A weekend in Edinburgh
I had a crush on Edinburgh the first time I visited this city, about 4 years ago. Since then, we have had the pleasure of coming back quite a few times as Damien’s sister is lucky enough to live there. We often come during the winter and always stroll in the super busy Christmas market for a warm cider or a Baileys hot chocolate. In the winter the city is icey cold, so we often end up going from one pub to an other and trying some of the many great eateries this city hosts. Last year for example, we got to enjoy a tasting menu at The Kitchin, a fantastic Michelin-star restaurant.
For the first time this summer, we discovered what Edinburgh looks like under the sun - what a gorgeous place. The city is always incredibly pretty regardless of the weather; any Harry Potter fan will appreciate feeling like you are in JK Rowling's best-seller (which, incidentally, she wrote there), as there is a true magical feel exuding from the cobblestone streets and the beautiful medieval buildings.
This time, we walked through the gorgeous meadow parks, through the city and all the way to Leith. We discovered the canals that we hadn’t seen before and which reminded us of Amsterdam (another fabulous city for a sunny getaway).
The evening we arrived, we had a gorgeous dinner in The Chop House, in the Brunstfield neighbourhood. With its high chairs and metallic decor, the place feels very casual but don’t be mistaken - it’s a steakhouse that has just forgotten to look pretentious.
There was a large group of us and we shared the Chateaubriand steak with all the trimmings. The sauces (peppercorn, blue cheese, gravy and chimichurri) were delicious and among the sides, the crunchy and slightly spicy green beans and the XXL onion rings were a hit.
I was less impressed by the mashed potato and the mac&cheese, but the dessert we all shared - a salted caramel fondue, served on this day with homemade marshmallows and ripe strawberries - finished the dinner on a high note.
On Saturday, we walked to the Pitt, a small outdoor food market in the Leith area. We tried many stalls, and got equally impressed the pizza from Wanderers Kneaded, the tasty pulled pork from barnacles & bones and the steak from Pitt Steak. Don’t miss the brownie with caramel fudge from the sweet stall, a proper treat.
A few weeks before our visit, Damien’s sister discovered a place called Six by Nico, a concept restaurant which offers a themed-tasting menu changing every month. She loved the Willy Wonka-themed one and the week we visited, we got to try their take on Mexican cuisine.
The 6 course tasting menu is priced £28, and it is worth every penny. For £25 extra, you can go for the wine pairing, which some of us went for and thoroughly enjoyed.
Among the creative plates we tried, the chicken thigh tacos (served with a strawberry salsa), the sweetcorn risotto with green chorizo and pickled red peppers stood out, but the sea bass with mussel escabeche, crab mole and orange got the whole group's seal of approval. The chocolate taco, with a rich tonka bean ganache, banana ice cream and caramel, made for a sweet ending to this tasty and very satisfying meal.
If like us, you enjoy a sunny weekend in Edinburgh, you can take a comfortable 40-minute train from Waverley station to North Berwick, a lovely seaside town. When you make it there, don't miss the fish & chips from The Lobster Shack (or its sister restaurant, The Rocketeer), probably the best we have had since Super Miss Sue closed down in Dublin (which we are still devastated about).
Edinburgh is an absolutely delightful place to visit for the weekend. And if you manage to understand their accent (which, if you are French, would be nothing short of a miracle), the people are very sweet and welcoming.