some wine pounds in the spa. She’s a lovely girl and even though OH had a million questions for her (thankfully he only asked about 100) she was adorable and chatted away with a genuineness that made her even more appealing that she already is. As soon as I got back to the room I messaged Mini-me to let her know who I’d been swimming with. She was extremely impressed (she didn’t rate Tom Jones and was only mildly amused by the Rangers squad) She immediately asked if I told her she was my favourite (because she is – closely followed by Gyles). I admitted I hadn’t because I didn’t want to be gushy or impose on her. However, OH did and her stories in the sauna of Jonathon Ross’s Halloween party were great.

Finally, the hotel near York, as well as the toiletries, huge bedroom and working jacuzzi also had a golf course. Fortunately, the kind chap in the golf shop let me borrow a golf bag he brought in specially from home for me. Due to golf etiquette I wasn’t allowed to share one (and I thought I was posh). This enabled OH and I to have a round of golf. Well, it enabled us to start a round of golf…turns out my brand new pair of golf shoes started to rub around the 2nd…by the 6th I couldn’t bare to walk any further and I made poor OH take me back to the 19th hole.

So to summarise – it doesn’t matter if you have hand lotion, a shower cap or a lemon curd biscuit in your room. What really makes a holiday is the people you meet on it and we met quite a few special people. What was even better was being able to spend some real quality time with my family, which can’t be beat.

Incidentally, on the way home we decided to take a detour and visit Staithes – a small, picturesque coastal village in North Yorkshire. I didn’t know before we got there that Old Jack’s Boat was filmed there (for those of you that aren’t grandparents it’s a kids program with Bernard Cribbins in it) OH took a pic of me there claiming it was yet another star spot… Staithes

For more pics of my holiday you can check them out on instagram here 😉

The Edinburgh Fringe – Darren Walsh

The Edinburgh Festival is the world’s biggest arts festival where thousands of artists from all over the world perform on hundreds of stages across Edinburgh. OH and I always try to have at least one day in Edinburgh during the Festival as I love the free shows, which highlight new comedians and musicians.  I always keep an eye out on Twitter for recommpunderboltendations as I have discovered some wonderful acts this way. This year, prior to the Fringe, I had been bantering with a comedian on Twitter. Well, I say bantering, I think what I actually done was bully him into giving me a free ticket for his show, which is on most evenings at the Pleasance Courtyard at 8.30pm. Darren Walsh – Punderbolt (£9). Therefore, this year that became my focus and everything else had to fit around it.

OH and I set off nice and early to the train station and waited patiently for the train to arrive. We both had that sinking feeling as the train drew up next to the platform as we could see it was already packed. With standing room only we pushed ourselves on to the train and leaned against an out-of-order toilet for the hour-long journey. Normally the train ride up the Fife coast and over the Forth Rail Bridge is one of the most scenic and interesting rail routes to be had but today it was difficult to enjoy as, like animals being transported, we were penned in with all notion of maintaining personal space forgotten.

We spilled out on to the platform at Waverley glad to be out of the claustrophobic carriages. From there it obviously didn’t take us long to find out first pub.

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Matt in the Tron

2015-08-15 12.47.44As the day wore on we manged to see a few street performers and free acts, Freddy Quine and Benji Waterstones were 2 that stood out. Music in the Tron was also a hit and it was really interesting watching artist Louise Giblin make a plaster cast of a hand.  The bronze torso of Dame Kelly Holmes she has sculpted and is on show at Urbane Art Gallery is a must see!

35 Louise Giblin Olympian Series IV Dame Kelly Holmes Cold Cast Brass 1MB

Bronze torso of Dame Kelly Holmes

Deciding we should add some food to our diet of cider and ale, OH and I started to argue about where we could eat. I wanted somewhere to sit down whilst OH preferred something from a stall. We then both had the idea of going to The Potting Shed. Unfortunately it was fully booked all evening, which although was disappointing is a good sign so it is still on the list. We then decided to go to Usher’s just round the corner. Although we hadn’t ate there before, it’s a favourite of ours for Craft Beers. We went in, ordered our drinks and sat down and perused the menu. Having made our decisions I ordered at the bar and sat back down. As we had both nearly finished our drinks and there was still no sign of our food I went up to the bar to query it. The barman said he’d check. He returned and asked if it was 2 burgers we had ordered. Nope, lamb curry and chicken with noodles. Oh. Who did you order from? I told him. His face said it all. He left and came back and said the chef hadn’t received the order but if we wanted to wait he would make it as there was no other food orders in. We told him to forget it, annoyed at the poor service. The barman then looked at our drinks and asked us what we had been drinking. I thought he was going to buy us a free round but no, he was asking if we had already paid for our drinks. Even more annoyed and now very hungry, we left Usher’s, which is no longer on the list.

After that OH got a hog roast roll (£4.50) from a stall and I sat at a picnic table in the Pleasance Gardens and ate Pad Thai (£6).   2015-08-15 18.39.47Both filled a hole. Enough said.

Shortly after that we headed to the Pleasance Courtyard and picked up the tickets for Darren Walsh. The courtyard was buzzing and within 5 minutes of arriving we saw John Hannah, Hal Cruttenden and Carl Donnelly (go on, google them then).

The queue to see Punderbolt was a good laugh as we chatted to others also waiting for the show. It was funnier than some of the shows we had seen earlier! Eventually the doors opened and in we went. The show was puntastic! Darren obviously has a quick wit and had put a lot of effort into the show – preparing photographs, drawing pics, making videos and recording voices.  There were visual jokes, audience participation and obviously, puns galore. OH and I laughed (and groaned) from start to finish. One example was when he gave a large photo of an elevator to a woman in the front row because he thought she could do with a lift.  OH said it was the best show of the day and he’s hard to please when it comes to comedy.

If plays on words and puns are your thing, then Darren is your man. Be sure to check him out if you’re at the Fringe or if you see him advertised elsewhere for that matter.

Obviously we couldn’t end on a high…the train on the way home was just as packed so, yet again, it was standing room only. It’s a pity that the train operators can’t get their acts together for the month of August. It’s not like they’re taken by surprise with the festival now being in its 68th year.

Villager Bar and Juniper, Edinburgh

Continued from Edinburgh Craft Beer Crawl

So if you’re a regular here you will know that I last left you in the The Potting Shed in Edinburgh full of craft beer…

…from there OH and I headed down past the Scottish Museum with the intention of heading towards George Street. However, we saw that the Villager Bar had comfy couches and cocktails and so decided to pop in.  There was a Cocktail of the Week so not one for reading menus, OH pointed at the sign and in his best Andy (from Little Britain) accent he said, “I want that one.” Miss Hoitytoity-Snootypants barmaid looked at him as if he was a bit soft, raised an eyebrow and enunciated perfectly, “Pardon?” He pointed again. “One of those.”

With a sniff that raised her nose even higher, she looked at me and asked if it was two. I said I was still deciding and continued to absorb the list of concoctions in front of me . She toddled off to start mixing.

After scouring the menu and eventually deciding I needed a gin based cocktail with something a bit different to it, I raised my head to find a different barmaid standing in front of me.  She asked if I had decided and I smiled and said I had but pointed to the other barmaid to say that she was serving us. This caused the two barmaids to have a pow-wow, which resulted in Miss Hoitytoity-Snootypants coming straight over. She looked a bit put-out but that just may be her normal look. She said something along the lines of ‘I’m not making one for you’. I apologised and said that I’d thought she was mixing OH’s one. She confirmed that indeed she was but not one for me. I told her I knew that because I wanted a Summer Number Ten ( tantalising, tarty and sunny mix of portobello road gin, st germain elderflower liqueur, rhubarb bitters, physalis and lemon, served straight up – £7.50) I’m thinking they use her look to sour drinks and don’t bother using lemon at all. She walked off as if she were wearing wooden knickers.

I decided to leave the bar at this point as I knew I was allowing myself to be irritated by the young madam and I didn’t want my day spoilt.  I therefore went through to where the comfy couches were and sat down. Soon OH joined me with both of our cocktails. It wasn’t long before Miss Hoitytoity-Snootypants came through and explained that as we weren’t eating we may have to move as they might need the table for diners. I told her that wasn’t a problem. She was very polite. 2015-05-16 17.05.51

It was minutes later when she came back smiling sweetly and asked us to move as she needed to set the table up. We lifted our glasses and smiling just as sweetly, went back through to the bar. I say smiling, it may have been a grimace.

Letting OH look after our drinks, I disappeared downstairs to the toilets. There were signs on the doors already apologising for the temporary state of them. I went in to find capped pipes sticking up through the flooring, mirrors balanced against walls and red painted hardboard surrounding one toilet. I could see where walls had been as I made my way towards the makeshift cubicle. It had only been a short while since I had been in a bar made to look like a potting shed. Now I was going to a loo actually in a shed.

Back upstairs, OH and I drained our drinks and left. £15 for 2 drinks and a very unhappy experience. I’m sure on another day, with a different barmaid, we would have had a lovely time but Miss Hoitytoity-Snootypants, whether deliberately or not, made me decide I won’t be back.

As we walked down the hill. the clouds were getting darker and we decided, if we didn’t want caught in the rain, that we should maybe find somewhere sooner than George Street. We headed down the News Steps and soon found ourselves in Juniper, a cocktail bar upstairs on Princes Street next to the restaurant Twenty. The trendy (and expensive) bar was full of dressed up women enjoying cocktails and having a laugh. It took a while to get a table but eventually OH and I were able to sit, looking over the fantastic scenery of Edinburgh, and sip a cocktail without a look of disdain in sight.  2015-05-16 17.59.49With hindsight, I should have taken all my empty cocktail glasses from Juniper’s back to the Village Bar, held them up and said, “Big mistake. Big. Huge!”