After about a seven hour train journey that wasn't as picturesque as we had hoped (Eurostar to London and then "normal" train to Edinburgh) we arrive just in time for dinner - good timing! We head straight to the restaurant where my niece's boyfriend works (called Earthy, the restaurant that is, not the boyfriend) and are welcomed to Scotland in style. Nice!
We get to try a lot of modern Scottish food on this part of the trip - which is pretty much just like Modern Australian food in style + presentation but uses a host of wonderfully fresh and seasonal Scottish ingredients. Seafood features heavily on a lot of menus as does steak, berries and fresh veggies.
Earthy has a lovely little grocery store attached to the restaurant that's full of lovely artisan Scottish produce.
I decide to stock up on a few goodies for snacks back at our flat. I'd been wanting to try Oatcakes after reading about them on someone else's blog...but I'm told by the Scottish BF that they are pretty bland (yes, they are) but are the perfect vehicle for cheese + chutney (yes, they are).
On our first morning in our Edinburgh flat we head around the corner to a cafe where The Boy orders "the full Scottish" - a plate filled with Scottish delights such as Haggis, Black Pudding and a Potato Scone. The "tatty scone" is flat and triangular shape and not scone-like at all. It tastes a bit like a potato scallop but much less greasy. It's good. I was dreading trying Haggis as I thought it would be gross (I mean, what could possible be tasty about innards wrapped in a stomach lining - blergh) but I'm pleased to report it tasted pretty good, due mainly to the fragrant mix of spices used.
I like my breakfasts without meat so ordered a vegetarian version of The Boys breakfast that came with Vegetarian Haggis which surprisingly not not as good as "real" Haggis as I think it's the meaty bits that help soften the texture of all those oats in the mix.
Ah, the moment we've ALL been waiting for. Behold the wonders of the deep-fried Mars Bar. People I've shown these photos too have screwed their faces up in horror. Honestly both the deep-fried Mars Bar and the deep-fried Snickers that we tried looked quite...gross, but they are really delish. I think the battering/frying process actually eliminates some of the sweetness of these chocolate bars and serving it with ice-cream just makes everything 1000% better! The shop we bought these from was a regular "chippie" around the corner from our flat and they would literally deep fry any chocolate bar that could handle the heat.
We had toyed with the idea of checking out one of Edinburgh's three Michelin-starred restaurants but just never got around to it. Instead we ended up having a rather simple, but very posh-feeling lunch aboard the Queen's former royal yacht, Britannia that has retired to Edinburgh.
It was great being able to wander all over the yacht and check out the Queens's bedroom/study/etc etc, but the highlight for me was lunch in the restaurant on the top deck. The restaurant is an addition to the boat since it found its new home on the water of Leith and it's GREAT. It all felt SO posh...little sandwiches and a bowl of Cream of Cullen Skink Soup - a traditional Scottish soup of smoked haddock with potato and leeks (no skinks included, thankfully)! The waiters were all decked out like we were in the fanciest spot in town. LOVED it.
Confession time. The Boy and I became more than a little obsessed with Marks + Spencer when we were in Scotland. I loved shopping for clothes in there as they had LOADS stuff to fit me. As well as the clothes we LOVED the food hall...loads of prepacked sandwiches and salads which were great for cheap lunches as well as so many "heat + eat" dinner ideas. I was obsessed with making a M+S dinner in our flat -- my niece thought I was kinda mad, but we just have nothing like this in Australia, do we?
It was lucky we stayed away from the roasts on offer as we couldn't get the oven working! Whilst an M+S dinner isn't cheap it's very convenient and delicious - it's very good for lazy cooks (like me). Below we have salmon with veggies; and on our second M+S dinner adventure we had a delicious "curry night".
Some other interesting Scottish foodie finds - these Worcester Crisps. They tasted a little like soy sauce (in a good way).
Scottish Shortbread - it wouldn't be right to leave the country without eating at least one box of these. They are so buttery and delicious!
And of course, Scotland's national drink - Iron Bru. I thought this was a cola but it tastes much more like a creaming soda. I'd hazard a guess that this is nearly more popular in Scotland than beer.
Just to prove that we did do more than eat here are a few photos of buildings, green rolling hills and the like...
Next stop London...rainy rainy rainy London.