A late lunch was taken at Bar Alba down the Grassmarket today. Bar Alba is located right on the corner of the Grassmarket and from its windows you can look down at the many pubs and eating places that adjourn this area of Edinburgh. It’s a nice place to be in the summer as the large windows open up and it gets that bar/cafe feel. It’s more of a bar than the other places around Grassmarket, which I would describe as more traditional pubs. The interior is quite modern, there is a plasma TV showing Sky Sports for watching the football and there was no trouble gaining a table for two of us. The menu choices are fairly staple British food, with many burgers available. I originally ordered Scampi with chips, but was quickly told they had ran out of Scampi. No bother.
I elected for battered haddock and chips (¬£7.25) and my dining partner had Ravioli (¬£6.95 i think), which was served with Garlic bread and simple salad. This was washed down with a nice pint of Kronenburg lager. It was a nice, simple bar meal that I can’t complain about. You order at the bar and the food is brought out to you; the staff were friendly and efficient. If you’re just wandering around near the Grassmarket and seeking a traditional bar meal, or are looking for a little food before a big night on the booze then Bar Alba is a fair choice.
After this I walked up to the Royal Mile and visited the “Nutcracker Christmas Shop”. This little shop has all manner of Christmas decoration such as baubles, candle holders, festive clocks, ornaments, etc. For family gifts for Christmas I bought a snowman candy holder for ¬£26.99. This is a nice platic snowman with a glass scarf who is holding a glass candy tray above his head. I also bought a matching glass snowman bell that has ‘Edinburgh Christmas 2005 scribed on it’…well family who don’t live in Edinburgh love that kind of thing don’t they!? :-)
I wrapped things up with a visit to the Tea Room on the Royal Mile (fairly far down at Canongate). This is a small tea room that
has a few tables and knowledgeable, attentive staff. There were a few people in when we arrived, but we ended up as only the two people left. There was no music and it was very quiet inside; literally so quiet you could hear a pin drop. They had a fairly large menu and serve sandwiches, scones, cakes, pies, etc. The tea costs ¬£1.60 per person, unless you buy it as part of one of the drink/food deals they do. This gives you a pot of tea large enough for two servings in the generous sized cups they provide. Choices of tea were Scottish Breakfast, Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon Orange Pekoe, Darjeeling, Jasmine, Rolbosh, Fruit Infusions and Herbal infusions. They also had 5 or so variery of coffee. A cup of tea just wouldn’t be complete without a snack on the side and the gorgeously enjoyable Chocolate Fudge cake (¬£1.95 per genorous sized serving) sufficed! The Tea Room also sells filters for tea pots (so you put your own tea in them and then this filter bag, with tea, in your tea pot). They also sell the tea they serve to take home with you. It was a *very* quiet atmosphere, but a very pleasant spot to call of at for a little rest and hugely enjoyable tea. As we were walking from the Edinburgh Castle side of the Royal Mile it seemed quite far to walk down to (there are other tea rooms further toward the Castle). Overall a quality brew and a nice place to recoup after all the walking there is to be done in Edinburgh!