Scotsman Review
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September 8, 2020

Wanderers Kneaded, Edinburgh, restaurant review

Experience the edible Kardashian of pizza at Edinburgh's Wanderers Kneaded, says Gaby Soutar


It’s best not to have a party trick, or you’ll have to do a dolphin impression wherever you go.
Same with signature songs and dishes. Black Lace must have got to the point of Agadont and Mary Berry is probably Victoria-sponged out.


Sometimes you can be too good at something. Wanderers Kneaded are a good case in point. Will they ever be able to take Surf and Turf off the menu?


This creation, topped by guanciale-wrapped king prawns and pesto, is the pizza everyone wants. It’s the edible Kardashian and viral TikTok dance of social media.


We’ve made a few pilgrimages to satisfy our craving over lockdown and beyond. If there has been a signature food of the last few months, it’s been pizza, up there with home-baked sourdough and banana bread.


To survive this awful period for restaurants and businesses, they set up a Drive Thru’ with collection slots.

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Now they’re back for regular walk-up orders, from noon until 8pm, and they’ve currently extended their opening hours so they’re open from Wednesday to Saturday.


Despite their popularity, the socially distanced queues always seem manageable on our visits, and the wait is never longer than 10 minutes. However, before you tramp though The Meadows, making the grass slippy with your expectant salivating, it’s best to check their Instagram for updates.


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We’ve had a couple of Wanderers Kneaded rendezvous scuppered by a stinking Met Office forecast. They’re like a Gremlin in their complicated relationship with water.


Weather permitting, you’ll find them at the concrete and grass triangular island in-between Meadow Place and Marchmont Road.


Try not to mill around in the cycle lane and get taken out by a Deliveroo biker, while waiting for your order. That’d be ironic.

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It’s round here that we fought over who should have the favourite.


In the end, the nieces won, because of their cute faces. I wish I had the authority to ground them. I used to be a kind auntie, but since this incident I’m not far off Miss Trunchbull.


Nonetheless, we put in the order for two Surf and Turfs (£7.50 each).


Each was topped with the meaty pink croissants that were six mouse-sized prawns in sleeping bags, a thick layer of mozzarella, vibrant orange sugo and dots of mossy green pesto. Their wood-fired sourdough bases had dappled crusts like python skin and a crisp and chewy lightness.


The size of these pizzas is a bit smaller than your average 16 incher. Think serving plate rather than bin lid. I prefer that, as it helps you dodge post carb catatonia and a soupçon of guilt.


One of us had gone for the white pizza, Don’t tell the Countryman (£7.50), which featured slivers of pear and a handful of honey roasted walnuts, making for sweetness that was tempered by tangy gorgonzola dolce. Such a beauty, even though I don’t get the pun. Maybe Pitch Pearfect would have been better?


I don’t understand the telly-themed name of Never Too Late to Break Bad (£7.50) either.


But who cares, when you have a smoky mixture of blistered and bouncy melted scamorza cheese, ladles of tomatoey and wet stewed pulled pork (not that horrible feathery dry stuff) as well as some blanched and earthy spinach. It would be hard to manufacture anything so lovely, even if you dedicated an entire lab to it.


Our last option – Kale is the New Black (£7.50) – featured sugo, frilly edged bits of kale that had been marinated in chilli and garlic, as well as strips of guanciale and a gratin of grana padano as well as the mozzarella.


Since our visit, there have also been lots of limited edition specials, like one with nduja, figs and an albatross-egg-sized blob of pure white burrata, as well as another topped by pastrami, wheat beer sauerkraut and boozy Russian sauce.


I’m definitely not averse. It’s nice to try new things and we felt like our last visit helped ease us out of our Surf and Turf rut, even though it will always be our ultimate true love.


Bah. An early night for you, children. n



Meadow Place, Edinburgh
Instagram: @wandererskneaded

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.
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