Edinburgh Festivals 2014: a guide to the signature dining spots
Visiting the Fringe this August? Here are seven dining options with a unique sense of place
This article is from 2014.
The Scottish National Galleries of Modern Art sit across the road from each other in a tranquil part of town a stone’s skip away from the Water of Leith. In Modern One, a pretty garden is the backdrop to colourful salads and deli sandwiches, while across in Modern Two there’s fresh fish dishes and afternoon tea served beneath the watchful eye of Paolozzi’s Vulcan sculpture. Happily, both feature marvellous cakes.
High ceilings, gothic windows and worldclass portraiture set the scene for this topnotch café. A rolling seasonal menu means no day is ever the same, but it’s pretty sure to offer quality ingredients put together in exciting and delicious ways. Touring exhibitions combine with the permanent collection, so it’s worth a regular trip for a first-rate scone to accompany the art appreciation.
With its marble columns, mosaics and apsed south end, there can be few more architecturally elaborate places to eat than the former HQ of the Commercial Bank of Scotland. Saunter up the imposing steps, duck under the Corinthian portico, dodge past the ionic columns and enjoy a very reasonably priced pint at the circular bar.
The Tower is as much about the surroundings as it is about the food, with spectacular views of the castle combining with special-occasion dining seductively at any time of year. Good-value lunch menus, daily afternoon teas and the option to eat outside on the roof terrace in fine weather add to the experience.
Case notes and legislation literature pack the shelves of the Georgian Signet Library, where legal professionals, office workers and locals in the know flock to the Gran Caffè until 25 July for its bountiful choice of cakes. Thereafter, the pop-up Pommery Champagne Cafe Bar returns to the Signet Library in August, serving champagne afternoon teas, roast whole lobsters and an opportunity to spend time in one of Edinburgh’s architectural gems.
Café Milk at the Collective Gallery atop Calton Hill probably has claim to the finest views of any food and drink establishment in Edinburgh. OK, you may have to take your paper-cup flat white and home-made flapjack to the slatted garden furniture seat outside for the widest panorama, but on a good day there’s none to beat it.