Though I was sad not to get to have lunch at the rammed Cafe 1505, I was happy to be in good company with the promise of lunch. I’ve not ever had the joy of eating at the Festival Theatre, but I had high hopes.
Inside the place was light and airy, a given from the glass walls, really. But it was a warm-enough day and the menu looked promising. I decided that I wasn’t in the mood for something massive and chose the soup of the day, which was a spicy sweet potato and coconut.
Blythe ordered the same (plus green tea) and added in a massive pile of linguine. I’d forgotten I’d ordered a coffee that day until I had already written about the meal, so I thought I’d pop back in to check and it’s fine. The soup arrived shortly with small almost-triangles of bread, which was good for sopping up the soup.
The soup had a nice thickness and a well-judged blend of spice and sweetness. To be honest, I didn’t taste the coconut. Which is a good thing, since I was unsure about ordering it at all since I am not a fan of coconut flavours. But I’m glad I went ahead with the soupy soup. And, I’d order it again on a cold day, which is pretty much anytime in Edinburgh.
I didn’t taste the linguini, but I had great joy watching Blythe eat it, watching the near misses as his tie somehow escaped the onslaught of sauce and noodles flying left and right! (or just the normal eating motions)
I was sad to hear that the Festival Theatre cafe had changed hands as I was a great fan of Th’eatery, with Barry Bryson at the helm, but these places are often run on fixed-term contracts with complicated tender processes, such as the one currently open for the Fruitmarket Gallery. However the new incumbents, Appetite Direct come with an impressive pedigree as a catering outfit, not least via their recent canapes partnership with Mark Greenaway.
It was lovely to be lunching with MJ once more. We’d actually planned to give a recently opened Heritage Portfolio cafe called 1505 a try, but it was more than amply stocked with punters. The Festival Theatre was busy but had a space or two.
Their menu held some familiar dishes, including the pork belly burger they showcased at their 2014 Festival pop-up. We were both in soup mood, so were pleased to see sweet potato as the option for today. I added a plate of fresh sounding pea, courgette and crowdie linguini.
The soups arrived promptly. They were delivered on unwieldy and unecessary planks, which would have set the We Want Plates brigade aflutter. The soup was very tasty, though, with a lightly thick texture and good depth of flavour. It was a winner.
The linguini was a similarly smart and fresh dish. It packed good crunch from the veg and smooth creaminess from the cheese. It was accomplished stuff.
MJ rounded things out with a good Workshop americano, while I favoured some green tea from Pekoe. This was good quality fare.
So overall, Appetite Direct’s tenure at the Festival Theatre has started on a sure footing. My only slight niggle is that I greatly valued the previous folks and I’m not sure this represents much of a leap forward, but it is still a cafe of really pleasing quality. Make sure to visit soon.
Blythe scores the Festival Theatre Cafe
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 15/20
Today’s qusters were: MJ, Blythe
We ate: sweet potato soup (2), pea and courgette linguini
We drank: water, green tea, americano
We wore: hipster maroon, blue shirt
Total bill: £20.70