"Oh no, THIS isn’t busy”, says our waiter at the new branch of Bread Meats Bread (not to be confused with the unrelated Burger Meats Bun in Forth Street).
“You should see our restaurant in Glasgow, the queue is as long as this, then out the door and down the street”.
Thus, they won’t be taking bookings at their Edinburgh joint, opposite the Usher Hall, so be prepared to try your luck.
I need to take up poker or something, as the odds were in my favour for once; I bagged a table by the door just before a surge of twenty-somethings traipsed in and formed a fidgety crocodile up to the till.
"The burgers are all absolutely packed with stuff, but cleverly so"
Why so popular already? Because digital natives can smell a burger from a mile away. This is a place for the young, who imagine that they will never be touched by muffin tops and imminent cardiac arrest. If you’re doing Weight Watchers or the 5:2 this January, forget it.
We felt wild when ordering the Edinburgh equivalent of their Glasgow diner’s signature Wolf of St Vincent Street burger. The suitably named Lothian Wolf (£10) was an utter beast.
Housed in a perfectly domed toasted brioche bun and skewered through the top with a wooden pick like a tent pole propping up an oversized marquee was a faintly pink chargrilled inch-thick patty, a mound of soft and sweet pulled pork slathered in barbecue sauce, a couple of melting blankets of orange cheese, squares of bacon, crunchy trimmings of onion and a slick of spicy nduja mayo.
It tasted good, of course it did, though I could only manage half before this overwhelmingly huge meat sandwich started giving me the sweats. Our other burgers were equally decent.
They’re all absolutely packed with stuff, but cleverly so, with layers of flavours rather than just a big wad of lard.
The Spartan (£7.50) burger had been chosen from their Red Label list, which meant that there were nibs of gently hot nduja Calabrian sausage in alongside the minced Scotch beef.
A layer of tzatziki was the balm to any burn from a scattering of chilli flakes and the harissa spiked mayo, and there were tomato and pepperoni slices.
I suppose our BBQ pulled lamb (£8) number was the sophisticate’s option, with sugary tart pomegranate glazed shredded lamb and roasted pepper mayo, as well as crispy fried onions, all of which contrasted with a layer of feral crumbled feta on the inner bottom of the bun.
The portions of skinny chips are absolutely massive. Our lovely and chatty waiter’s eyes had widened when we originally attempted to order three lots, and thought we might sample a portion of poutine as well. “Too much,” he’d said, kindly not trying to upsell.
We went for two – the bright orange caramelised sweet potato fries with maple syrup, cayenne pepper and coconut (£3.50), which I found a bit American in a bad way, like some kind of candied Thanksgiving veg.
Better with lots of salt. While the bacon chips (£4) was another ridiculous splurge, as it featured a pile of frites that had been tarred and feathered by a huge drift of “spicy beefy mayo” and three handfuls of postage-stamp sized pieces of crispy bacon.
We punctuated this feast with a round of fresh fruit salads. I joke. For pudding, there are doughnuts from North Berwick’s Bostock Bakery.
We shared two sugar-powdered and puffy creations – a lemon and cinnamon and a chocolate hazelnut (£2.50 each) – both of which put the oh in doughnuts.
Good stuff, and worth the inevitable junk food/salt hangover.
The staff are also worth a mention, especially the unflappable checked-shirted man with the beard who served us, you know who you are.
Yeah, so expect a queue down Lothian Road to develop. Let’s hope you’re in luck.
Lunch for three, excluding drinks, £38
92 Lothian Rd, Edinburgh EH3 9BE
(0131 225 3000, breadmeatsbread.com)