Saturday 8 December 2012

Edinburgh - Forest Cafe, Kings Theatre and St Giles

Today we went to the panto.  It is one of the great British Christmas traditions.  Firstly we had to attend to the important business of lunch.  After muddling about with buses, we walked to the very end of Lauriston Place and found Forest Cafe.  It is an interesting vegetarian cafe that we used to frequent when we lived in Edinburgh many years ago.

When we knew Forest Cafe, it was in the West Port near our flat.  It was a place for artists and students.  E did a few gigs there.  It was a cosy place of lots of old couches and artwork.  After we left Edinburgh it moved to Bristo Place for many years until the lease ceased last year.  This year it reopened in Lauriston Place.  I am glad it has found a new home.  It reminded me of my university food co-op.  A place for interesting people that had heart.

The current building is an ugly modern brick building with huge windows that offer great views of the Tollcross.  It has more space than the West Port incarnation but is less cosy.  Yet there is a colourful mural on the wall and lots of interesting table tops.  Our table top is green.  Others have drawings or mosaics or a painted chess board. The Ramones play on the stereo.

We sit in a corner with kids books and toys.  I was pleased to be able to order Sylvia pitta bread and hummus with some grated cheese.  We also ordered an orange juice but upon closer inspection found that it had ginger and herbs, which might not be child-friendly.  I swapped it from a cherry tree cola.  It was delicious and one bottle between three didn't go far when we all loved it.

I was really pleased to see nachos on the menu.  This is the dish that I loved at the old West Port cafe.  They were heated in a little toaster oven and served with corn chips, salsa, refried beans, cheese, sour cream and jalapenos.  I was not so keen on the raw onion and raw coriander.  But once they were part of the general mix I really enjoyed the nachos.  The refried beans made it quite a hearty meal and I loved the toasted corn chips and melted cheese.

Once lunch was over, we headed up Home Street to the Kings Theatre for the Mother Goose pantomime.  It was Sylvia's first experience of live theatre.  She enjoyed it but told me that "it was not funny".  E and I probably appreciated the humour more.  One of my favourite lines was a spoof of I Will Survive - "At first I was afraid I was petrified / I thought I would never have another mars bar deep fried."  The plot was muddled, but it was good fun to yell at the baddy and laugh at the local jokes.  They managed to poke fun at the Hibs football team, the parking, the council, trams, and the new department store Primark.  Even the names were amusing: Elvis McSporran and Harry Mc Potter.  All enjoyed in a magnificent old theatre.

On the way home, I had an urge to stop in at St Giles Cathedral on the High Street.  I once was a volunteer guide here and remain fond of the place.  It is an impressive medieval building with graceful arches, fine cast iron, a memorial to Robert Louis Stevenson and wee bagpiping angels in the Thistle Chapel.

Forest Cafe
141 Lauriston Place 
Tollcross, Edinburgh EH3 9JN
Tel: 0131 229 4922


  1. So glorious! I love reading about your journey!

  2. I love the artwork in that cafe - and seeing a pantomime in winter in Edinburgh sounds like such a classic activity :)

  3. Another great recommendation. You are fitting so much in!

  4. As soon as I saw Forest Cafe in the title I thought of the enormous plate of nachos Michael and I ate there on our visit a few years ago! Yours look a little more modest and varied in comparison. :-)


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