REVIEW : Candy Bar, George Street, Edinburgh

Information Alert : It’s safe to go back to Candy Bar! You no longer have to be 18 years old and want to pose for selfies every couple of minutes. Candy Bar has had a refurb and it’s all grown up.

I have to admit the last time I was in Candy Bar was about 10 years ago and never wanted to return. It had a very young vibe about it and I do believe it was the hotspot on George Street for the young crowd. The refurb is in tow with their other bar/restaurant Rabble. It’s been given a facelift. It’s lighter, brighter, airier, more open, definitely toned down and more muted colour palate but that brings a sophisticated feel to the place too. They still have DJ’s every Friday and Saturday but it will certainly bring in the 24+ year olds too.

Seated at one of the leather booths, we had a quick scan of the cocktail menu. Some lovely cocktails but certainly not a large cocktail menu, the emphasis here seems to be more on wine, beer and cider. Under the cocktails section you’ll find negroni’s, spritz’s and the classics. We ordered the Big Rum Punch and the Peach Thunderbolt.

The Big Rum Punch (above) is Plantation Pineapple rum, Bacardi Cuatro rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, Curaçao, rock candy, tarragon leaves, lime & Halekahu bitters. It certainly packs a punch. It’s slightly sweet but comes with a wee soor twist at the end of each sip. Very refreshing on a very hot day in Edinburgh.

The Peach Thunderbolt is Jack Daniels whiskey, Mahiki rum, Crème de Pêche, Disaronno Amaretto, lemon, mint & sugar syrup. A cocktail I’d recommend and would happily have swopped it with my Big Rum Punch. This was Summer in a glass. You definitely could taste the peach and the shot of whisky and rum where offset just right with the sweetness of the Amaretto and the mint.

The menu is compact and consists mainly of small tasty starter plates like Nachos and Chicken Wings; and burgers, pizzas and salads.

We ordered two starter dishes; Halloumi Fries and Crab Cake Poppers.

Now if you are an avid reader of my blog, you’ll know I think Halloumi Fries are king! You can’t go wrong with anything Halloumi. These were decent thick fingers of Halloumi, coated well and deep fried until crispy. The cheese had just melted and we managed a good length cheese string or two. They were served with a Chipotle Mayo which you couldn’t really taste.

The Crab Cake Pops were essentially fish cakes in bite sized portions; but it’s the chilli corn relish that I want to shout about here. Squeeze that lime over it to give the dish some zing and then scoop up the sweetcorn with a pop and the whole thing sings! Presentation wise, I’d put the relish in a wee dish rather than spooned into the middle of the plate. PS the relish is also fab with the halloumi fries.

We were told by the staff that the Chicken ‘Parmo’ Burger is the one to go for, so on their recommendation, we ordered it. It’s a big burger stacked with a breaded chicken fillet topped with macaroni cheese sauce & parmesan in a pretzel bun. There is also what seems like a 1001 Island dressing along with lettuce and tomato. Very tasty indeed. The Chicken fillet was succulent and well seasoned and the gooey mac n cheese made this a winner. Only suggestion is to remove the lettuce and tomato as it didn’t fare well under the heat and the weight of the hot chicken fillet and gooey mac cheese. Soggy lettuce just isnae a good thing!

The sourdough pizza’s have some great toppings available like the Chicken Caesar with a
garlic bread base, chargrilled chicken, little gem lettuce, parmesan, Caesar dressing & anchovies OR Crispy duck & hoi sin with finely sliced spring onion, chilli & cucumber OR the Ham and Portabello mushrooms with mascarpone & rosemary.

I ate the Roast Butternut Squash with blue murder cheese, caramelised onions, rocket & parmesan. The sweetness of the caramelised onions and the butternut against the saltiness of the blue cheese was a classic flavour combo. The base was thin and crispy, slightly thicker at the edges.

We never had any room for dessert but did have time to look at their breakfast menu. They are open from 9am daily and serve up some rather lip-smacking sounding dishes. The French Toast Dippers with Greek yoghurt, honey & poppy, salted maple or milk chocolate sauce caught my eye as did the Full Scottish Breakfast Pizza Roll Up which is smoked bacon, black pudding, sausage, mushrooms & beans, stonebaked with cheese!

Candy Bar sure has changed but it is still a great city centre location in the heart of George Street with sunshiny outdoor seating for when the sun is scorching hot and very relaxed interior seating and coolness of a new interior when you just want to be away from the city madness for a few hours.

The staff are friendly and attentive. I like Candy Bar now – I do feel it’s come of age!

Candy Bar and Diner, George Street, Edinburgh.

Tel : 0131 2259179 www.candybaredinburgh.co.uk

My Spoon Award : Silver 8/10

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