Due south From quirky cafés to late night tippling holes, the Southside has plenty to offer the more discerning visitor, finds Anna Millar
Nestled between the extraordinary architecture of the Royal Mile and the incredible history of the Grassmarket, Edinburgh Southside’s main districts – the South Bridge, St Leonards and Causewayside – have ample charms with more than enough to keep food, drink and shopping lovers occupied. A gentle stroll up South Bridge showcases some of the area’s best-known and loved charity shops (see Shopping), so, too, its music emporiums, the most notable of which is Ripping Records, where music fans can browse CDs and purchase gig tickets.
Drop into Black Medicine Coffee Company for homemade cakes and coffee or Biblos, on the corner of Chambers Street, which features an impressive cocktail menu. If you’re looking for somewhere to kick start your day, Metropole on Newington Road does some of the best bacon butties in the city.
An area perhaps best known for its Asian cuisine, Kampong Ah Lee Malaysian Delight on Clerk Street is a local favourite, as are Indian restaurant Kalpna, with its delicious vegetarian offerings, and recommended Thai restaurant Caledon; Karen Wong’s Chinese Restaurant on St Leonard’s Street seldom disappoints either. The ever-popular Mother India Café continues to do a roaring trade, but it’s further up the street, past the Festival Theatre, that the real jewels in the culinary crown are to be found, namely Kebab Mahal and the Mosque Kitchen. The former may not be the most salubrious of gaffs but, serving incredible portions of Indian fare at bargain prices, this small, friendly café-cum-restaurant will leave the curry lover wanting for nothing. Better still, it’s open till the wee small hours of the morning, while the no booze policy means you don’t have to fend off any post-pubbers. Nearby, the fantastic Mosque Kitchen has straightforward fare done simply. Curry lovers congregate at trestle tables outdoors while welcoming staff ladle large portions of thick
Get en pointe Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street, 0131 529 6000 The contemporary surround of the Festival Theatre has long played host to all manner of eclectic dance repertoires, and this season is no different. Look out for the incredible offerings of Richard Alston Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance Group and so much more. 12 THE LIST 22 Oct–5 Nov 2009
The Mosque Kitchen
VERY MUCH A LATE- NIGHT DESTINATION, THANKS TO ITS STUDENT CONTIGENT
curry onto plastic plates.
Enjoy a post-curry pint in the cosy confines of List pick Brass Monkey, which is located just across from the Mosque. If you fancy making a night of it, head to the Bowery on Roxburgh Place. By day don’t miss checking out the increasingly inventive uses of their exhibition space. If visual arts are your thing, Dovecot on Infirmary Street, Edinburgh university’s Talbot
Rice Gallery and the Royal College of Surgeons are all worth a look.
Very much a late-night destination, thanks to its large student contingent, there are ample options for those fancying a night cap or three. Negociants, Assembly and Favorit, close by, all serve tipples until very late. For those looking for something a little more sedate, escaping from the hustle and bustle is just as easy, with Arthur’s Seat and the Meadows just short walks away. Access from the Southside to the former begins at the end of St Leonards Bank, just up from the police station (made famous as the workplace of Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus). Pick up a picnic from the Engine Shed (see Eating & Drinking) nearby, and make an afternoon of it.
Check out the odd bric-a-brac shack Steptoe’s Furniture, 5a East Preston Street, 07747 064470 One thing the Southside isn’t lacking is bric-a-brac. Bypass the chaff and go straight for the wheat, courtesy of the mighty Steptoes, with its fantastic array of ‘pre-loved’ furniture. From lamps to chairs, desks to couches, this is an Aladdin’s cave for the slightly shabby antique lover. Enjoy some jazzmatazz The Jazz Bar, 1A Chambers Street, 0131 220 4298, www.thejazzbar.co.uk Owned by stalwart of the Edinburgh jazz scene, Bill Kyle, the Jazz Bar manages its own brand of laid- back cool, and with three gigs a day, seven days a week, there’s no excuse for not finding the time to get into the flow. Nice.