City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Angels With Bagpipes

Average Rating:
Restaurant Photos
Angels with Bagpipes restaurant front
Restaurant profile
Edinburgh Area: 
Old Town Edinburgh
Serving times: 
Daily: from 12 noon
0131 220 1111
Restaurant Established: 

"Mixing an atmospheric Old Town setting with chic, contemporary looks, Angels with Bagpipes was designed to be the sort of romantic Edinburgh restaurant where Rabbie Burns might take Sofia Loren for a sophisticated date."

The Reviews


Chic, well-priced lunch spot in Old Town

Reviewed by Euan Andrews

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 9:09am

First, that name: it may well be inspired by a wood carving in the thistle chapel of St Giles Cathedral just across the road, but Angels With Bagpipes is still a naff, cheesy tourist-grabbing moniker of the sort which litters the once proud Royal Mile. And on a particularly dreich and drizzly Good Friday, there are certainly plenty of tourists parading up and down the High Street on pilgrimages to Meccas of Jimmy hats and hip-hop ceilidh CDs.

Once inside, however, it is clear how much Angels With Bagpipes’ name works against it. This is a bijou and tres chic wining and dining spot. While publicity blurb calls it the kind of place where Rabbie Burns could take Sophia Loren on a date, thereby implying a perfect match of rugged Scots and sophisticated European, it’s clear that this is a continentally inclined restaurant with the Scottish element expressed through use of produce and ingredients.

Black clad waiters glide in a welcoming yet unobtrusive manner around the three narrow rooms, while there is also a one-table side room which is where Robin, M and I have been deposited today. The main A La Carte menu is enticing but pricy, so we’re here today to try the seasonal menu of two courses for £11.95 or three for £15.95. Quite a bargain for what is clearly aiming to be a prestige restaurant in Edinburgh’s heartland.

One slight niggle is that those prices are just for the individual courses. Any side dishes, even a small plate of bread with olive oil and balsamic, come in as extras of £3 and upwards. That aside, M and Robin are pleased with their starters of white bean soup with truffle oil, smoothly textured and perfectly warming against the resurgence of winter outside. My first course is a curious amalgam of fried duck egg with chicken, morteaux sausage and lentils. The egg lies across a broth-like lentil stew dotted with slight studs of meat and a couple of incongruous lumps of chicken. It’s a rather odd concoction which would be made better were the sausage to be made more prominent and the chicken lost entirely to create a more robust dish. But it’s certainly not unpleasant, far from it, just peculiar.

Our mains are resounding winners, however. It being a Friday, Robin is most pleased with his fish and chips. It would be preferable were the menu to state what kind of fish (he deduces haddock) but it comes in a crisp, glistening batter with French fries style chips and a mound of semi-mushy peas. M’s goats’ cheese and apple tartlet is similarly well-received, with perfectly done pastry though a slight surfeit of white onion. I am particularly impressed with my “pork, head-toe” platter. Wonderful meaty cubes of fatty pork meat which could be eaten with a spoon in a velvety jus with accompanying black pudding bonbon and a curl of crackling, it’s a superb carnivorous feast and works perfectly with our collective side dish of buttered spinach.

Deceptive portion size means we all forego dessert, bar a shared cheese plate. With a £1.25 supplement, it’s a somewhat meagre serving of three slivers of acceptable but far from special cheese, coming with a nicely spiced pear chutney. The only duff note to what has otherwise been an excellent well-priced lunch in lovely restaurant which deserves its place in the centre of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. If only they would do something about that cringe-inducing name.