Monday, 11 March 2013


Whilst traveling I realised how little of England we had really seen, my partner is actually half Scottish, and I’m quarter Irish but neither of us have visited either. We had the idea to see Edinburgh once we had come home and got jobs but delayed it until February for my partner’s birthday. Last year we were in Vietnam, the year before Chicago...I like this tradition.
I had been told by everyone that it’s a lovely place to visit, and your first trip there is amazing.
 Day 1
We arrived in Edinburgh at lunch time, feeling pretty sleepy after getting up so early for the flight. Having a cold didn’t help as I couldn’t pop my ears. I went about 24 hours without being able to hear properly, it was really embarrassing as I would whisper instead of talk and looked like a dear in the headlights when someone spoke to me. We checked into our hotel and along the way found ourselves visually stunned by the Castle erupting out of the ground.
For lunch we found a nice café which I had seen on Happy Cow; Henderson’s at St Johns, which was the name of the church grounds it was attached to. We both had a really tasty lunch, I had a coconut chickpea curry with Rice and Mr Dada had Lentil Falafel. They had lots of vegan options, but you sometimes would have to ask for the dish to be made vegan. The atmosphere reminded me of being in a cathedral café, very pleasant the kind of place you go for tea and scones, similar to Salisbury, or Winchester.
Lentil Falafel

Cocnut and Chickpea Curry
As it was a rainy day, we though we would visit the National Gallery, thankfully we were just in time for the Turner Exhibition, as it was the very last day it was open. The pieces were amazing, I love his work especially the waterscapes, but really enjoyed seeing some of his mountain range watercolours which reminded me of trekking in Nepal.
For dinner we went to the Wagamama near our hotel as it was late and very cold, I had my usual Yasai Itame soup, which I’m pretty addicted to; I blogged about it during Vegan MoFo.
Day 2
It was Mr Dada’s birthday, we grabbed some breakfast on the way to the Castle, it was a bit rainy again and cold, but we tagged on to the free tour and learn lots of history. We warmed up with a tea and coffee in their cute tea rooms opposite where Monarchs have been born. They had soya milk to add to my 3 cup pot for one of earl grey, yum! At 1pm we rushed to see the canon fire, it was surprisingly loud considering every other day after that we couldn’t hear it, even if we were on the royal mile or Princes Street.
Mmm Tea

Non-Vegan latte, but worth putting in for the cool flag!
For lunch we went to the Vegetarian and Vegan Baked Potato shop, I had seen this on Vegan in Brighton’s instagram and blog, and it didn’t disappoint. I am a bit of a baked potato addict, (Irish blood?)
Haggis and tofu salad Jacket Potato
 Here the potatoes come in 3 sizes; small, medium and large, but the large is 3 potatoes, so way too much food! I had hot vegan Haggis and bean with tofu salad, Mr Dada had Haggis beans and sour cream. The haggis was like a mound of oaty steamed veggie burger. I also grabbed a slice of walnut and date cake. There isn’t much seating in the cafe at all, so we shared the bench with a Spanish lady and her child and I got to practice what I’m learning in my weekly class.
Date and Walnut cake and Choc Milk
We bought some Veggie Haggis on our last day from the Sainsbury’s near our hotel to eat once we got back to Basingstoke.
For dinner we went to Bella Italia, because we couldn’t decide where to eat after such a big and late lunch.
Day 3
We had breakfast at St Johns before meating up with Mike and Linda, two friends we first met in Nepal and then again in India who have recently moved to Edinburgh. Together we went to find the Saturday market, where me and Linda talked endlessly about food, as we are both such foodies.
We had a running joke whilst travelling together about Linda eating Muesli for every meal, and at the market she headed straight for the local Oat seller. The Engine Shed also had a stand at the market, they are a charitable organisation who helps to employ people with disabilities and make their own tofu in house! I bought some Vegan Cottage cheese Tofu, made with all of 5 ingredients, but tasted amazing! They also sold Hummus, which Linda bought, and Vegan oatcakes and cookies. I would have liked to buy some of their tofu or smoked tofu too.
Tofu Cottage cheese, so good!
For lunch our friends suggested a really nice (and well heated) café on the corner down a side street with nice art work on the walls. It was called Foodies, I asked about vegan options and as with most of Edinburgh was met with helpful informed advice, rather than a blank expression. I ordered a huge lunch, which I shared, of tomato and bean soup and a falafel toasties, the falafel and hummus and sauce in it was really tasty!
Soup and toastie
After lunch we walked up the first (not highest) point of Arthur’s seat, maybe Arthurs foot stool. None of us were prepared for this walk, Mike was still carrying the porridge and Linda was in heeled boots, but it was the sunniest day in Edinburgh for weeks, so we made the most of it.

For dinner we visited Henderson Restaurant, we ordered off the hot plate menu, but regretted it as I think the freshly prepared food looked a lot better. We had a bean burger with well-dressed salad olives and potato wedges.
Day 4
The Highland tour. Lunch was provided which was surprisingly good; we both went for the hummus sandwich. There were 4 options 3 of which were vegetarian! Along the journey I was eating my Engine Shed Cottage cheese with Scottish oatcakes, Mmm!
Opposite Lock Ness
The tour its self really reminded me of being on the Kiwi bus in New Zealand, the driver would talk as we went along and point things out, like Stirling castle and the William Wallace monument. As well as describing how historically inaccurate Brave Heart is. At sights of scenic beauty, he would pull over and give us time to take a few photos. We were lucky in that one of the peaks which is usually clouded over was clear as we came past. We drove past Ben Nevis, which isn’t clear to the summit many days in the year. The tour got us to a very famous Loch, where we went on a boat ride; we didn’t see any monsters but did see some very brave mountain goats that were clinging on to the hillside for dear life. The Bus ride back into the Capital was filled by a mini history of the oldest pub, Grey Friar’s dog; Bobby and Burke and Hare.
Day 5
In the morning we walked in the awful hailing weather to find The Chocolate Tree. We ordered hot choc; mine was soya and Mr Dada had white hot chocolate, if that wasn’t rich enough we then both ordered some cake.
Richest Cake in the world!

Gluten Free Non-Vegan Cake

Having previously seen photos of the vegan slice, I couldn’t believe it was not finish able, but wow it was so rich, like eating a cake made of truffles, it was so gorgeous, and I wanted to finish it but my breakfast cake appetite isn’t what it used to be. I saw that they also had loads of sorbets including my favourite and most missed flavour mint choc chip, they advertised that this could be made into a milkshake (next time!)
The dessert display and sorbets
After this we went back to the centre to see some of the sights including the oldest pub, the police museum and the spot where they would publicly hang people.
Later that night we met up with our travel friends for a coffee and catch up, they are so lucky to have relocated to Edinburgh, and I hope everything goes well for them.                  
Day 6
Peppery Haggis Crisps
We had a lay in and enjoyed the last few hours in Scotland, we went to Hendersons at St Johns for tea and cake before jumping on the air shuttle bus and flying home with out tasty snacks in our hand luggage.
So amazed at the great vegan food in Edinburgh, so much choice, and really tasty and healthy options everywhere. Its a real cafe city, and I loved having a cuppa Tea and cake and soaking up the peaceful atmosphere.