Scotsman Review
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  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
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May 15, 2015

Six of the best cooked breakfasts in Edinburgh

Fry ups in Edinburgh are in plentiful supply, but the capital's best cooked breakfasts make them with plenty of love as well as oil, as Ray Philp finds

A truism: hangovers are unpleasant. But if you live in Edinburgh, you’re better equipped than most to deal with them. The capital abounds with places that serve hearty fry ups, and the capital’s culinary options are such that healthy(ish) alternatives exist, too. No longer the preserve of the greasy spoon, fry ups are a staple of most breakfast menus in town. Better still, no matter how fancy the pub or cafe you find yourself in on a bleary Sunday, the core ingredients are usually the same. Few bets are safer.

Snax Cafe

15 West Register Street, EH2 2AA, 0131 557 8688

Most people refer to Snax Cafe as a “hidden gem”, but that’s not quite right. A sandwich board on the east end of Princes Street, which has probably been there for as long as the paving slabs beneath it, points passers-by to the boxy, bunker-ish cafe on West Register Street. Its reputation these days is equally prominent – you’ll see oblong-suited businesspeople, men in paint-splattered overalls, and glassy-eyed students shuffling leftwards towards their breakfasts. Open seven days a week, Snax Cafe offers a comprehensive, belly-busting meal for under a fiver – making it one of the cheapest options in the capital.

Royal McGregor

Royal Mile Backpackers, 105 High Street, EH1 1QS, 0131 225 7064

The Royal McGregor, on the city’s Royal Mile, has a breakfast menu that could satisfy the finnickiest, selfie stick-jousting tourist. Besides its fry up, you can order porridge, French toast, or a “healthy” option (but you’re not interested in that right now, obviously). A whisky bar in the evening, the Royal McGregor is a modest but well-regarded fixture of the Royal Mile, a thoroughfare whose culinary reputation is otherwise patchy. Its enthusiastic online reviews, one of which once proclaimed it to be the "best fry up in Edinburgh," are testament to its popularity.


6A Nicolson Street, EH8 9DH, 0131 557 4567

Spoon is a spacious and serene cafe that overlooks Nicolson Street’s milieu of harried students and double-decker buses on its first-floor premises. Their breakfast menu has something for everyone – croissants, fruit salad with almonds, and porridge – and their fry up option has a contemporary, but controversial twist: the traditional tattie scone makes way for chips. A bold move, certainly, but it hasn’t deterred the area’s students and young professionals from sidling along its neat wooden benches and tables to enjoy its generous plates of stodge. You can also get a very decent eggs Benedict there (which, for an extra quid, comes with ham).

The Edinburgh Larder

15 Blackfriars Street, EH1 1NB, 0131 556 6922

The Edinburgh Larder Cafe prides itself on its locally sourced produce – its cheeses, meats and beers are all made by Scottish producers, and even its tea and coffee has a local stamp on it. Its scrambled eggs and salmon are highly thought of, and its traditional, on-the-nose fry up is, going by its preference for Scottish produce, guaranteed to be good. The six-year-old Edinburgh Larder Cafe on Blackfriars Street – there’s also a bistro in Alva Street – has a great selection of cakes and scones, too, making it a great all-rounder.

The King’s Wark

36 Shore, EH6 6QU, 0131 554 9260

The King’s Wark, at the heart of the Shore, offers a a regular cooked breakfast for a keenly-priced £5.50, but its alternatives are truly eye-catching. The upgraded breakfast includes: sausage, bacon, egg, black pudding, haggis, tattie scone, tomato, mushrooms, beans and fried tatties – as comprehensive a fry up as you could imagine. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, the rib-eye steak breakfast is a meant to be a treat, too. It’s only served on Sunday, though, so plan ahead – it gets busy.

The Drake, Glasgow, restaurant review - reasonably priced Sunday roast in cosy surroundings


23/24 Sandport Place, EH6 6EW, 0131 476 5268

Just up the road from The King’s Wark is the Roseleaf, another Leith institution. Its innovative breakfast/brunch menu is a sight for bloodshot eyes: alongside the traditional fare, the pea smash and poached eggs dish looks promising, if only because the inclusion of something green will take the edge off your guilt as well as your hangover. The eggs Benedict, which comes in six varieties, looks like a must-try, too.

Ray Philp has been at the Scotsman since 2011. Since then, he has written widely about music in magazines such as Red Bull Music Academy Magazine and Resident Advisor, and was a former editor and regular contributor at The Skinny magazine.
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