I wandered out of the office, today, thinking that a quick soup and sandwich stop was the order of the day, but decided to modify that and have a leisurely soup and wrap at the Arcade Haggis and Whisky House (to give it its full title) on Cockburn Street, instead.

I’ve heard good things about this place, particularly in terms of its haggis. They have a dish called “Princess Diana style haggis” (I’ll resist the impulse towards tasteless humour) which probably reflects that the place is a bit tourist-trap-tastic. At the same time, though, it has the feel of a smart local pub hideaway. With quirky top-hat lampshades and a brace of spaniels that greeted my arrival like that of a long lost meal, it’s a curiously attractive mix of a place.

Interior (spot the top-hats)

They keep it simple at lunchtime, with just a small selection of wraps, to which you can add a cup of their soup of the day. Their full menu is served from mid-afternoon until 10pm.

I opted for their house special wrap, which was goat’s cheese, sun-dried tomato, rocket and red onion. The soup of the day was red pepper and tomato. Items arrived together, arranged quite nicely on a big plate, with the wrap accompanied by chips and salad.

Soup, wrap, chips and salad

The soup was good. It wasn’t gang-busters fantastic, but it was certainly better than your average tomato and red pepper, with a nice texture and restrained sweetness. The wrap was notably better than the similar one I sampled at Embo, a few weeks back. The goat’s cheese was remarkably good, and there was a good balance of flavours and textures to each mouthful.

But for me, the reason to come back here is the quirky surroundings. I don’t think the spaniels come as standard (they belonged to a customer, rather than the barmaid or the pub), but I do wish they did, as they provided excellently welcoming heralds. As an aside, I’m not a dog person, at all, so the fact that I found them highly acceptable speaks highly of the innate doggy goodness.

Tip jar

The eclectic mix of furniture, the top-hat lampshades, the little “tipping is sexy” grinder tip jar, the bare stone walls all come together to create a fantastic atmosphere. On my visit, the place was sparsely populated, so perhaps with a full bar the effect won’t be quite so pronounced, but I did really enjoy being able to relax and drink in the surroundings.

So, I’d definitely say that the Arcade is worth a visit. The upstairs is a very popular little vodka bar, known as Secret Arcade, which I’ve yet to catch, but is apparently very entertaining. I think I’ll be back to try the haggis, one evening, as I was entirely charmed on this brief visit.

Blythe scores Arcade:
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 14.5/20

Today’s questers was: Blythe

I ate: goat’s cheese, sun-dried tomato, red onion and rocket wrap; tomato and red pepper soup

I drank: sparkly water

I wore: navy and red www.tieclub.co.uk tie

Total bill: £8.80

Arcade on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR