This is a post of love and appreciation of my favourite restaurant in Edinburgh that I have visited twice, with six years apart, and the quality stayed the same. The post is absolutely not sponsored, as I didn’t even know the term existed until last year. I’ll get on it, shall I?
First time I came here, after I have just arrived in Edinburgh with this old friend of mine, back in 2008, in deep winter, which means it was raining cats and dogs outside and was bloody cold. I only wore my puffy jacket and got really hungry, as we entered the little pub-like looking place just at the end (or the beginning) of Edinburgh High Street. 119 to be exact. Locals call it The Royal Mile. You can’t miss it. It was just a few days before Christmas, and the Whiski (spelt with an “I”), was offering plenty of winter drinks, including mulled wines, hot toddies and different hot whisky drinkies.
As it was winter, and right before Christmas, there was almost no one at the pub/bar/restaurant. And it was a bliss. Because when I ordered my first hot toddie, as my friend has advised me to do, they brought it in right away, I didn’t even need to wait. I tried it and it was absolutely delicious.
It doesn’t look great, but how wonderful it is! In this hot alcoholic cocktail there is:
- Famous Grouse whiskey
- hot water with honey
- lemon and cloves to banish those sniffs and colds (it said that on the menu, not kidding)
“They say it works. Try it and see…” said on the menu as well. I smiled as I took a small sip of this honey dewy goodness. Flavours exploded in my mouth, I felt warm and fuzzy inside. I took of my winter jacket and sat more comfortably in a chair, at the table right next to the window which was out looking the Royal Mile and tiny rain droplets were running down the glass.
My friend then suggested I buy the famous haggis dish, which I was not willing to eat when I was coming to Scotland, so I was very adamant. I shook my head and opened my eyes wide while looking at my friend in confusion and denial. Haggis is a dish that contains sheep’s insides, all chopped and minced with onions, oatmeal, spices and whatnot and usually served with turnips and potatoes, boiled separately. In Scotland, you’ll hear ’em say “neeps and tatties”, don’t look surprised.
I took a deep breath and finally said “Alright, I will order it” with a sad look on my face. In the pub’s menu the dish is called “Haggis Tower” and you don’t get much of haggis itself, so you can relax. They brought it over and I said wow in amazement. It look terrific!
This perfection was streaming with yummy gravy, which is quite a staple in the UK, and I really miss it, when I’m not there. It was a difficult first bite, but when I tasted it, I could not stop eating. Neeps and tatties were complimenting the haggis and the gravy was just mmm! After I finished eating, I wanted more, but decided not to be greedy and just relaxed in the comfy chair by that rainy window. I was happy as a cat who got the cream, is that how the saying goes?
Six years later I came back to this place and I was excited that this place was still where I remembered it, only this time it was summer, and there were dozens of people inside, so we had to wait for a free table, so that they could sit us together. There were four of us, then two more friends have joined us. We all got Haggis Towers, I got my favourite hot toddie, which I tried in London too, and it did not meet my expectations, so I was looking forward to going back to Scotland to drink this magic potion again. My friends got them some Irn-Bru and even a shot of a twelve-year-old Talisker Storm whiskey to try, which I also had a sip of, and got drunk from this one little drop of it on my bare tongue.
They served this same Haggis Tower that I had here six years ago, in the dead of winter, and the emotions that I had that moment were absolutely magical. It was like going back in time and place and reliving this joyous moment of your life, where you felt warm and happy, where you were discovering this new taste and texture, along with the sounds from the outside. It was just as delicious.
Only this time we were wearing summer clothes and there was a slight draught under the table from the open door in the back of the restaurant, and the birds were singing, and the dozens of people around us were laughing, and chattering and being genuinely happy.
I recommend this place to anyone visiting Edinburgh, as it’s truly wonderful and very welcoming.
Here is their web address in case you want to find them http://whiskibar.co.uk/
Thank you for reading x