A few weeks ago we had one of those exciting weekends where you have nothing planned and you never quite know where you will end up.
We knew that we fancied a beer or two along with a burger so decided to try The Holyrood 9a that came highly recommended. We had actually tried to visit last year after a Naked Wine Tasting at Dynamic Earth (yes I did just say that!) but the volume of folks at the tasting completely swamped all the eateries in close vicinity to the venue so this was an ideal time to go back (fully clothed!)
Holyrood 9a is perfectly situated for visitors to Holyrood Palace and The Scottish Parliament but is also easily accessible off the Royal Mile. When you arrive the bar looks cosy and welcoming and there’s a really nice buzz about the place with staff dashing back and forth.
Once inside we were met by an excellent member of staff who advised that there was a waiting list for dining but he would add our name to the list. He advised us to grab a drink at the bar and they would give us a shout when our table was ready. You always wonder in such a busy environment if they will remember you’re there but they did and also updated us with our progression to the top of the list.
Having a drink at the bar is no hardship. This bar knows it’s beer and there’s a mindboggling array to choose from. Beer taps line up into the distance at the back of the bar and the chalkboard promotes their guest brews. We opted for a Pilot Citra Blonde from Leith and it was an excellent start to the evening – very refreshing.
It’s so good to see a bar in Scotland promoting the thriving Scottish Craft Beer scene. The number of establishments we visit with one token “Scottish Craft Beer” pump at the end of the bar is really quite staggering. Surely locals and visitors want to try something a bit different to the usual mass produced commercial beers?
Initially we are always a bit confused and put off by the range of beers available, but take your time choosing. The bar has an excellent menu of beers that will help you decide, the bar staff can also offer guidance and I’m sure if you ask nicely they will give you a wee sample taste first!
We didn’t have to wait very long for a table so were quickly seated and salivating over the menu. Holyrood 9A is known for its burgers and the menu offers lots of different themed burgers. You would expect The Holyrood Burger and The Holyrood BBQ Burger to be good since that’s the name above the door so we chose one of each along with some fries. We just went for the ordinary seasoned fries which turned out to be seasoned with pepper, celery salt and paprika. I have an intolerance to paprika so our waitress quickly arranged for the fries to be swapped with unseasoned ones without any fuss. If you fancy something a bit different Sweet Potato chips are also available and folks rave about them.
The burgers here are big, very big, but extremely tasty. The Holyrood (£9.50) is a 6oz beef patty stacked with red onion, rocket, Hereford Hop Cheese, beer mustard and caramelised onion mayo and was cooked to perfection. The beer mustard and caramelised mayo add a real depth of flavour to the burger but still let the taste of the beef shine through.
The Holyrood BBQ burger (£10.00) was also a 6oz patty but came with smoked bacon, red onions, peppers, smoked applewood cheddar and a bbq sauce. This burger was nice and smoky and tasted great with the cold beer. Sides were around the £3 mark.
Another beer was the order of the day, so we went for the exceptionally easy drinking Sanda Blonde Beer from Fyne Ales in Cairndow, Argyll. Fyne Ales produce a number of really excellent brews and you can check out their range on their website.
You can easily see why Holyrood 9a has earned such a good reputation for their burgers – they were excellent! So good and filling that we couldn’t manage dessert but in the interests of research and next time we had a wee look at the menu. The usual chocolate brownies, sticky toffee pudding, chocabocker glory, toffee sundae all featured along with a more unusual choc ice. We almost opted for the choc ice then we spotted other folks asking for the bill and getting a Drumstick lollypop along with the bill. It doesn’t cost them much but it was a nice touch and took us back to the time when the lollies were 2p each!
So would we go back? Yes! Would we recommend it? Yes!
All in all if you fancy chilling out over some excellent Scottish beers in a lovely bar with excellent staff serving great tasty burgers then this is the place to go.
Tel: 0131 556 5044