The leafy garden at the heart of Edinburgh Uni’s historic Old Town campus will be a bit busier than usual this year, as perennial residents Assembly are being joined by Underbelly and their big purple cow (relocated while their usual Bristo Square spot undergoes refurbishment). The street food on offer promises once again to be a smorgasbord of international options, from the local (Alanda’s Scottish Seafood Grill) to the more exotic (Bangkok’s Pad BKK). Oh, and they also have an Elvis-themed burger stand.
Usually praised for its buzzing atmosphere and its status as star-spotting central, this year’s Pleasance Courtyard menu features gourmet sausages (including lamb mojito and pork, Irn-Bru & sweet chilli), pulled pork rolls, falafel and a packed lunch beach hut in the kids’ zone – think hot ciabatta paninis and summer-themed sandwiches and wraps.
If the Pleasance Courtyard is the populist heart of the Fringe, Summerhall – an old veterinary college turned adventurous arts venue unafraid of avant-garde programming – is its psychedelic cerebral cortex. It’s here you can hobnob with the artsy types while munching on leftfield street foods like crispy fried rabbit or venison pastrami from Rost Eats, followed by dessert from mobile crème brulee vendors The Crema Caravan (not to mention the venue’s year-round Royal Dick bar and Summerhall Café).
By far the swankiest pop-up on our radar, the Pommery Bar is a recurring face at the Festivals, occupying the historic Signet Library from August 3-31. The bar sells a decidedly swagnificent selection of champagnes and cocktails, but the food menu is where the real decadence starts: this year’s star attraction is a whole lobster with home made potato wedges, while the rest of the menu features Aberdeen Angus burgers and sharing platters plus breakfast and afternoon tea options.