Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Links Hotel, Bar & Kitchen - Edinburgh

This month I have been out not once, but twice, to watch something pretty unlikely for me, the football competition known as 'The Capital One Cup'. As I don't have a TV, let alone Sky Sports One HD, we had to find somewhere local to watch two semi-finals (the same teams play each other at home and away). It was a short walk in the wintry evenings to the Links Hotel, located over the far side of the Bruntsfield Links. It's a smart, medium sized hotel housed in traditional stone Victorian buildings with a public bar and restaurant and a great view over the Links.

The bar's a 'sports' type one, with lots of wood, pool table and pictures of golfers and people I've never heard of. Both times I went in it was quiet to start with (good for a table right in front of the massive tv...) but got busier with what looked like a mix of residents and visitors; it was a pretty relaxed atmosphere. They serve food both in the bar and restaurant, the restaurant I have yet to visit but it has a tasty looking menu, if a bit safe. In the bar there's decent pub grub, an interesting tapas menu and daily specials. I also heard the waitress telling hotel guests all their deserts are home made. As the football was on at dinner time we had to eat! Tuesdays and Wednesdays the burgers are on offer, two for £12 (£8-10 full price) so we tried those. We ordered at the bar but they take orders at the tables too. Service was friendly, quick and both times a member of staff came back to check our meals were okay.

Cheeseburger and trimmings

The burgers come presented on a board with a bowl of really tasty chips, house coleslaw and a few onion rings. Sometimes it's a gamble choosing a burger but other times it's exactly what you were craving for. These burgers were really impressive, rich and meaty, cooked through but not dry with loads of burgery juices. They were tall enough to struggle taking a bite out of and the buns were substantial enough to hold everything together, not disintegrating at the sight of mayonnaise. The chips were hot and crispy, perfect covered in a bit of salt for dipping in sauces and coleslaw. The sauces are the usual bottled brands and none the worse for it, but the coleslaw is made on the premises and really tasty. The onion rings were only a few but a nice touch and well cooked.

We had the cheeseburger and the salsa burger, on return the blue cheese and bacon, all include lettuce and slices of tomato. The meat was the best part, minced steak with great flavour, from both the steak and the cooking. The cheeseburger was the best of the three, but the others were good too. It's just the blue cheese escaped more easily and though I like salsa, I think a burger needs cheese. Also the burgers are big enough that the bacon was a bit surplus to requirements, I'm not sure it added anything extra.

The Bacon & Blue Cheese Behemoth

We drank a bottle of the Spanish house white, £13.50, again good value, especially if there's two of you and you know you're going to be there for a couple of nail biting hours. For two people it was £25.50 for a bottle of wine, burgers and burger trimmings, more than great for the price. We'll be checking out the menu again as there is now a final to go and see...both nights we were celebrating more than the burgers! Next time I'll have another look at the wine list too, fingers crossed we will be ordering something more than the house wine!

Details here:The Links Hotel, 4 Alvanley Terrace, Edinburgh EH9 1DU

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