We dropped off the car after a long day of driving and walked back toward the airport’s tram station. For 5£ each we were in the heart of Edinburgh in about 20 minutes. Thankfully the key was left under the mat for us so we could drop off all our stuff and head to Brewdog for pre-dinner drinks. Unfortunately for us, many of the taps were empty – apparently their shipments come in on Wednesdays. We settled for the ‘This is Lager,’ which was solid and quite German, and a red ale, which had some hops to it.
Wildest Drams — Our reserved table was at the far end of the restaurant which involved several stairs and turns. There were only a few other occupied tables so we more or less had the full attention of our impressively bearded waiter. I was late to dinner dealing with the flat owner, and by the time I got there the girls had ordered a bottle of tempranillo. I opted for a saison that was strong, a little hopped and quite interesting. Leandra’s appetizer of wild game pate was a bit bland and she didn’t love the oat crackers. Thankfully, tasty plain bread came out later so she used that instead.
For my entree I ordered the brisket of Scottish water buffalo – the meat was very firm, but fell apart like a roast, and I rather liked the interesting texture. Sauce was needed, and thankfully it was quite good too.
Leandra ordered the haunch of Ardgay Estate venison. Prepared medium rare, she did not leave any leftovers! She also liked the Stovie croquettes that came with my dish.
Not ready to head home (literally across the street) we stayed for whisky afterwards in the bar area; the bartenders were friendly with many suggestions, and we closed the place down.
- Ledaig (le-check) – small medicinal nose, 54% alcohol. Vanilla and a little heat taste. Tasty. [Eric]
- Caol Isla 2003 – hickory-esque smoke, marshmallow and popcorn scent. Lovely char taste. Really good. [Eric]
- Longrow – mild fruit and honey nose, medium burn with sugar and smoke. [Leandra]
- St Erik’s Rauchbier – yum. Tastes like a smoked beef jerky. Unique for sure. [Leandra]
The rest of our group had tickets to see the castle, so we had the morning to ourselves. We started with a quick breakfast from Piemakers down the street. Leandra’s coffee was passable (and very hot) but the classic Scottish pie was tasty and rich. I went the sweet route with a cherry pie.
All day there was a mix of rain, wind and occasional sunshine, so we ducked in and out of stores along Prince Street, working our way up to Rose Street to peruse restaurants and shops.
Eventually, we made our way back to the apartment via the covered train station to familiarize ourselves with the layout for the next day.
Reunited with the group, we grabbed a leisurely lunch at Whiski. Leandra ordered her mussels (again) and the Edinburgh Castle ale, and I ordered a Caesar chicken sandwich with the Thistle whisky cask cider. (The cider was a bit too sweet for me but they were out of the other options I wanted.)
Next was whisky shopping along the Royal Mile street where we found several good options to take home with us.
Cadenhead’s was unique – they primarily sell their own independently casked and bottle whisky. You could fill one of three bottle sizes from their selection of casks, and we came home with some mid-size bottles.
Our next stop was Jeffrey Street Whisky. Besides a nice selection, they also offered complimentary tea (One staff member had been to the same sherry bar in Malaga that we’ve been to!)
Our third stop was Royal Mile Whiskies which had the best selection and prices of those we stopped in, so we ended up returning a little later and purchasing two bottles here. They proactively offer a tax rebate form that ended up saving us an extra $15 (after processing fees) too. We had also tried The Whisky Shop, but it was a bit of a disappointment with higher prices and strange music.
For dinner we returned to a favorite from our earlier trip, Mums. I ordered the chicken pot pie and a Holyrood pale ale, and Leandra choose the beef stew (basically the pot pie filling without the crust) and dumplings with a Carbon Smith Le Chien Noir stout. The service was scattered and slow on this visit – it took over two hours for our meal – but thankfully the food was still tasty.
Across the street is Sandy Bells, famous for live music, so we stopped in for an after-dinner drink. The pub was crowded but we found a spot on the end near the band and enjoyed the music.Leandra took the advice of the bartender and ordered the Glenrothes select reserve whisky – light in color with nice sweetness and a bit of burn, fruity and easy drinking. I had the Bruichladdich (brook-la-dee) Port Charlotte – light smoky nose, a little of the Bruichladdich cheesiness too. Good smoke on the palate, a little burn with the cask strength.
As with our last trip, we could have easily spent more time on the lovely old streets of Edinburgh, and we can’t wait for our next return.