Down the HatchThe Burry Man is one of Scotland’s oddest local festivals. It takes place on the second Friday of August each year and hasn’t really broken out of the bounds of South Queensferry where it takes place as part of the town’s Ferry Fair. This is despite the extraordinarily compelling attraction of a man dressed in a suit of burrs walking through the town, stopping for whisky on the way, for upwards of ten hours.
During this year’s festivities I stopped by Down the Hatch in nearby Port Edgar for a spot of lunch. I was joined on this enterprise by regular guest questers Stan and Elizabeth.The exterior of Down the Hatch didn’t look too promising. As which much of the rest of Port Edgar it’s an industrial building with corrugated iron to the fore. Rarely have appearances been more deceptive.
The interior is strong on wood and filament light bulb detailing. It felt like a smart marina cabin style cafe.The menu offers a good mix of options. They’re baking their own bread in-house which was impressive to see so I thought one of their hot sandwiches sounded like a good plan. While checking on the soup of the day – sweet potato, roasted tomato and carrot – I noticed mention of sloppy Joe’s so couldn’t resist trying one of them. I thought I’d give the soup a go, too.
Stan was intrigued by the Philly cheese steak. Elizabeth who follows a gluten free diet was delighted to hear that they stocked gluten free bread so she could try it, too.My soup arrived first accompanied by three soft and springy wedges of homemade focaccia. The soup proved very good indeed with a lovely smooth texture, good balance of flavours, and was topped with delicious garlic croutons. The bread was excellent.
The main course sandwiches all looked very smart with mine particularly sloppy, as expected. Stan remarked that the quality of ingredients was rather too good for a traditional Philly cheese steak but was happy with his dish. Elizabeth was similarly pleased.The only downside of my sloppy Joe was that is was too large and overflowing to eat by any other method than knife and fork. Still it proved incredibly tasty with the ground beef packed with flavour, the cheese suitably melty and the bun again excellent. The accompanying chips were really good, too.
So overall, I was really impressed with Down the Hatch. It’s the kind of place that would do brisk business in Edinburgh and appears to do a roaring trade in its current, slightly unorthodox location. It’s worthy of a special trip as everything they’re doing is highly accomplished with a confidently produced and high quality set of dishes on offer.
Blythe scores Down the Hatch
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16.5/20
Today’s questers were: Elizabeth, Stan, Blythe
We ate: philly cheesesteak (2), side caesar, sloppy Joes, sweet potato, carrot and roasted tomato soup
We drank: water
We wore: blue, blue, pink
Total bill: £24.96
Address: Port Edgar Marina, South Queensferry
Edinburgh EH30 9SQ