At 7.30pm yesterday evening my colleague, Thomas, and I got a taxi to a wee greasy spoon cafe in Leith. The cafe would normally be shut at this hour, and the Tesco’s across the road was always referred to as Tesco’s Beirut by another colleague. So, you might wonder why we’d get a taxi there on a cold Edinburgh night. We saw another couple walk nervously to the door, and hesitate before trying to go in. The window shutters were closed, and it all looked pretty shut up.
But it wasn’t.
It had been transformed into the first Burgherburger pop up guerilla-dining restaurant. A sort of middle class, foodie lock-in if you like. And TERRIBLY exclusive!
There were only about 40 covers, which meant the place had just the perfect buzzy atmosphere. Most people were sitting at tables for four, so I’m guessing many were with people they hadn’t met before. Thomas and I were at the ‘naughty table’ with just the two of us, sitting side by side at a narrow wee strip of a table and a wall right in front of us. So, we had no other foodies to distract us from the main attraction: the burgers.
And oh my! What burgers!
The menu was a set menu, released in advance, created by Chef Neil Forbes of Cafe St Honore. And with each course there was a bottle of most fabulous Innis and Gunn beer. So, without further ado, let me run through the menu for you:
On arrival, a bottle of Melville’s Raspberry Beer. Nom nom nom. This reminded me of Weisse mit Schuss (if that’s how it’s spelt) – the fruit flavoured beer I’ve had in Berlin.
Starter: Seafood Cocktail (just scrumptiously delicious, with MASSES of seafood, including mussels, langoustines, and crab) held together with a hint of sauce. And a bottle of Blonde Innis and Gunn.
Main Course: A blue cheese and bacon burger, made with Grierson’s Organic meat, and with gherkins, a sort of mustardy dressing, tomatoes and a wee bit of lettuce. Served with chunky crinkle cut chips and the crispiest onion rings. And an original Innis and Gunn.
Dessert: Gooey Chocolate Brownie, with vanilla ice cream and rich chocolate sauce. Served with the rich dark sweet Rum Cask Innis and Gunn.
And you know what? I don’t really do beer, but I may have been converted! The food was (not surprisingly) amazing. OK, it was burger and chips, but it was a burger and chips like no other. The sesame bun was REAL BREAD, not the usual smooshy pap that you get with a burger; the meat was plentiful and tasty; the extras were perfectly balanced, adding sweet and sharp, and that tangy blue-i-ness of blue cheese. It wasn’t pretentious, it wasn’t overly cheffy, but the chef had brought superb quality and taste to the meal.
The whole event was organised by Aoife, who runs one of Edinburgh’s supper clubs. And she had organised it impeccably – from the bunting, dressing the cafe, to the designer place mats the space may have been a greasy spoon, but yesterday evening it was just a wonderfully warm and happening space. Well done!
So, I’m a fan of guerilla-dining and can’t wait till next month, with Chef Tony Singh and his bangla burger! Bring it on!