If you are like me, the thought of food sharing, such as tapas, fills you with dread because you cannot control the contamination without being a big fat party pooper.
The best way to approach your sharing experience here is actually not to share! My five gluten-loving fellow diners just piled into some delicious looking haggis pakora, an amazing twist on the Scotch Pie – filled with chicken tikka, curry with bread and a lovely tomato soaked bready salad. Although none of this was going to work for me and the restaurant noise levels made discussion hard, I still found there was a pretty good selection for the gluten-challenged diner.
I really loved the fusion of Scottish and eastern food and the humour and food presentation creates a fun and lively meal, while the cooking is superb. I had a succulent and deliciously chargrilled Vietnamese chicken with slaw (without the brioche bun, but who needs that?); some really great prawns with chilli; and I managed a sneaky scoop from the non-bread side of a shared fabulous potato and chickpea curry. I could also have had burgers, steak and a pretty wide range of vegetarian options too. So there is plenty on offer, so long as you keep it to yourself! My only negative was that the chips (which looked fantastic) are not gluten free. How difficult can that be?!
The puddings are where this place really gets into the fun and nostalgia. Ice cream floats using cream soda, Irn Bru or other fizzy drinks, come with a glass of ice cream, a can of “juice” and a little bag of retro sweets – all GF of course. This is a brilliant take on Scottish childhood! There are also pudding cocktails, each a take on a favourite sweet. The Tony’s (nae Terry’s) Chocolate Orange was a brilliant mix of overly sweet creaminess and was seriously indulgent.
Any decent restaurant during the festivals is going to be mobbed and the Grassmarket is one of the busiest night spots. But our meal was relaxed and we had the table all evening, so it worked, despite the party raging on the street outside.
My review should tell you that if a group of friends says “let’s go here!” you will be fine and will have a great meal. But sharing will always be a challenge because of contamination and I think plated food is easier and less stressful than the pile-in approach. Having said that, I just loved the humour and the quality of the food and for a fun night out with friends, I would certainly recommend it.