We had the opportunity to go out and explore Edinburgh recently and were tasked with uncovering a few of the city’s lesser known hot spots.
We made a conscious decision to stay away from what is traditionally considered to be the ‘city centre’. So if you’re planning a visit to Edinburgh soon then read on.
Edinburgh has so much to offer in every corner of the city so it’s well worth exploring a little further afield to sample the true sights, sounds and of course tastes on offer.
Bross Bagels, Leith Walk
Bross Bagels opened there first premises in Edinburgh in 2017 on Portobello High Street. After that was such a roaring success they have since opened premises on Leith Walk and Queensferry Street in Edinburgh’s west end, to satisfy bagel fans citywide.
We popped in early on Sunday morning (they open 9am Saturday & Sunday) thinking we would beat the crowd but it was already fairly busy! However service is quick and uses and efficient number system so you never have long to wait.
One thing you might have trouble with is the abundance of choice on offer. First off do you want hot nosh or cold nosh in your bagel? Turkey, Bacon, Smoked Cheese, Salt Beef, Cream Cheese, Pickles, Smoked Salmon…. and do you want that on a Sesame Bagel, a Poppy Bagel or a Wholemeal Bagel….
Thankfully the menu features a number of combos and includes a recommendation on the best bagel for each. There’s also a large selection of vegan options on the menu if that’s your bag.
All the combos sounded delicious to be honest and I would have happily had any of them. However I have a major weakness for pastrami and pickles or anything pickled for that matter! So I went for the ‘Big Apple’ – PASTRAMI, MELTED MONTEREY JACK CHEESE, DILL PICKLES, MAYO & MUSTARD on a Sesame Bagel. It was really very tasty. Just the right mix of chewy with a slightly crisp outer layer and stuffed full of fillings.
Mrs Edinburger went for the ‘Good-Night-Club-Turkey’ – TURKEY, BACON, MELTED APPLEWOOD SMOKED CHEESE, MONTREAL SLAW & MAMA BROSS’ ROCK SAUCE on a Chipotle & Cheddar Bagel. Again it really hit the spot with plenty of filling and a tasty bagel. All bagel combos are around the £5 mark which we think is very good value for such yummy fully packed bagels.
Bross Bagels, 105 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 8NP.
Lochend Park, Lochend Road South
Now that you’re fuelled up on bagels you’ll need somewhere to go burn off that energy!
Edinburgh is blessed with an abundance of great places where you can visit the city’s ducks and swans. Most people will be well aware of those in and around Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat.
However if you have a toddler who is just getting used to life on two feet then Lochend Park is a great alternative.
The loch is completely secured with a fence all the way round which still allows you to get up and close with the wildlife while ensuring your little one doesn’t feed a finger to the swans as well as the bread! It’s also a bit more relaxing allowing them to run about without spending the whole time telling them to get away from the edge.
There’s also a great secure viewing platform that allows you to get a bit closer, enjoy the view out over the loch and watch the wildlife going about their business.
Lochend Park, Lochend Rd South, Edinburgh EH7 6BP.
Twelve Triangles Kitchen Table, Duke Street
Phew, all that walking round the loch is hard work. We had definitely earned a coffee break (and maybe a bun!).
Twelve Triangles opened its doors on Brunswick Street in March 2015, it began with a small core range of sourdough breads, pastries and doughnuts, with a strong emphasis on slow ferment cold prove doughs, making everything possible from scratch.
In 2016 they opened their second bakery shop in Portobello and the success of these two premises then led to the opening of the Kitchen Table Café on Duke Street, Leith. Serving baked goods, coffee, breakfast and lunch.
The day’s selection of freshly baked bread and tasty treats are lined up on the window front, certain to tempt you in.
I went for a cinnamon swirl and a latte. Mrs E fancied a lemon ricotta doughnut. Both were delightful and the coffee was very good. My cinnamon swirl just the right texture of moist dough and sugary glaze. The lemon ricotta light dough slightly crisp on the outside and the right amount of filling.
Twelve Triangles Kitchen Table, 48 Duke Street, Edinburgh EH6 8HU.
Leith Docks & Ocean Terminal
The Leith Docks area is another great spot to go visit if you have little ones. With huge ships for them spot.
It’s also right next to Ocean Terminal where you will find the Royal Yacht Britannia docked. It’s quite a spectacle just to see from the outside however there are also organised tours available. Adult tickets are £16.50 and children under 5 get in free. You can find more details on the website.
Ocean Terminal shopping centre is also a great indoor space for little ones to run about in. There’s lots of shops and places to stop for a quick bite to eat as well as a cinema.
For older kids there is a large indoor skate park and roller skate rink which has proved very popular since opening in 2017.
Ocean Terminal, Ocean Drive, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ.
Bijou Bistro, Restalrig Road
Bijou Bistro is located on the corner of Restalrig Road in a mainly residential area. Despite living within a stones throw of it for a number of years we never managed a visit. We decided now was a good time to rectify that!
Bijou is fairly unique in both it’s location, in a mainly residential area, and it’s size – it must be one of if not the smallest restaurant in Edinburgh with just a handful of tables. This gives it a cosy, friendly feel and has the added bonus of being both fully licensed and BYOB.
Despite it’s modest size Bijou has a good varied menu. It also offers the majority of dishes on the menu in both ‘bijou size’ or ‘main’. This really appeals to me as I often find myself thinking certain starters would be better as mains and vice versa. No such problem here!
I went for the Pan Fried Scallops with Cauliflower Puree and Haggis Bonbon in ‘bijou size’ and the Pork Belly, Black Pudding & Apple with Creamed Cabbage, Saute Potato and Jus for main.
Mrs Edinburger had the hot smoked salmon fishcake, sweet chilli mayo and salad in ‘bijou size’ and the Beef Burger with Cheddar Cheese on a Brioche Bun, Pickle Slaw and Fries for main.
All dishes were well presented without being overly fussy and most importantly were very tasty indeed. Portion size for both our mains was substantial. Enough so to make us decide against dessert, which takes some doing!
Bijou Bistro, 2 Restalrig Road, Edinburgh EH6 8BN.
Hopefully we have inspired you to get off the well-trodden path of typical tourist spots, go explore and find your own Edinburgh.
*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. The spending money used to put together the post was gifted by Hotels.com, however as is always the case, all views are our own.