My sister didn’t want to do the lunch booking (she usually does). So since I have had a week off work, and this was planned in with my sis and mum, I took on the job of picking the place. I very nearly chose Noks Kitchen which is a firm favourite and a short walk along the road to Stockbridge. But….living in Edinburgh (and growing up here) is a gift. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world (my next favourite is Rome), so I decided on a recommendation in the heart of the city and right next to the castle.
I had never been before but took an article at its word for this being a great place for food. They were right. The setting is magnificent. Right next door to the esplanade of the Castle this building started off as a Duke’s who was ‘Keeper of the Castle’. From then to now it was an old Edinburgh tenement, to burnt out shell to School House to building used for a variety of things before the Contini’s took it on and made a great restaurant and Bar.
The nicely priced lunch set menu was probably underpriced. I started off with haggis balls and then a steak sandwich. Missing out on the desert was a mistake. My sister’s chocolate mousse looked like something from Masterchef. From her ooh’s and ahhhh’s it clearly was delicious. All in all this was a win. When you live in Edinburgh you rarely get that close to the castle as we tend to favour certain areas and restaurants. Edinburgh is a collection of villages which were joined together by the New Town and once in a while we should all go back to the heart of the city (avoiding the many tourists) to bask in its beauty. The Cannonball gives you this. It is right next to the castle and the restaurant has lovely views over the castle. It is that sort of place where you touch the walls in the knowledge that there is history and we should connect to it. It was also really good food and Ill definitely be back.
So…over a glass of good Malbec the suggestion was made to visit the Castle. Why would we not. I had heels on (boots thankfully so comfy enough) and we were a bottle down but…It was right there! Too tempting.
Its not the cheapest but it is bloody beautiful. Walk through, pay, and the first thing you come to are the cannons lining the walls. The One o Clock gun is a bit new age (they old things obviously only throw out real cannonballs rather than just the noice) but there are plenty of the old yins. Never stop at these though. Mons Meg is up the way and this cannon is something to behold with a history even England would be jealous of.
Edinburgh castle is stunning and I am always in awe of it. The view from Princess Street is good enough but a walk around it reminds me of the romantic nature of us Scottish folk. The surprising thing is how little it can feel even in its statuesque position on the hill overlooking the gardens (when built it was a loch and the New Town didn’t exist). The great hall is magnificent, the Stone of Destiny touches most hearts and the tiny chapel is simple yet ornate.
My tips. Try the whisky. Don’t wear heels. Head down to Deacon Brodie’s for a pint afterwards. But also just bask in it. Kings, Queens, intrigue, deception and many a story have come from that castle. We are lucky to have it. We will always have it. In some ways I feel I should visit more but it is always there, overlooking Edinburgh. I go enough for an ‘Edinburgher’. I’ll definitely be eating next to it more.