The Castle Café, just off Castlehill, wasn’t one that I’d spotted previously, but I’d heard a couple of enthusiastic reports about it, so decided to give it a whirl, today.
Much like the nearby Deacon’s House Cafe, this place has a firm eye on the tourist trade. It’s located just across James Court from the Jolly Judge, which has been a long-standing Edinburgh favourite. The premises are similarly just below street level, but are brighter, with around half a dozen tables crammed into a pokey space.
The place is an old-style caff, with all-day breakfasts to the fore. They do a range of “Scottish specials” which in the case of what I mistakenly ordered was a microwaved ready-meal.
Stupidly, I’d thought that a simple thing like mince and tatties might have been prepared on the premises, but no. I was dumbfounded as the friendly counter man removed the cardboard labelling, pierced the lid, and shoved the thing in the microwave.
When cooked, it was presented with the mash having been cut through with a knife, presumably to verify it was cooked. It was served with a slice of Hovis sliced white bread. The dish was almost completely tasteless, once it had cooled down from its volcanically steaming original state.
So overall, this place needs to cut-out this ready-meal nonsense, immediately. As an all-day breakfast caff, it has a chance to fulfil a useful role. Microwaved ready-meals being championed as a “Scottish special” is perhaps a wonderful piece of social commentary, but is far from what an Edinburgh café should be presenting to paying customers.
Blythe scores the Castle Cafe Bar
1/5 for food
1/5 for presentation
2.5/5 for setting
3/5 for service
giving an overall 7.5/20
I ate: mince & tatties
I drank: water
I wore: a windswept aspect
Total bill: £6.95