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Five of the best nibbles in Edinburgh

Five of the best nibbles in Edinburgh

Sometimes life’s little pleasures come in the form of bar bites and sides. Forget about your pre-summer diets and settle in with any (or all) of my favourites from across the city. 

 

Ting Thai Caravan
8-9 Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2RA, 0131 225 9801. Open Mon-Sun noon-11pm.
The sweet potato crispies from Ting Thai Caravan are a wonderful thing to behold; in fact, when I choose to ignore my calorie compass, I can happily wolf down a couple of bowls of these in one sitting. Also known as mun tod, this Thai street food fritter is made using sweet potato in a coconut and tapioca flour batter and served with sweet chilli sauce. The service here is fast, you can’t book and it’s cash only, which works perfectly, as at £1.80 per portion they’re great value and take mere moments to eat. 

 

The Bon Vivant
55 Thistle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DY, bonvivantedinburgh.co.uk, 0131 225 3275. Open Mon-Sun noon- 1am.
Before moving to Edinburgh properly, my visits from London were always marked with a welcome back glass of vino and haggis bonbons from Bon V. There was something almost ritualistic about getting off the train and walking down cobbled Thistle Street before entering a bustling, candle-lit wine bar for an albeit slightly idealistic taste of Scotland. The bonbons themselves are made using a mixture of half haggis, half black pudding (black haggis), from Campbells, a traditional Scottish butchers, and served with tart apple sauce. If you’re wary of haggis and/or black pudding, then these are great wee steps in the right direction at £2 each - which is never enough, by the way!

 

El Cartel
64 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1EN, elcartelmexicana.co.uk, 0131 226 7171. Open Mon-Sun noon-10pm.
Hop over the road from The Bon Vivant and you will find El Cartel, or more importantly, their ‘Bombers’ – cornmeal-coated jalapeno and cream cheese with chipotle sauce. Once a rather gaudy Tex Mex, El Cartel has somehow made Mexican food pretty classy, with unbelievably moreish bites, edgy ‘day of the dead’ style interiors and a few strategically placed cactuses. Banging bombers cost £4 for three and, as I recently discovered, go really rather well with one (or more) of their fruity frozen margaritas.

 

Spit/Fire
26b Dublin Street, Edinburgh EH3 6NN, spitfirebars.com, 0131 556 5967. Open Mon-Thurs noon-1am, Fri noon-2am, Sat 10.30am- 2am, Sun 10.30am-1am.
Bar bites should, by nature, be a little bit naughty, and I can think of none naughtier than the deep fried pickles at Spit/Fire. Located in what was a rather infamous drinking den, Fire – the dark, downstairs bar to Spit’s light and bright dining room – is cosy and cavernous, with plenty of bolt-holes to quaff craft beers and chow down on £3 pickles coated in batter made using pale ale, with lashings of mustard and ketchup. Simple, no nonsense, and often devoured at the end of the night – luckily, if you make a mess it’s likely to be too dark to see! 

 

Maki & Ramen
10 West Richmond Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DX. Open Mon-Sun noon-10pm.
Stumbling across Maki & Ramen on a wet and windy Monday night was an absolute godsend; as if hot noodle soup on a pretty bleak Edinburgh evening wasn’t perfect enough, I also found their lip-smackingly good pork gyoza. I’m no gyoza expert, but I have sampled a fair few in my time, and am usually left rather disappointed by a meager amount of filling, made worse by thick (almost rubbery) dough. Not this time – with a generous, moist filling encased in paper-thin dough, my faith in this humble Asian bite has been restored. They come with a sweet soy dressing and cost £2.80 for three.

Alright Treacle is a supper club that operates from an Edinburgh city centre location. Their next events include a Signature Supper on Friday May 29 and Elderflower Power on Saturday June 13 - visit alright-treacle.com for more info and booking, or get in touch @alrighttreacles.

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