Last weekend, David and I went on a festive weekend trip to Edinburgh. We stayed in serviced apartments, went to the Christmas market, and enjoyed two delicious meals out.
Edinburgh’s Christmas markets are amazing. The main one is huge and has 4 different levels – all through Prince’s Street Gardens. There’s stalls selling food and gifts, and there are two bars – one offering a stunning view over the whole setup. The smaller market is on Castle Street and it’s all food and drink stalls where you can grab your lunch, dinner or a cheeky chocolate treat.
We went to both markets on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday the main market was packed, and the enforced one-way system came in handy; although it was still too busy to actually get up to the stalls and see what was on offer. On Sunday morning, it was a lot quieter and we really got to explore and have a few Baileys hot chocolates.
For lunch on Saturday, we went to the quieter stalls on Castle Street. We went to the Lov Raclette stall and had Haggis Bonbons, followed by a traditional Raclette cheese and turkey sandwich with skin-on fries. We were stuffed, but we still managed to squeeze in an epic hot raspberry chocolate brownie with cream from Mimi’s Bakehouse On-The-Go – heavenly!
After all that food and freezing cold weather, we headed back to our apartment to chill out before dinner. We were staying at Braid Apartments by Mansley, on Thistle Street. This is just off Prince’s Street, George Street, Castle Street and St.Andrew’s Square – the hubs of all the Christmas fun and splendor in Edinburgh. These apartments are chic and comfortable, and they all have a full kitchen, as well as a living room and connected bedroom. It’s a great way to get all the services of a hotel, but with the self-catering amenities of an apartment. The reception was also manned 24 hours, so there was always someone on hand if we needed anything.
The bathroom was huge and bright, with a large and powerful shower, as well as luxurious toiletries and towels. We had a really comfortable night’s sleep and we would definitely return again.
For dinner on Saturday night we went to the amazing family-run Taisteal restaurant. This was a new find for us, but we’ll definitely return here for any special meals. The food is high-class modern Scottish with an Asian twist, using the finest local ingredients. It’s actually listed in the Michelin Guide and if you go, you’ll understand why. The flavour combinations are incredible, and everything was cooked to perfection.
For starters we had Pan-Fried Scallops with Satay Sauce, Black Pudding & Pomegranate (£10) and Vanilla, Saffron & Butternut Squash Risotto with Mimolette Cheese and Walnuts (£6.50). I would never have thought of putting black pudding and satay sauce together, but it’s insanely good.
For our main courses we had Grilled Venison with Grilled Artichokes and Wild Mushroom & Truffle Raviolo (£19) and Pan-Fried Hake with Crab Cannelloni, Courgettes and a Brown Butter Crumb (£16). We also shared a Parmesan and Truffle Mash (£6), because who can ever have enough Truffle?!
For dessert we had Chocolate & Peanut Butter Fondant with Peanut Brittle and Hazelnut Ice Cream (£6.50). I always maintain that I don’t like peanut butter, but every time I have it in a dessert, it blows my mind. I think I need to find more ways to combine chocolate and peanut butter! We also had the Salted Caramel Baked Alaska (£6.50), which looked like a work of art and had the most delicious caramel flavour.
For lunch on Sunday, we headed to Indian restaurant Zest for a good curry. The first thing that struck us about this place as soon as we had entered, was how friendly the staff were. They were so proud of the food that they serve there and had a real passion about it. Everything they said came to be true, as the meal was delicious, full of flavour and very filling (as all good Indian meals should be).
We began with Popadoms (95p each) and a Pickle Tray (£1.95). I had pickled anything, but David really enjoyed it. I could happily snack on plain popadoms for days. For our starter, we had Assorted Kebab (£6.95) and Vegetable Pakora (£4.50). The meat was great quality, and it was cooked well and seasoned perfectly. The pakora was deliciously crispy, just as I like it.
For our main course, we shared Parathas (£3.50 each) and Basmati Boiled Rice (£3.25). For curries, we had the Tandoori King Prawn (£17.95), the P297 Special (£11.95) and the Zest Special Lamb Shank (£15.95). The prawns were the largest, plumpest and juiciest that I have had in a long time. The lamb was beautifully tender, and all three of the sauces were so intense in flavour, but not all that spicy at all. You really got to experience all the flavour combinations rather than just being blasted with heat.
We had such a great weekend in Edinburgh, and we would definitely return and visit all of these places again.
Braid Apartments by Mansley, 27 Thistle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DX
Taisteal, 1-3 Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, EH4 1HU
Zest, 15 N St. Andrew Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1HJ
Everything in this post was provided complimentary for review, but all opinions are my own.
You can see more of what i’m loving, and what i’m doing, over on my Instagram.