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Julie Morrice samples Edinburgh’s best in that great institution, the greasy caff.
Three Coins. Tollcross
Keeping Formica manufacturers and heart surgeons in business, the ubiquitous ‘caff‘ is alive and well. Health fads and hamburger chains may come and go. We know what we like. The average continental may lunch in the sort ofeatery which gourmets discover with something akin to rapture; but the Great British Stomach eats its fill in a dingy cafe, where sauces come strictly in bottles, and you can have anything you like long as it‘s chips.
The posh have long known the delights ofslumming it in caffs. Many a shift-worker of the Twenties would find his elbow-space invaded by silk-clad debs. simply ravenous after a night on the town.
These days, debs are few and far between (or rather we don’t call them that any more), but anyone frying bacon at half past one on Sunday morning is sure to attract crowds away from the kebab shop.
The cachet ofsitting down to sausage, bacon and eggs in the small hours is undiminished.
In Edinburgh, many still mourn the passing of the Royal Mile Cafe’, that paragon ofexcellence where the sauce bottles were ever empty, and three generations ofgrease threatened to bring the polystyrene ceiling tiles downto earth with a squelch. Connoisseurs will remember the careful Saturday morning angling for the table in the window upstairs, whose proud possessor could enjoy unparallclled views down the Mile, and almost enough light to cat by.
Unable to beat the Royal Mile for squalor, there are, nevertheless. some likely establishments where you can fill upon filled rolls and grills (surely the greatest misnomer of all time) at a fraction of the price of anything else you care to mention.
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Alan Taylor considers news on Sundays.
Now that the Scotsman has proved it can get along without journalists I suppose other papers will follow suit. I‘m told Sunday Sport. with which I'm sure you‘re familiar. has a mere ten hacks all ofwhom are highly qualified judges ofwet T-shirt contests. As yet I have not set eyes on this estirnatable organ. I must get hold of a copy. though I suspect in Musselburgh it‘s the early worm that gets the bird. By the time I reach the newsagents only the heavies are still stacked high. I buy them but rarely do I get beyond the sports pages. The other parts are no go areas patrolled by women who've read Jane Fonda and who spend mornings at home
pedalling an exercise bike. And the men are such prats. None of them ever seem to go to the pub. have sex or watch football. You get the impression that a few of us are doing all the work while the rest of the population is mooning about Next looking for a lifestyle.
Then there are those interminable interviews with actors and actresses. Most of them seem to think that because they spend all their time being someone else they have the right to pontificate on the state of the world. I‘d rather have nipples than them anyway. but it‘s a poor choice. Real news is hard to find. Most newspaper men now would rather be smart than give information. That‘s
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at something less than £2. but to give some sort of price comparison. I costed a cup of tea and a bacon roll in each. Prices vary less than atmosphere in these family-run cafes. Jinty and Jose’s on Leith Walk has a lot going for it in the person of ‘the wee fat lady‘ in the pink overall. the grey-haired mammas in Wayfarers lend it a timeless charm. and Larry’s just wouldn't be Larry‘s without Larry behind the counter.
O Brattesani 85/87 Newington Road. 667 5553. Mon—Sat 9.30am—l 1pm; Sun Noon—11pm. Fairly intimate booths for that romantic dinner a deux. Good chip shop fare.
(Cup ofTea 30p. Bacon Roll 65p)
0 CaIé Maria 79 Dalry Road. 337 7650. Mon—Sat 9am—6. 15pm. Busy. Supremely noisy coffee machine. (20p.40p)
o Cappuccino 15 Salisbury Place. 667 4265. Mon—Sat 9am—8pm. Worth a visit to examine the staggering chocolate selection in adjoining shop.
O Drummond Café 10 Drummond Street. 556 2306. Mon—Sat 8am—6pm. Haunt of taxi-drivers and mothers with pushchairs. but excellent value.
o Jinty and Jose's Restaurant 277 Leith Walk. Mon—Sun 6.3(lam—6pm (winter), 7 or 8pm (summer). A good laugh. Very friendly.
0 Kingfisher Restaurant 71 Bread Street. 229 3028. Mon—Sun 9am—lam. Notoriously slow service. but at that time of night who's complaining?
O Larry’s Diner 26 Nicolson Street. 667 5712. Mon—Sat 7am—5.45pm. The smallest cafe in the world? Try a mini grill — they forgot to put it on the new menu. but it‘s the best.
particularly true ofsports writers who spend a couple of paragraphs flexing their metaphors before getting down to the story.
Oh. to have John Rafferty back. He stayed frisky until the end (which came much too soon) but then he arrived late in the street ofshame from the chalk face. Perhaps that‘s the key. All journalists ought to be over 40 and have lived a bit before they‘re allowed to don a dirty mac. 1 never met Rafferty but I‘m told he was not one to suffer fools gladly. I Ie had an acid tongue and an ego to match. His forte was match. reporting; he would not have been much interested in what (ilenn Hoddle had for breakfast or who was curling little Mo's locks. He tended to ignore the mid-week tittle tattle. the verbiage that fills the columns between games. In his Scotsman columns. transfers were blithely forgotten. even those destined for the Guinness Book ochcords. He took the view that if he did not report it. it hadn‘t happened. He was in a class of his own during the World
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0 Scotmid 52 Nicolson Street. 229 2424. Mon—Sat 9am—5.3(Ipm. Closed Tuesdays. The perfect antidote to Fortnum & Mason. Four escalators up with lots of laughs en route. (26p.45p)
0 Stu-Pots 29 West Maitland Street. Haymarket. 225 3199. Mon—Fri 8am—6pm; Sat 9am—6pm. Sixties‘ coffee bar chic. but minus the sulky teenage staff since it changed from Marty‘s Grill. Friendly. good service.
0 Three Coins Snack Bar 19 Home Street. Tollcross. 229 7734. Mon—Sat 9am—7pm. Seems tiny. but there‘s a ‘sitting room‘ through the back. Interesting decor.
0 Tower Transport Cafe 2 Constitution Street. Leith. 553 3981. Mon—Fri 6am—l 1pm; Sat and Sun 7am— 1 pm. The genuine article. Pool table. Shields and banners made to order for your truck. Try the haggis rolls. (18p.32p)
o Vittoria Restaurant and Coffee House 113—] 15 Brunswick Street. 5566171. Mon—Sat lllam—midnight; Sun midday—midnight. Biggest and best. Not cheap. but what chips!
0 Waterloo Calé 9 Waterloo Place. 556 2832. Mon—Sat 7am—4.3(lpm. When the Housing Department gets you down. this is the best place to cultivate a depression.
0 Wayfarers 53 Clerk Street. 667 6116. Mon—Sat 9.3(lam—9pm; Wed 9.3(lam—6pm; Sun 2—9pm. Spotless and friendly. with wonderful Italian ladies behind the counter.
NEXT ISSUE: GLASGOW GREASE SPOTS
Cup. When Scotland played Zaire the anticipated goal rush was slow in coming. Flame-haired and frustrated Billy Bremner spurted for goal but fell foul of a centre-back who looked as if he could karate conifers. As Bremner writhed on the ground. Rafferty commented. "I‘here's teak in those black bodies.’ Thank God Brent Council didn‘t catch sight of that.
Such flashes are rare these days. particularly since IIugh McIlviolence crossed the pond and has taken to writing about American football. Maybe his brother Willie could be persuaded to fill the void now that he’s home from Canada. Few are better on the dogs or fisticuffs. The trouble is that with so few journalists around they're expected to be Jacks and Jills ofall trades. I might be wrong but I get the impression that someone who's been writing about Meadowbank 'I‘histle one week and the Americas (‘up the next is not always giving of his best. A few more experts. like the Sunday Sport ten wouldn’t go amiss.
The List 26 June — 9 July 49