After agreeing last Saturday to start a review of Edinburgh’s eateries from a veggie perspective, it was time to get out the notepad and put my money, or in this case veggie food, where my mouth is. So, when my partner Phil said he was coming into town for lunch this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get my quest underway. For those who are wondering I have been vegetarian for as long as I can remember. There are not many folk who are brought up veggie from day one, but I’m one of them and hopefully this qualifies me to some extent to comment on what’s hot and what’s not in the world of meat free dining. Don’t worry though I’m not a fussy eater, I like good sized portions of most things just without the meat or fish. Might I also add that Phil is not vegetarian so you can expect my quests to be about reviewing Edinburgh’s veggie hangouts, but also about finding great places that offer both meat and non meat eaters alike a great experience.

For my first lunch quest I decided to head to the Filmhouse Café Bar. I’m told the building started life as a church until it was transformed into a cultural cinema in 1979 – quite fitting seeing as this was the year I was born. Since its inception Filmhouse has played host to the Edinburgh International Film Festival and is a hub for the city’s movie buffs.

As I wandered up Lothian Road I was eager for my first quest to go well, perhaps there might even be some stars of the screen around today, you never know! Anyhow Phil soon joined me and we headed through to the café. Food orders are taken at the counter where all the daily dishes are displayed along the back wall. I was pleasantly surprised with how many veggie options there were and clearly some thought had gone into what was on offer. In fact we had to scour the menu to find something that wasn’t vegetarian. Yes there was the typical vegetable lasagne, but also a range of more interesting dishes and I noticed that eight out of the 11 baked potato fillings on offer were completely vegetarian (points scored already!) After weighing it all up we opted for two of the main dishes. I chose the ‘Stilton, nut and spinach nuggets’, and Phil showed his solidarity on this occasion going for the ‘Chickpea and coconut curry’.

After our orders were eventually taken at the not particularly efficient counter we retreated to a cosy corner. There were certainly a good amount of tables and we soon settled in with a cross section of people whiling away a few hours. There were interesting photos from Africa dotted about the walls which I spent a bit of time perusing. Just as well really as the food took, in my opinion, too long to come and when your allocated lunch hour is ticking away minute by minute this can be quite aggravating. When our dishes did arrive they were well presented wholesome looking plates. My Stilton, nut and spinach nuggets came with a decent side salad and mayonnaise dip.

Phil’s curry came with cracked wheat, naan bread and a yoghurt drizzle.

I have to say I really enjoyed my food. It is always refreshing to get something you wouldn’t make at home and Filmhouse didn’t disappoint in this respect. Phil on the other hand was less impressed but you have to remember curry for him means hot hot hot with extra chillies. Whilst I could see his point about flavour I thought it was very pleasant for a lunchtime offering. We followed up with a shared slice of carrot cake and an earl grey tea for me. I enjoyed the couple of mouthfuls of cake that I did manage to steel away from Phil who essential inhaled the rest. I should have learnt this by now!

Overall Filmhouse café, with its arty international vibe, makes a really nice change from the standard eateries in this part of town. I was very taken with the relaxed atmosphere and could see myself coming back for a leisurely afternoon, but it’s not somewhere to come if you are in a hurry. Given it’s kudos and central location I was also expecting to pay more for our lunch, so at just over £10 each this seemed very reasonable. Finally, in terms of its vegetarian credentials I would have to give this place the thumbs up for making an effort to offer a variety of dishes. The food is well rounded and I would be pleased to return with more time to kick back whilst tucking into one of those superb looking baked potatoes.


Phil scores Filmhouse café
3/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
3/5 for service
Giving an overall score of 13/20

Sandra scores Filmhouse café
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
2/5 for service
Giving an overall score of 13/20

Today’s Lunch Questers were: Phil, Sandra

We wore: Canada Roots t-shirt, black and white polka dot top

We ate: Stilton, nut and spinach nuggets, chickpea and coconut curry, carrot cake

We drank: Diet coke, earl grey tea

Total Bill: £21

Filmhouse on Urbanspoon

Written by TheDudley