Cafe/Sandwich Shop
5 East Fountainbridge

Since the turn of the century, Edinburgh, like most major cities, has succumbed to a severe outbreak of sandwichitis.  On every corner of every street, and at regular intervals in between, a minefield of ankle-catching sandwich boards promise artisan bread, fresh coffee, home bakes and salad boxes, if you would only care to step inside and expect scant change from a tenner.  Compared to the eating options of a decade ago (pie shops, McDonalds or Wimpy with its bolted-down tables), this has got to be viewed as progress.  However, what was once a refreshing alternative amid a sea of cholesterol-laden stodge has now become the norm.  How do you decide which identikit eatery to spend your lunch money on?  Well, you could do worse than turn to Edinburgh Uncovered for some measured advice.  We’ve eaten in all the horrible sandwich shops so that you don’t have to, because we’re nice like that.  Thankfully for all concerned, Scoff is distinctly better than its nomenclature would suggest, even if the name most certainly is to be scoffed at.  A word of advice to any aspiring sandwich shop owners: whatever you do, don’t name your healthy-eating establishment after anything gluttonous – Fatso’s, Get Stuffed, Porkies and Scoff are all definitely off the menu.

The shop’s main claim to fame is that it belongs to an isosceles-shaped block known as the Pubic Triangle in homage to its numerous strip clubs.  The only flesh you’ll find in here however is of the porcine sort.  On aesthetics alone, Scoff steals a march on its competitors thanks to its cosy interior, epitomised by the warm cushions festooned across the seating area and even on the walls.  It also receives bonus points for sporting a set of bead curtains leading through to the kitchen, the sort that were declared extinct circa 1985.  Another nice touch is the tub of hand sanitizer stationed beside the condiments, which facilitates queue-skipping by dint of time saved on hand washing.  After peeing, simply zip up, dash to Scoff and then sanitize your filthy paws while your order’s being prepared.

As well as the usual sandwich shop offerings, Scoff also serves warm salads and a selection of hot dishes including lasagne, fish & chips and pasta.  Call us old-fashioned, but we prefer our curry served by Indians, our pasta by Italians and our Lorne sausage by Poles.  Why become proficient at everything when you can be great at just a few things?  Scoff’s ultimate eccentricity however is its vinyl-stocked shelf that groans under the weight of Motown.  The cafe’s slow service can probably be attributed to the staff stopping every five minutes to change the record, pausing for contemplation as they hold each disc up to the light and admire its coruscating grooves of analogue beauty.

The paninis, when they finally arrive, are ridiculously good – made on proper ciabatta and fatter than a cannibal killer on a ten-day binge.  Unfortunately, the soup that accompanies them is thinner than a convicted cannibal killer on hunger strike.  For the sheer doughy goodness of its sandwiches however, Scoff deserves the contents of our wallets, just as our bellies deserve the contents of Scoff.

Try:  The paninis.

Avoid: The soup.

Useless information: In the 1980s, the term Paninari was coined to describe fashion-fixated, self-obsessed youths who liked to be seen meeting and eating in sandwich shops.  Today we call them Starbucks customers.

Sample Prices:

£1.20 roll with one filling
£1.50 doubler
£3.50 soup and panini
£2.99 sandwich, drink & snack deal
Selection of hot and cold drinks, crisps, confectionery etc.