Tolbooth TavernI’d received a slightly odd request from someone a while back asking whether it would be a good idea to book in advance for a visit to the Tolbooth Tavern. I’d largely written it off as “AN Other Royal Mile boozer” and hadn’t thought much about whether their food might be good. I advised that booking was probably not required but made a note to visit to assess whether it was a place that was packing them in due to impressive quality scran.
On a real shitter of a day, I was glad to cross their threshold and get out of the weather. I was shown to their mezzanine level where they keep food service away from the front bar, which is in trad pub style.
The place is decked out in some odd detailing including a rather fetching grotesque (pictured) – with thanks to Slosh Fan for correcting me from calling it a gargoyle.
From their menu of regulation pub fare, my eye was drawn to a fairly broad selection of burgers, which seem to be their focus. They have some comedy names, but I basically ordered the cheeseburger, which was named for some aspect of the building’s correctional past.
It took quite a while for this to arrive which wasn’t ideal as I was slightly pressed for time.
The undoubted highlights were the onion rings, which were huge, crisp and profoundly satisfying. Everything else was pretty underwhelming. The burger had pockets of really odd seasoning and the chips were high in volume and low in quality. It was all fine but nowt to write home about.
So overall, the Tolbooth Tavern is pretty much as I’d originally thought; a traditional pub serving pretty unremarkable pub grub. The excellent onion rings aside, there was nothing to particularly mark it out from the crowd. If you do pop in you’ll probably be served decentish fare, but there’s no need to book in advance.
Blythe scores the Tolbooth Tavern
3/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 13/20
I ate: cheeseburger, chips
I drank: sparkly water
I wore: burgundy shirt
Address: 167 Canongate, Royal Mile, Old Town, Edinburgh EH8 8BN
Total bill: £10.10