Over the past week, I’ve set up semi-permanent residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, not least as I’m doing a little work for The Istanbul Review, following the release of Issue 1, earlier this month.


The main hive of eating and drinking activity is in the Guardian Spiegeltent. Festival goers will understand what a Spiegeltent is, but for those not aware, it’s a beautifully appointed circular tent, with lovely mirrored panelling and warm red tones. Over the years, Spiegeltents (for there are many) have become an integral part of Festival time.

Having only left the confines of this particular Spiegeltent in the small hours of this morning, a lunchtime visit had a return-to-home feel about it.

I was joined today by regular guest quester, Kim, who has quested to The Dogs, Seadogs, and Prezzo, in the past.

Upon arrival, we nabbed a table in the main body of the tent, at one of the cabaret style tables. As we chatted over the topics of the day, our attention was drawn to the large bowls of soup being brought out for a number of our fellow patrons. We quickly decided to follow suit, as this looked a good way to go.


Ordering was at the bar, and whilst you can sometimes have a little queue to negotiate, at busy times, on this occasion I was attended immediately.

Soup quickly arrived, and looked impressive. It proved to be mushroom soup (I hadn’t actually bothered to ask, previously!) with some croutons floating on its surface. It came accompanied by a generously sized poppy seed roll.

The soup had good body and flavour, but had a wee hint of bitterness which I think can be attributed to slightly burnt garlic. It was a shame, because otherwise it was a rather good soup.

The croutons had crunch, but were soon soggy. The roll did an admirable job.

So, the soup was close to being very good, but wasn’t quite there. I very much enjoyed the lunchtime experience at the Spiegeltent, though, so will no doubt be back to visit at further points throughout the Book Festival’s run.

Blythe scores the Book Festival Spiegeltent
3.5/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
3/5 for service
giving an overall 13.5/20

Today’s questers were: Kim, Blythe

We ate: mushroom soup

We drank: water

We wore: smart black, rumpled blue

Total bill: £9

Edinburgh International Book Festival
Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

Written by BKR