Nostalgia: American dining comes to Edinburgh

0
Have your say

BRINGING a slice of Chicago-style dining to the Capital, Fat Sams restaurant strode into town in the mid-1980s with style.

A must-go hang-out for diners of all ages, there was nothing quite like a trip to the Fountainbridge restaurant, if not at least to pick up one of its “I Survived Fat Sams“ pin badges.

Fat Sam's Chicago-style diner and bar on the site of the Edinburgh meat market at Fountainbridge in September 1986. Picture: TSPL

Fat Sam's Chicago-style diner and bar on the site of the Edinburgh meat market at Fountainbridge in September 1986. Picture: TSPL

But alas, like so many once-popular eateries, the legendary Fat Sams bit the dust and all that now serves as a reminder of the fine establishment – aside from pin badges tucked away in drawers across the city – is the restored 1884 Edinburgh Meat Market sign which formed a key part of its frontage.

This week one of the Capital’s newest restaurants – The Gardener’s Cottage in Royal Terrace – celebrated success after making it into the Waitrose Good Food Guide, despite opening its doors only a year ago.

It is one of four new entries from Edinburgh – and 11 from Scotland – proving that, when it comes to the best, the Capital still has what it takes.

City dining spots past and present serve as a testament to that. Back in the mid-1950s, The Conspirators cafe in Bruntsfield was a much-loved eatery, jointly owned by Owen Swindale and his brother-in-law, Ian Engelmann, nephew of the broadcaster Franklin Engelmann. Particularly popular with locals were the chocolate gateaux made by Owen’s wife, Tessa.

Something of a novelty in the late 1950s, with food being made ‘live’ in front of customers, Barbecue, in Forrest Road, was loved for its informal picnic-style atmosphere.

Like so many earteries of yesteryear, it is now under new ownership as Doctors, a popular student pub.