Edinburgh pubs serving gluten free food are not so easy to find: there is a tendency towards chips and burgers which simply don’t work for those who are coeliac or gluten intolerant. However, with a bit of perseverance, they do exist – and the Cumberland Bar on Cumberland Street in the New Town is one!
I enjoyed a pre-Christmas lunch here with a friend and achieved two things: firstly, I visited a pub I had long wanted to go to, largely because I am such a fan of the Scotland Street books by Alexander McCall-Smith and the bar features regularly; and secondly, I am always on the search for good gluten free eating in the New Town, close to where I work.
The Cumberland Bar immediately draws you in, with its lovely door and wooden interiors – like a great classic pub. The service is really friendly and even just before Christmas, the menu had good options, including a daily soup and plenty of choice. The lady behind the bar checked with the chef for me, so I knew I was in good hands.
I chose a Caesar Salad (no croutons, obvs!) with chicken, which was delicious and light, with plenty of (essential) anchovies, a good creamy sauce and all presented well in a white bowl. The accompanying glass of wine was, of course, also gluten free. My gluten-eating friend had some fried halloumi and a side salad, which also looked lovely and fresh.
Other options include the soups and the burgers, which come with salad and coleslaw, are a definite attraction. While you would need to go bun-less, this is not a problem for me at lunchtime, so I was tempted by them as they look good.
It was a quick visit, so I cannot give you the full rundown of all gluten free options. However, I can tell that the Cumberland Bar knows what it is doing and has some good choices and for the summer, when it comes, there is a good sized garden. So if you are looking for a good quality, classic meal in a nice pub that features in Edinburgh’s literature, give it a go.