Bad brunch at Angels with Bagpipes

There’s no doubting Angels with Bagpipes is an attractive and beautifully finished addition to Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. There’s a courtyard, modern bar / informal dining area at the front of the restaurant and a number of attractive dining rooms. If accolades were awarded solely by the standard of decor, then Angels with Bagpipes would excel. Marina Crolla, as in Valvona & Crolla, is the proprietor. She has been reported as saying “I need the wow factor when I go out for something to eat and Edinburgh doesn’t have it, so I thought I would open it myself.” Well, the Edinburgh Blog certainly said “wow” when we received our food and “wow” again when we received our bill for brunch. Unfortunately I don’t think it is quite the “wow” Marina had in mind.

Scrambled eggs with salmon at Angels with Bagpipes on Edinburgh's Royal Mile Angels and Bagpipes, Edinburgh attempt at a Croque Madame

The scrambled egg with smoked salmon (£8.25) was a decent dish; well prepared, simple and fresh. An omelette with gruyère was equally well prepared, but overpriced at £6.95. Brunch is supposedly a replacement for breakfast and lunch, but with such a scant serving and no accompaniments the omelette was inadequate nourishment for either.

The dish straight from hell though was the croque madame. Its first inauspicious appearance came as a croque monsieur i.e. no egg. Although, having sampled countless croque monsieurs in the past, I feel less than comfortable referring to this imposter by that name. When we finally flagged the attention of our waitress, who often seemed to forget the existence of the rear dining room, it was sent back. Five minutes later the croque monsieur (now a poor impersonation of a croque madame, with fried egg on top) reappeared, complete with the bite I’d taken out of it.

For a restaurant charging at least £7 for a dessert, it is incredulous for food not to be prepared from scratch when it is returned to the kitchen. If Angels with Bagpipes is aspiring to compete with the better restaurants in Edinburgh, then the waiting and kitchen staff need to be educated to a higher standard.

The failings of the “croque madame” didn’t end there - the toast was burnt, the quantity of cheese was pitiful and there was ham in only one half. Plus it was stone cold and hard. Quite how any restaurant which believes it has the “wow factor” can serve such a shambles at all, never mind have the barefaced cheek to charge a whopping ¬£7.95 is beyond me. In all honestly, the Angels with Bagpipes’ interpretation of this dish would not beat a cheese and ham toastie from a greasy spoon. At that price, the kitchen need to produce something with flair.

With the price of the omelette and “croque whatever it was” fresh in my mind, my woe was compounded by a ¬£4.20 charge for a 750ml bottle of water. Words such as “rip off” and “tourist trap” began to involuntary appear in my head. I can’t imagine bronze angel statues, complete with bagpipes, come cheap; so perhaps that’s justification for charging a lot for not very much. Thankfully there was no sign of the much maligned 10% service charge being added to the bill.

Our visit discredited the brunch menu, but the only alternative was offerings such as a ¬£14.50 fish and chips or a ¬£16.50 beef roast - the latter hardly appetising after spotting the Yorkshire puddings lined up carvery style, at the kitchen hatch. The a la carte menu has received largely favourable praise in other Internet reviews I have read, so perhaps it’s just the brunch menu at fault. Given this experience and the excessive prices, I have no inclination to find out for myself.

Angels with Bagpipes bears all the hallmarks of a restaurant management obsessed with fixtures and fittings, at the expense of food and service. Very disappointing.

Angels with Bagpipes is located at 343 High St, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 1PW
Telephone: 0131 220 1111

8 Responses to “Bad brunch at Angels with Bagpipes”

  1. how miserable are you! I have never read a more miserable comment. I have been to this restaurant many times and i would say you are entitled to your own opinion but you are really just full of crap! Don’t eat on the Royal Mile in a fine restaurant like this (which you are clearly too cheap for!) if you do not want to pay prices like that! do you expect to pay the same price on the Royal Mile as you would in Leith Walk or something!!??

  2. Thanks for this post. I have passed Angels with Bagpipes by many times and wondered whether I should try them out. I’m glad I haven’t yet. I LOVE Valvona & Crolla and don’t mind spending a lot on a special meal out but the prices ought to reflect the meal’s quality and the service’s attention.

  3. Dear Edinburgh Blog, I hardly think you will need reassurance due to the nonsensical first comment, but please continue with your excellent reviews, both positive and negative, tell it like it is! There are sadly a fair number of places in my experience in Edinburgh where prices are disproportionate to quality and service. To be fair, there are a good number where the opposite is true.

    I’ve been guided to a couple of places based on things I have read here - opinions do matter!

    Hopefully market forces will force them to up their game!

  4. Based on the photo above I think anyone would feel “miserable” paying nearly ¬£8 for some burnt toast with ham and cheese. It’s a pity as it was on my list of places to try.

  5. Thanks for the piece.
    I’ve found brunch disappointing there in the past too.

    Have you tried Urban Angel for brunch? Tis very good.

  6. From my experiences i have been found some places where prices are not according to their service and quality.

  7. I had Angels and Bagpipes on my list to try, but after seeing the photos (and review) here I’ll be having 2nd thoughts!
    Its probably the case that this restaurant will stay in business, not for it’s food, but for it’s location by sucking in the passing tourist and alleviating them of their hard earned ¬£¬£¬£.

  8. Went for a meal Sat 24th Sept 2011, service bland, food bland would certainly not go back again.

Leave a Reply

For spam detection purposes, please copy the number 8453 to the field below:

Scottish Top Site - Topsites