So, university has ended for the semester and summer blues are starting to kick in. Your bank balance is screaming for help and the thought of spending money to fly away and live a week in a foreign country, pretending that the effect of Brexit on the pound isn’t quite as bad as it seems is getting you down.
Don’t fret though, Edinburgh is only a £12.70 off-peak return train ticket away. If you’re anything like me – then the first thing you do when visiting a new place is suss out the food scene. Luckily for you, I know Edinburgh quite well and have written this quick guide to some of my favourite spots across the city!
Deadly Donuts should be your first stop after arriving off the train. Located in Edinburgh’s busy student area Marchmont and just a short 15 minute walk from Waverley train station through Edinburgh’s scenic Meadows park. Donuts are at the forefront of the shops ethos; owner Freddie Spindler creates freshly-made donuts every morning to sell to his ever-growing loyal customer base. Spindler makes a different selection daily and once the batches sell out the shop gets ready for the next day of business.
As a Glasgow native, I have grown spoilt to the wide selection of golden fried treats at my disposal. Edinburgh’s donut scene is on the rise yet feels slightly lagging behind in terms of variety, with most joints focusing on the same old sugar-filled donut recipe — all but Deadly Donuts. This makes them a pioneer in the Edinburgh’s donut scene and one that is very much worth a visit for a delightful breakfast treat.
On this particular day to the shop, I tried the Bacon Bar, an éclair shaped donut stuffed with bacon cream and a maple glaze. Topped off with an incredibly crispy rasher of candied bacon. For those that are a fan of a mix between sweet and savoury this donut is a true delight. Deadly Donuts comes into its own with the inclusion of cronuts on the menu, a delectable buttery croissant dough that is truly exceptional, the cinnamon and buttermilk being my favourite of the day. Deadly Donuts can be found at 21 Argyle Place, and is open from 10am whilst stocks last Tuesday to Sunday.
The sugary breakfast should keep you satisfied until lunch time, in the meantime head over to Edinburgh’s old town and explore traditional Edinburgh. If you’re going in August, then the city plays host to the world’s largest arts festival in the world, The Edinburgh Fringe. The city accommodates over 90,000 visitors with shows varying from street performers juggling knives and telling terrible jokes to elegant masterpieces from some of the world’s greatest philharmonic orchestras.
Walk back across the Meadows and towards the Royal Mile, after about 10 minutes you’ll stumble across Oink on Victoria street: an omnivores paradise. It’s hard to miss with it’s bright pink marketing campaign and full hog roast on display in the window. Oink delivers the perfect on the go lunch as you explore the beautiful scenery of the surrounding Grassmarket. A choice of size from the tiny Piglet to the dense and filling Grunter filled with either sage and onion stuffing or haggis and a variety of homemade sauces compliments a succulent pork sandwich that is hard to beat when it comes to pure meaty satisfaction. Be prepared to queue and don’t forget to ask for some of their super crunchy crackling. Oink has three locations scattered across the city, this specific location can be found at 34 Victoria Street.
Now that you are excessively full and struggling to make it back to the train station, why not stop in at one of the best ice cream shops Edinburgh has to offer? Mary’s Milk Bar in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket is the perfect summer treat and only 2 minutes around the corner from Oink. It’s easy to spot when queues crowd the front door as soon as Edinburgh has the slightest form of heatwave. There’s a wide variety of fresh flavours from pallet-cleansers such as fresh mint cream to absurd concoctions like blue cheese and walnut butter.
Whilst I am yet to try any form of cheese ice cream, Mary with her vast experience of learning to make ice cream at the prestigious Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, Italy is able to create some beautifully different ice cream flavours, a personal favourite being the easter-themed hot cross bun spice. Unfortunately, Scotland usually boasts some pretty miserable summer days. Don’t fret however because when the clouds are in the sky and you’re dreaming of that summer escape, Mary’s Milk Bar has delectable hot chocolate floats where your choice of ice cream makes for a delicious take on a traditional italian hot chocolate. Mary’s Milk Bar can be found at 19 Grassmarket.
Donuts, pulled pork and ice cream; Edinburgh is only a train ride away and with the multitude of festivals coming up throughout the summer months there’s no reason not to treat yourself!