The Lowlights of 2,000 posts

Today marks our 2,000th post on Lunchquest!

When I mentioned that this landmark was coming up to Lewis from Grams, the other day, he suggested that a post looking at the lowlights from all the reviews would be something he’d be keen to read. The highlights would be much less interesting, of course. So here we go.

Disastrous Cheeseburger

The obvious place to start is with Lotus, the Indian where after an hour of waiting the staff admitted they had no chicken for the several chicken dishes we’d ordered. It was a total calamity. They closed down a few weeks later. I doubt we contributed to that – they just had no idea how to run a restaurant.

Another notably shit Indian offering was street food stall Rupy’s where their veggie balti was piss poor and voted our worst dish of 2015. I’ve not seen them trading since. I hope we contributed to that.

Of our contingent of temporary trading stalls, the Original German Sausage was fucking awful. It awakened my inner humbug and made for a very gloomy December lunch at the increasingly poor Edinburgh Christmas market.

Shite on a roll

Another Princes Street disaster was lurking at the BHS Cafe which was grimness incarnate. It was sad that all the BHS shops closed down but I didn’t shed too many tears for the loss of the cafe.

Paragon of chauvinism Dino’s is now trading as Cafe Edinburgh but still looks to be in the same ownership. It’s the most offensive tourist trap we have, but the Deacon’s House Cafe is also dreadful. And if you’re a big fan of overpaying for microwave meals, head to the Castle Cafe, although it looks to have changed name and hopefully direction since our visit.

Most of the chains we’ve visited down the years have done what they do in fairly inoffensive fashion. Notable exceptions were Caffe Nero with their morning muffin an absolute shitshock, not to mention their horrific coffee, and TGI Fridays which is the review that has most venom dripping from it.

That honour may also go to Five Guys, a review which got us a little mention in the Herald. I look forward to the arrival of their Edinburgh city centre branch with great anticipation.

What were they thinking putting this sign in the toilets at Dino’s?

Stop, Take Me Away with You is a silly name for a place and it’s a notably sour note in the otherwise not bad selection on offer at Waverley Mall.

The Duke Cafe redefined – or perhaps defined for the first time – exactly what level of horror is denoted by the term Dukelicious. It was revolting.

The Atholl was one of the most incompetent places I’ve come across in a long time. There was a real sense of zero good thought going on there, both front of house and in the kitchen. It has solid claims on being the widest differential between cost and quality.

Morningside Spice offered the worst pickle tray in history, so that’s a notable achievement worthy of further slaughter. The rest of their food was pretty cack, too.


I’m never going to love Kasturi. It has the honour of being the first place where I sent a dish back. Their seafood soup was woeful. Mother’s gin bar is thankfully now departed but was notable for its nae-fucks-given approach to service.

I could go on. But we’d be talking pish poutine and we can all agree that there’s no need to revisit that.

However, in the vast majority of cases, Edinburgh (and our wider review locations) serves joyful food delivered with care and attention. But everybody seems to love me being a shit-stirring grumpy bastard and given that today is my 40th birthday I think an excess of bile comes with territory.

Places that elicit extreme reactions are always going to be the most interesting to write about, so it’s not surprising that some of the things I’m most pleased about having written are when I’m least pleased by the contents of my tummy. Ten of the most popular put-down phrases include:

  • “do not under any circumstances buy food from this laughable shit pit”
  • “all of those timewasters who’ve spent their lives serving me raw lettuce can collectively do one”
  • (mind you, that appeared in an entirely positive review, but is still a good line ;-))

  • “dreary, soulless and just such a total load of fucking bollocks.”
  • “the greyness of some of my lunch had me thinking of Dickensian pea-soupers, the thoroughly down-trodden expressions of the staff spoke of the workhouse, and the look of the place was like some kind of ghastly staging post on a journey to Dotheboys Hall.”
  • “little to no fucks are given at Dino’s. It’s a total tourist trap taking the total piss.”
  • “George Square’s food stalls have been shovelling rather a lot of over-priced shit this August.”
  • “Stop, Take Me Away With You should be renamed Don’t Stop, Take None of the Dreadful Shit Away With You.”
  • “It had a quite remarkably off-putting flavour, sort of dusty and stale with hints of the crypt.”
  • “Don’t even think about visiting this utter disaster zone of a place;”
    and of course
  • “It was almost unbelievably shite.”

Here’s to the next thousand posts. Hopefully we keep finding fun places to write about with a good peppering of shitpits to keep things interesting.

Written by BKR