This year we have five major street food zones that I’ve spotted so far – Boxsmall, George Square, George Street, St Andrew Square and Summerhall – then a number of pop-ups that will be appearing for some or all of the time.
I’ve written quite a lot about Boxsmall, which has been running for a number of weeks, so I won’t add much other than to say the Jones & Son burgers are tremendous and the Rabbie’s lamb and beef sandwiches are damn tasty, too. You have Kampung Ali, Howie’s for haggis, Orinoco arepas, as well as ice-cream, beer and coffee stalls making it a very good city centre option.
St Andrew Square has gone with an almost identical line-up to last year, with only Nusou (sadly no longer trading) replaced by the Buffalo Farm. So, you have Valvona & Crolla, Bar Napoli, Henderson’s and Love Fish. This is a reasonable selection, but a little lacking in imagination, I reckon.
George Street’s offering brings together two Lunchquest favourites: Fresh Revolution and Harajuku. Susie’s Whole Foods was also supposed to be along for the party, but pulled out due to family illness. It will be interesting to see who they bring in to take up the spare spot, but it still looks the street food place to be this August, so I look forward to seeing what dishes they all come up with for the Festival crowds.
At George Square, it’s a really mixed bag. In the aftermath of the highly successful Edinburgh Food Festival, which showcased some excellent local stuff, the stalls remaining for the Fringe seem a bit weak by comparison. I sampled their pizza stall and it was decent, but a downgrade on previous years. Wild Dining looks the pick of the bunch and the samples they served at the launch of the food festival were very tasty, so I look forward to sampling their impressive looking selection of pies and open sandwiches, soon.
Pad BKK is back with its noodle goodness, the Khushi’s curry van brings vibrant colour to proceedings and Alanda’s offers chipshop and seafood fare. But then there’s that rubbish renaissance fair thing next to Teviot again, and Laughing Stock, a place that’s hit and miss at best, is part of the Udderbelly offering. There’s also Pad Thai Shak and a smart looking curry place called Rupy’s (which sadly turned out to be massively shit) in the Udderbelly garden, although the latter looks disadvantageously priced against the more established fast curry places like the Mosque Kitchen and Kebab Mahal.
Summerhall keeps things simple with two very good quality food trucks in the shape of the excellent Rost and the very popular (although totally not my thing) Crema Caravan. The Rost menu was packing some really tempting dishes, including their signature venison pastrami, so it’s well worth a visit.
Of the pop-ups, Tony Singh at the Apex Hotel is as entertaining as you’d expect. I was impressed by the haggis pakora when I visited. Soul Sushi at C-Nova takes over where Stag Espresso (who have now popped up at Dance Base in the Grassmarket) were trading at the Warburton Gallery. Their salmon, avocado and dill roll is one of the highlights of the month, so far. Machina Espresso bring their coffee excellence to Victoria Street, too. And there’s an Artisan Roast pop-up somewhere codenamed the Holy Garage, so I look forward to tracking that down. Stir Coffee are also popping up at Zoo Southside Fringe venue and have already impressed the Edinburgh Coffee Lovers.
One to watch out for is the Real Junk Food Project at the Canongate Youth Centre on Infirmary Street. Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, starting tomorrow night at 6.30pm, they’ll be showcasing their intercepted tastiness for Festival punters. This is a well-positioned offering that will hopefully thrive throughout the month.
The folks at Enroot will be popping up at Cockburn Farm near Balerno for three nights only, 14, 15 and 16 August. This is another “pay as you feel” event, so it’s worthwhile checking out this innovative dining experience. Full details on their website.
L’Institut Francais Ecosse is running The Wine Restaurant five times in August. This will showcase wine from L’Art du Vin and food to match from chef Emmanuel Métivier. Get along on Thursday 13, 20 & 27, or Tuesday 18 & 25 August 2015 at 7.30pm. The event costs £35 per person and includes 5 wines + 5 courses.
Filament has a couple of pop-ups within its walls during the month, with both Milk Money Drinks and We Are Jane Dough appearing. The doughnuts, alongside late night coffee opening hours, are a feature on Fridays and Saturdays.
I had a highly enjoyable visit to Checkpoint on its opening night, last night. It will persist beyond the Festival, so looks like a really interesting new addition. Dining in a shipping crate was certainly an experience. You can read about that in more detail in tomorrow’s review. I popped into the Liquor Library, afterwards, where it was lovely to run into Clay, lately of Field, who was shaking some impressively good cocktails.
Another cocktail bar eatery has popped up on Frederick Street in the shape of Dirty Dug. Its blend of cocktails and hotdogs sounds potentially interesting.
Keep an eye out for more reviews of the places I’ve mentioned, in due course. You should follow us on Periscope, too, as we’ll be live broadcasting some reviews, as we go.