Sunday, 1 February 2015

Edinburgh is Delicious: The Basement Bar, Broughton Street

Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Princes Street is Broughton Street, which has a small strip of cool bars and shops to visit at a more leisurely pace than Edinburgh's city centre. At the top of the street is the Basement Bar, an under-the-stairs hideaway which is a bit of an Edinburgh institution for cocktails and Mexican food. After a makeover in the past year it's a pretty sweet place to visit so I snapped up their invitation to try their menu

The dining space at the back of the bar is surprisingly light for a basement bar, with exposed brick, brightly coloured chairs and greenery decorating the walls. We were seated by our lovely waitress and perused the drinks menu with interest. As a Mexican bar, there was no surprise in the extensive tequila presence on the drinks menu or the sangrita, a palate cleanser intended for the moments between sips of tequila. There's also a fun cocktail menu too and, as a dedicated lover of everything passion fruit, I had to try their passion fruit and blueberry mojito. It was fresh and lovely, not too sweet due to the passion fruit kick to it and the traditional hint of mint. 

Their small bites menu has a lot of great choices on there, with some of our top picks being the seabass, scallop and prawn ceviche and the corn fritters with feta crema. After some deliberation, we settled for some crispy empanadias, filled with chorizo and spiced potato and some freshly made guacamole with tortilla chips. At the Basement Bar, you can be assured that freshly made guacamole really means freshly made, as they make this up right at the table. Scooping out a whole avocado and adding in red onion, garlic, lime and chili to your liking, it's mashed up in front of you ready to eat, a great touch. We were also presented with three bottle of hot sauce with varying degrees of heat - chipotle, jalapeno and for the bravest of souls who can take it, the intimidating x hot sauce. It's a good way to portion out spices when sharing dishes and the mountain of chips with the guacomole and delicate puffs of empanadias disappeared quickly.

The large plates have some favourite Mexican classics listed, like burritos, fajitas and baked enchilada, the latter of which was my dining companion's choice. It arrived as a huge flour tortilla covered in salsa and melted cheese, filled with chicken tinga, peppers and jalapenos. Served with rice, it was perfect with the hottest of hot sauces and deliciously filling. I thought the chilli negra sounded like an interesting choice of beef cooked with beer and dark chocolate, as did the Mexican blackened hake which was served with a seafood bisque and green rice. However I opted for the fish tacos, something I'd never tried before and thankfully, after stuffing myself with tortilla chips, the lightest dish on the menu. This was a tortilla crusted deep fried coley served on soft tortillas, with salad and mango salsa accompaniment and a good dollop of hot sauce. 

By the end of the meal we were pretty full, however something on the dessert menu had caught my eye, warm pineapple poached with chili and served with coconut ice cream. As a lover of tropical fruits, this ticked the right boxes for me and it was a lovely fresh way to end the meal. It was beautifully presented and accompanied with a sauce that I wasn't quite expecting, like a thin custard. While pleasant enough, I would have preferred the pineapple without the sauce, with the natural sweetness of the pineapple contrasting with the chili, but that was probably the only thing I'd change from our overall experience. We're looking forward to visiting again when we're next on Broughton Street as it's the perfect place in town to forget the cold and think warm sunny thoughts whilst tucking into freshly made guacamole!


  1. This sounds amazing! A must visit for me.. straight on the list.

    The Likely Lady xx

    1. It was great, I can't wait to go back and try more cocktails! And have more fresh guacamole... yum!

  2. Ooh can't resist a cocktail! New follow!