An Evening in Edinburgh

by Robbie

After a long week at work, a lot of people, including myself feel the need to treat ourselves to some good food and a little drink or two. So, last Friday when I finished work, I headed to Edinburgh with a friend in order to review the food at Badger and Co as well as the Gin Cocktails at Heads and Tales Gin Bar. When it comes to the best places to eat and drink in Edinburgh I am the first to admit that due to being a Glaswegian I haven’t a clue where to go and when I was given this opportunity I was grateful that the decision had been taken out of my hands.

Badger & Co is a Bar and Restaurant situated in the childhood home of Kenneth Grahame, the author of The Wind and the Willows on Castle Street which is a stone’s throw Princes Street and exceptionally easy to find. The first thing I noticed upon walking in was the classy interior has little subtle but classy nods to The Wind and the Willows but in no way, is this a themed establishment. Featuring a great bar area with a vast cocktail menu and craft beer selection there is a drink for everyone and to start the evening I went for a lovely pint of Brewdog’s Dead Pony Club before being seated in the splendid dining area, complete with more artwork, some beautiful lighting and a neon Badger & Co sign on a white crisp wall.

Once seated and after a wee look through the menu a very helpful staff member explained what the soup of the day was to us as well as what was in the Scottish Game Pie on that evening. Being a bit of a soup fan I decided to go for the soup of the day which was Sweet Potato, Ginger and Chilli and it was nice and thick and the elements within came together brilliantly. The main and initial hit was of Sweet Potato with a subtle touch of ginger and then a delayed hit of chilli to finish the mouthful. The thick crusty bread was great for dipping too.

For my main course, I thought long and hard about what I wanted due to most things on the menu being food that I like to eat, but seen as I hadn’t had a steak in so long and the fact that the beef used was Scottish Produce I went for the 11oz 35 Day Aged Sirloin Steak cooked medium with a Peppercorn and Thyme sauce and sides of Triple Cooked Beef Dripping Chips and Green Beans coated in Honey and Sesame. My steak was cooked to perfection with no blood in sight and cutting it was like a knife through butter which meant it was melt in the mouth steak and it was complimented by a smooth peppery sauce. If I was being picky all I would say would be that I prefer a sauce slightly thicker but can’t complain about the taste. Both the sides were cooked well but the sweetness of the green beans with honey and sesame was the winner for me but it didn’t stop me from scoffing the lot.

For dessert, yup it would have been rude not to have gone all out on the three courses, I went for an Upside-Down Apple Pie with Toffee Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream. Unlike a traditional apple pie this little concoction featured a full small cooking apple in the centre of the pastry of the pie and dowsed in a toffee sauce with a little side scoop of lovely creamy vanilla ice cream. The apple itself could have done with being slightly softer but with the toffee sauce and soft pastry and a spot of the ice cream the flavours were are good as they sound.

The staff at Badger & Co as well as the atmosphere and of course the food and drink made this dining experience a brilliant one and for anyone living in Edinburgh who hasn’t been or people visiting, you should definitely add this to your list of dining choices and experience a little bit of history, fine beverages and great priced food all under one roof.

Image from Head & Tales

With the food still fresh on the mind it was time was time for us to head from Castle Street down to Rutland Place where you will find Heads and Tales Gin Bar which is an absolute hidden gem of the Edinburgh bar scene. With an understated entrance (a sign that points you down a set of stairs) this bar is easy to miss but you won’t want to because as soon as you get down those stairs you are immediately aware that you are in an arty dungeon setting with low lighting, low ceilings, exposed brickwork and copper pipes throughout the space. Its only when you enter the main bar area that you realise that there are two copper gin stills hiding behind glass windows and upon speaking with the staff I found out that Heads and Tales share this space with Edinburgh Gin who actually distil their Seaside, Cannonball and Valentines Gins during daytime hours before Heads and Tales takeover in the evenings and turn this place into one of the coolest bars I’ve been in.

Once seated the staff were very attentive and explained all about their G.I.Y. menu as well as that Heads and Tales currently stocks approximately 80 different gins and also offer a light snack menu. Table service is the name of the game, so no need to stand at a bar for far too long being overlooked for drinks. Now this G.I.Y menu is a clever little thing especially if you like a wee surprise. Initially you chose from a style of 4 glasses then chose what style/description of your cocktail is to be and finally chose one of the gins on the G.I.Y menu and then they bar staff will concoct a cocktail on the spot and no one except them know what’s gone into your cocktail. I went for a Rocks Glass, Fresh descriptor and Original Edinburgh Gin and what I was faced with was a yellow/orange coloured cocktail which not only tasted fresh but looked amazing with a styled garnish and smelled amazingly fresh.

As a gin fan and with the choice of around 80 gins on the menu I decided to make my second drink a nice wee G & T, after all in a gin bar it would have been rude not to. I decided to go for Bathtub Gin in part due to the classy bottle it comes in and it came paired with Fevertree Elderflower Tonic and a large slice of lemon which complimented the gin perfectly. After a nice fresh gin cocktail this G & T had a nice sweet kick to it and was the perfect way to end a lovely evening spent sampling both food and drink in two brilliant places in Edinburgh I had never even heard of prior to attending.

*Many thanks to both Badger & Co and Heads and Tales Gin Bar for hosting me. The meal and drinks provided were complimentary for review purposes. All thoughts and images are my own unless stated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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