We wade through food porn and pottage to find Edinburgh’s best food blogs
As an Australian, my native cuisine is limited to kangaroo steak and meat pie floaters (don’t ask).
So perhaps I’m not the best candidate to critique Scottish fare or review Edinburgh restaurants. But the harsh truth is that from an outsider’s perspective, Edinburgh is better known for deep-fried Mars Bars than refined tastes and delicate platters – a truth acknowledged by the best Edinburgh food blogs.
British food is, in fact, notoriously bad, enlivened only by the occasional saving grace from Indian or Thai restaurants. Edinburgh has fared better than most cities however; in recent years, the capital’s food scene has undergone something of a renaissance. A booming tourist and migrant market has led to a flurry of international influences and the rejuvenation of Scottish staples, resulting in Buckfast-infused haggis. And some good stuff, too.
The revitalised dining scene, buoyed by restaurants, pop-up burger bars and home dining clubs, has spawned a raft of food bloggers, like seagulls on a chip. Some are good, some are bad. Some are brilliant. Below, we’ve rounded up ten of the best. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start when you’re after a new recipe or an Edinburgh cafe review.
Eating Edinburgh’s a flash little thing, which makes sense given that its author, Nadine, works in marketing. The site’s easy on the eye, which makes it a pleasure to trawl through the recipes on offer.
The real drawcard, however, is the great selection of local news, events and giveaways. It’s easy enough to find a dozen reviews on the web for any given restaurant you can mention. What sets Eating Edinburgh apart is Nadine’s insider view of the city’s culinary scene, and the top-drawer promotional offers that she runs.
Katey from Edinburgh Eats gets my vote for a couple of reasons: her Coca-Cola cake recipe; her quest to find the best burger in Edinburgh; and this post about baking Snickers Cheesecake for the Domestic Sluts Pudding Club.
The reviews are unpretentious, the recipes celebrate the everyday kitchen, and everything is infused with a sense of fun and a genuine personality behind it all. This is one of those food blogs that I don’t just enjoy reading – it actually makes me want to get into the kitchen or out to some of the cafes reviewed.
The site’s been a bit quiet recently, but there’s a decent backlog of content to get through.
My Monkfish is one of the big guns, and plenty has been written about it elsewhere – from New York Magazine to the BBC, there’s no shortage of plaudits for the site, and it’s easy to see why. Hilary runs a sleek powerhouse of a food blog, one that’s as much a trendsetter as it is a reviewer.
There’s something for everyone here, from an ongoing series on supper clubs to in-depth features and interviews with Edinburgh’s gastronomical elite. My pick for best feature would be the Monkfish Monday – sort of a weekly roundup of articles and reviews.
Edinburghlicious is part of the larger Citylicious group, a network of food blogs from around the world. It’s early days yet, and the rough-and-ready layout reflects that – but the potential in this idea is massive, and I’m definitely keeping an eye on it.
The Edinburghlicious writers have a nicely informal feel to their style. They’re good reviews, no doubt, and they don’t attempt to emulate the Sunday supplements or go for windily overblown ekphrastic descriptions of the orgasms they had with their foamed haggis. They’ve also no qualms about talking down a restaurant when it deserves it, which is refreshing in an age when restaurant criticism, outside of the rage-fuelled Yell.com and TripAdvisor, is almost universally positive.
Make sure to check out their social feeds – with content coming in from Glasgow, London, Europe and the US, there’s always something fresh to gawk at.
Edinburgh Foody is the Germany of food blogs: while not exactly known for excitement, it does a nice line in dependable quality and attention to detail.
Some may say that the Edinburgh Foody doesn’t really try to push the envelope, and they’d be right. The truth is there’s nothing revolutionary here – the design, content and even the title are almost a template for food blogs.
I, however, would posit that that’s actually a good thing. Danielle and Caroline are solid reviewers with an enthusiasm for eating well, backed up by great photography and a knack for sniffing out the most interesting restaurants in town. By stripping back the fripperies, Edinburgh Foody really focuses attention on the most important element of a food blog – the food.
Now this is a bit of an odd one – by all indicators, Scrumptious Scran should be just one more of the thousands of vanity blogs that start up with grand intentions and great fanfare, post two restaurant reviews in the first week followed by another one six months later and then go quiet.
The dark recesses of the internet are littered with blogs like Scrumptious Scran, ignobly collecting the digital equivalent of cobwebs and dust like a more prosaic version of Shelley’s Ozymandias. They don’t disappear – they stick around, which is even sadder.
Chris, the man with the scran, is just another voice in the wilderness. Another mad prophet screaming about the end of days into the teeth of the hurricane. Another brief mote struggling pathetically to be, except he’s a guy from Bruntsfield who likes an egg and bacon morning roll.
This is the food blog you’ve seen a thousand times before, with one difference – the man can actually write.
More pictures of cake than you can shake a stick at, and a host of charity events at which you can go and buy said cakes.
This website gave me diabetes and I have no regrets.
Lunchquest is the big bad wolf of the Edinburgh foody scene – they even have an app, for Christ’s sake – and for a comprehensive database of restaurant and cafe reviews in Edinburgh, you can’t go past them.
They put out an annual guidebook, Top Ten lists, features articles, espresso rankings…but despite having more content than the rest of the blogs here put together, Lunchquest is still, at heart, two writers who enjoy sharing a meal.
So here’s the deal with Jemma Eat World – take a Scot with a healthy interest in eating interesting things; send her round Europe and let her loose on its culinary capitals; receive her dispatches with a mixture of appreciative curiosity and spiteful jealousy.
Although there’s a solid bank of Edinburgh reviews here, Jemma’s currently agisted in sunny Portugal where she reviews Lisbon restaurants for our pleasure. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling around Ireland and Germany and France and I hate her so much.
Enjoy that bittersweet and confusing mix of hunger and envy while reading this one. It’s the worst/best kind of food porn: angry food porn.
Edinburgh Food Girl definitely comes across as the work of an amateur reviewer. That’s not to say the writing’s bad – just that it’s unashamedly personal. It’s blogging as it’s meant to be; the tone feels like I’ve snuck into someone’s house to leaf through their diary and cut pictures out of their family photo albums, except there’s a fair bit more chickenpea and chorizo and it’s not that creepy or illegal.
This is the kind of site that you leaf through on a lazy Sunday afternoon with a pot of tea. It’s a genteel sort of dip into Pamela’s life – like catching up with an old friend – rather than a solemn and serious review of the latest trends in carpaccio or whatever.
Have I missed anyone out? If you’ve got a favourite Edinburgh food blogger, drop us a line in the comments below and I’ll be sure to check them out.
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