Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: a guide to the best in-venue eating

This article is from 2014

Week 3/Food & Drink/ Venue Food

Have a full-on foodie's festival with the help of Smoak, Valvona & Crolla, Nusou, Whydo and more

It’s not entirely true to say you can judge a Fringe venue by the quality of its food offerings, but many of the more culinarily discerning of those audience members in attendance will certainly form an opinion. You’ll certainly get an idea of what a venue is trying to be, though, for example the typically student-crowded exterior of Pleasance Courtyard, which offers bog-standard student-union food or a reasonably good greasy-spoon burger outside.

Across the city, though, good-quality temporary street food stalls abound, and without doubt the epicentre of such activity is George Square Gardens, the heart of Assembly’s operation in the area. Within the gardens, as well as the usual bars and performance areas, there are pizzas from So-la-ti-dough, pastas from Whydo, selected Mexican choices (cheesy nachos or a barbecued pulled pork burrito) from Betty Goes to Mexico, Thai options from Pad BKK and burgers and hot dogs at Scoop Street Kitchen.

As ever, Assembly have a good handle on things. Just outside the garden there are more street food options, including spiced wings and wraps at the Buffalo Food Truck, doughnuts and tea at Teadough and great quality German bratwursts from Edinburgh’s popular On the Roll. Whydo also have another indoor concession down the road at Assembly Checkpoint, serving up Artisan Roast coffee. In between both sites, Glasgow’s Smoak have a truck in the BBC area and Laughing Stock have a wide selection at Udderbelly.

Elsewhere, The List excitedly recommends the Whitmuir Food Truck at Summerhall, serving organic East Lothian produce including home-made lorne sausage burgers with beetroot and onion rings or salads topped with roast butternut squash or barbecued pork. Their cakes are great and they also have breakfast rolls, the sheer excellence of the place compensating for the venue’s relative lack of choice, although on-site gin still Pickering’s is also represented with an inventive bar menu.

Also a destination dining event in its own right is the small food alley alongside the Stand’s new tented venue in the heart of the city at St Andrew Square. Local big guns have been pulled out, with Edinburgh’s Italian café institution Valvona & Crolla: Good to Go, offering sausages, quiche, hot pies and Italian doughnuts (bomboloni or bombolini, depending on the size you opt for), and vegetarian restaurant Henderson’s serving up beanburgers and lentil falafels.

The same venue also has Thai noodles in broth from Nusou and a great choice of moules-frites, oysters and fish chowder at Love Fish. Along the road at the Mound plaza, the Scottish Café at the National Gallery has its own street food concession, a hut on the square called The Bothy, which does Inverurie beef meatball wraps and sticky Clash Farm pork belly buns, while the NoFitState Circus site in Fountainbridge has an outdoor café selling burgers and pizzas, and a beer tap from Edinburgh’s own Barney’s. Finally, for those who want to spend longer in the company of the city’s best food in street form, Street Food Sundays is on Castle Terrace every week in August between 11am--4pm, with Bakery Andante, Hugh Grierson Organic, Creelers, The Edinburgh Larder and Seriously Good Venison all serving up.