Edinburgh restaurant review: Churros better than in Madrid at Piggs on Canongate
Gaby Soutar takes the taste test at tiny Canongate eatery
That was our final meal on a recent visit to Madrid.
My defence, apart from mild sunstroke, is that it was a Saturday night, and I had failed to prepare.
It got later, the restaurants got busier, and we eventually bagged a table but couldn’t get the waiter’s attention, so had to walk out.
We were jangling with hypoglycemic nerves like the Spanish capital’s monk parakeets (soon to be culled).
At the point when I would have eaten an athlete’s foot riddled espadrille, we plumped for what was easiest. Not tapas, churros, cocido Madrileño or squid sandwich, just a pile of salty chips and a beef patty in a soggy bun.
On our return home, I made a note to visit this new place, as consolation for my failed culinary exploits.
It’s a venture from restaurateur Iggy Campos – who owned Igg’s and wine bar tapas joint, Barioja, on Jeffrey Street – and his son Daniel. They were open for over two decades, but closed down around seven years ago.
This tiny place is more casual than either of papi’s former gaffs.
It specialises in bocadillos, which are piled up under the counter, and there are small bites, deli goodies, wine, coffee and beer, including Estrella Galicia, on tap. We bagged the window seat, a glass of white rioja (£5.50) and another of cava (£6.50).
From the tapas menu, we tried the hot and gooey set of three jamon croquetas (£6.75) – perfectly round and foxy brown, like deep-fried Minions.
Then there was the sweet and saltiness of a tomate con anchoas (£6.50) – half a cat’s head sized beef tomato topped with Cantabrian anchovies, coiled into oily bangles, plus rocket and capers on the side.
There wasn’t any cooking involved, when it came to their lata de mejillones (£7) but I’m grateful for the tin opening, presence and curation of these wibbly escabeche mussels, with a toothpick pronged into each and a helping of ready salted crisps on the side. Actually, this is all I want, ever.
However, there was a bit of an accidental overorder when it came to the Platters to Share. Choose from Spanish charcuteria (£24.50), Spanish cheeses (£22) or Eddie’s Scottish Seafood Platter (£25).
Don’t, as I did, confuse matters by asking for one platter, with a bit of each, and end up receiving one and a half’s worth and paying £41.
Still, that was my luxurious lunch boxes for the coming week sorted, with nutty manchego, mahon, a tangy blue cabrales and ibores, quince jelly, walnuts, and in order of pale shell pink to darkest magenta – jamon reserva, lomo, cecina, chorizo, salchichon and morcilla – plus some chunks of various sea life, from a whorl of smoked salmon to squishy haddock. My colleagues are well jel.
More than enough to eat, but we’d also gone for a couple of their montaditos – aka sandwiches without roofs/hats. I went for the top-of-the-bill pepito de ternera (£9.50) and it was rather good, with two hooves of toasted bread topped with manchego, sliced so neatly it could give you a paper cut, then ovals of medium rare flat iron steak and dust sheets of Serrano ham.
There was a helping of skinny chips on the side, dredged with paprika.
We also had a morcilla de Burgos (£6.50) version of these sarnies. It was stacked with two tyres of this spicy black pudding, made with rice rather than oatmeal, and, like deflated bouncy castles, a pair of char surfaced piquillo peppers draped over the top.
After the sharing platter oopsy, we shared one pudding.
Their churros (£6) are wonderful, and a better experience than the Chocolateria San Gines ones that I queued up for in Madrid, which were slammed down by a miserable waiter and eaten amongst jaded looking tourists taking selfies. These hoop-shaped versions, like deep fried scrunchies, were crusty with sugar and cinnamon and came with a pool of hot melted chocolate.
They vanished as swiftly as a parakeet when it sees the pest control van.
So, if you were as bad at visiting at Madrid as I was, you might just find solace at this place. n
How much? Lunch for three, excluding drinks, £83.25
276 Canongate, Edinburgh
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