I know trips to the Doctors aren’t often the most enjoyable experiences, but I had reasonable expectations of the pub food at Edinburgh’s Doctors bar on Forrest Road. Unfortunately the food was rubbish, there’s no other word to describe it. If this is the standard of ‘pub grub’ the students of Edinburgh have to make do with, then I recommend them sticking to cheap ready meals - they’d be better quality.
Aesthetically Doctors bar is decent: it’s an old style Scottish Pub - full of bar stools, tables and has a long wooden bar. The crowd is mixed, although many students from the opposing Edinburgh University drink there before, during and after lectures. There’s two fruit machines, sport on the ageing TVs and a good pub vibe. I should have left my experience of Doctors with the drink. However the A4 sized menu tempted an order. We deliberated over the steak sandwich, roast beef or home-made minced beef and onion pie. Finally we settled on the scampi and chips (Â£6.39) and ‘Award Winning Pork Sausage and Mash’ (Â£5.79). Just over five minutes later the food was plonked on our table. Now call me suspicious but to cook a sausage properly would surely take over five minutes… was that the ping of a microwave I heard!?
Another tip for this year’s student intake would be beware of sources lacking attribution. As is the case here with the term ‘Award Winning’ sausages. Thus showing a distinct omission in failing to mention which award. The menu said we’d get three sausages, only two arrived. When lacking basic numeracy skills, you struggle to have confidence in the ‘outdoor reared’ claim. The red onion gravy described on the menu was seemingly substituted for huge quantities of a viscous bland gravy - no sight nor taste of an onion. The mash potato was too thick and tasteless. And everything was hot. I mean extremely hot. To get this amount of energy absorbed into the food in such a short space of time again points the finger at a microwave.
The scampi had remarkable similarities to the sausage and mash, as in it was so hot there was no taste left. The chips were barely cooked properly, in-fact some were borderline soggy. In fairness the peas were adequate. Oh and the accompaniments tray only had two sachets of mayonnaise and one small bottle of ketchup - no sign of tartare sauce, although its presence wasn’t missed as the scampi was so hot there was no fish taste left.
We finished our meal and left. We could have complained, but that would have been terribly un-British. Wouldn’t it?! Well it didn’t feel right in this situation - you pays your money in advance and you gets your choice. The barmaid also looked confused enough. I couldn’t have faced explaining the inadequacies of their establishments food offering. Maybe an off night in the kitchen, or maybe not. The real disturbing aspect was the Edinburgh Taste Festival sign which hung over our table: “Celebrate Great Food & Drink”. Not here you won’t.
If you’re ever tempted into food at Doctors then ensure you’re anaesthesised enough to not remember it or taste it. Alternatively leave and find somewhere that can put a competent pub meal together.
Not a bad bar for drink; an awful choice for food.
Doctors bar is located at 32 Forrest Road, Edinburgh.