October 31, 2013 Abbeyhill, pub grub, Sandwich, soup 1 Comment

Exterior

Exterior

Edinburgh has been in the grip of what one might call “trad pub gentrification” for a wee while now. Places like Woodland Creatures and The Fountain have been joined recently by Jeremiah’s Taproom and The Other Place, in transforming spaces that were a little tired into fresh, ale-driven establishments, with a strong commitment to good pub food.

The best of the more recent transformations is The Safari Lounge, where I stopped for lunch, today. This was my third visit, after a couple of drinks-based afternoons there. On the second one of these, we were lucky to get a little sample of their sushi, which they were just developing for the menu, at the time. It showcased some real innovative flair, so I crossed their threshold, today, with hopes and expectations set high.

Soup

Soup

The place is full of character, with safari touches throughout. Their back room, the Tiger’s Den, features wonderful tiger-print upholstery. They have a snake-skin alcove, too. It’s all great fun and I really liked it.

Their full menu has some considerable breadth to it, with cooking styles that span the globe. A more diverse set of dishes (sushi, Korean steamed buns, Cuban sandwiches, hot dogs, the list goes on) you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere in the city. The margin for error with such a broad scope is considerable, but I was highly impressed by the dishes I tried.

Interior

Interior

At lunchtime, they do a good soup and sandwich deal for £5.50. The soup today was an Asian vegetable broth. To this, I added an “El Decento” sandwich, which comprised chorizo, manchego, roasted vegetables served on a sundried tomato bread.

The soup was impressively aromatic, with an excellent blend of chunky vegetables. The broth had good substance to it, also. It was a winner.

Sandwich

Sandwich

The warmly toasted sandwich featured outstandingly good chorizo and the roasted vegetables were excellent, too. A little more manchego just to bring things together wouldn’t have gone amiss, but that was a minor quibble with what was a very good sandwich.

So overall, the Safari Lounge is a really impressive place, serving a varied menu to a very high standard. Service was friendly throughout, making my visit entirely joyful. They have their own “Safari Lounge” lager, brewed by Belhaven, too, so as a complete package the place has solid claims on being one of my favourite pubs in the city. I’d recommend a visit, at your earliest convenient opportunity.

Scores
Blythe scores the Safari Lounge
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16/20

I ate: Asian vegetable broth, El Decento sandwich

I drank: sparkly water

I wore: brown pinstripes

Total bill: £7.25

The Safari Lounge on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR