Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
Ambiance
8/10
Food
8/10
Total
0%
April 6, 2024

Bundits x Porty Vault, Edinburgh - bao buns pop-up at Portobello's sour beer taproom

They’ll be in this seaside location until the end of May

I’ve got a dusty can of Vault City Brewing’s sour beer in my cupboard.

It’s been there for about two years, and I’m scared to open it.

The idea of this drink gives me flashbacks to my alcopop years, and, so, that poor old tinny is neglected.

However, there was no shirking of the genre on my first visit to this Edinburgh brewer’s pub in Portobello.

Well, I was hardly going to ask for a glass of Prosecco, was I?

As part of their drinks flights, I tried mini third-of-a-pint beakers and shot glass tasters of colourful potions including Iron Brew, Kirsch of Life (dark chocolate and morello cherry), Triple Fruit Mango, one that tastes like Skittles, and another that was similar to a fruity kombucha.

It was a whirlwind of tangy nutty professor flavours, all of which quickly converted me to this modern sour beer thing.

Bundits x Porty Vault

I needed less convincing when it came to the food, which is courtesy of a kitchen takeover from one of my favourites, hirata bun purveyors, Bundits, who will be in residence here, offering dinner Wednesday to Sunday, until the end of May.

It’s nice for them to have an extended presence, since their standalone Leith venue recently closed down.

Although they’re still one of the vendors in Edinburgh Street Food at the Omni, this venue seems like an even more natural partnership. They have other plans too, with a potential new outlet in the pipeline, and they’ll be adding brunch to the Porty Vault menu from April 7.

Edinburgh's Ragu is very similar to Glasgow restaurant, Sugo, but is that a bad thing?

For fans, the menu features lots of Bundits greatest hits.

It wasn’t our first rodeo. We’ve had the Korean fried chicken bao and their braised short rib versions before, and, back when I reviewed their original branch during lockdown takeaway days, we were in raptures over the salt and pepper king oyster mushroom number.

Instead, this time, we tried the prawn katsu (£6.50), which featured one of their plump, soft and fluffy baos, as pale as Marilyn Manson, and filled with chopped iceberg lettuce, sweet chilli sauce and a hot patty of feathery battered mashed prawn. We downed it, then moved onto the punchy and rich Szechuan lamb bao (£6.50), with meat that was doused in black garlic mayo and pickled sesame.

There is also a selection of small plates, and we went for the house pickles (£3.50) option, which consists of crispy-fried-onion topped pink and vinegary chunks of daikon, and the miso cucumber with a silky pine nut and sesame dressing (£4.50). The acidity gave my salivary glands the best workout they’ve had since I ate a whole jar of capers in one sitting.

Our hero dish of the night was probably the salt and pepper oyster mushrooms (£6.50), in a crumbly mouse-coloured batter, with a few shreds of pickled carrot on top and a ramekin of roasted garlic mayo on the side. 

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As far as sides go, we’d been a bit basic by choosing a poke of straight-out-of-the-fryer skinny chips (£4), which were made addictive thanks to a tub of their umami gravy and more of that intensely garlicky mayo.

There is just one pudding available, if you manage to get that far. It’s an example of a dessert from the Bundits team’s other business, SoftCore, which offers soft serve ice-cream, hot chocolate, coffee and cookies, and is also located in Edinburgh Street Food.

It’s a stonker of a hyper sweet boost, with a base of warm and fudgy chocolate pecan cookie dough, and a large scoop of miso ice-cream on top. Sharing this between two would be satisfactory. We got one each and I couldn’t finish mine, though I’m still grieving over what I left behind.

All the Bundits food, in its salty and bold richness, works really well with the sour beer. They have some suggested drinks pairings available, though we just went freestyle. 

So, it’s a pity they’re only here for a good time, rather than a long time, as they seem like a match made in heaven.

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Thanks to them, I think I’m one step closer to dusting off that can.

243 Portobello High Street, Portobello, Edinburgh, UK
243 Portobello High Street, Portobello, Edinburgh, UK, EH15 2AW
0131 609 0810
Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
Ambiance
8/10
Drinks
8/10
Food
8/10
Service
8/10
Value
9/10
Total
0%
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