Traveling can often mean slim food choices unless you take the time to plan ahead. Luckily, I was able to research and locate a few highly rated vegetarian/vegan places in Edinburgh for my trip and Henderson’s of Edinburgh was number one on my list. Why? With so many options and insanely good reviews, why wouldn’t I want to stop in for a meal?
Located on Hanover Street in Edinburgh’s historic New Town and within easy walking distance of not only our hotel, but the National Gallery, there’s no excuse to avoid Henderson’s. After taking a few hours to rest up after our flight, we decided to get ready and hit the streets. Hunger was first on our minds and after orienting ourselves, we hit the streets to make our way over to Henderson’s of Edinburgh.
There are three parts to Henderson’s: The Bistro, which offers table service; the Shop & Deli, great for takeaway, pastries, and more. The store, which first opened in 1962, provided an outlet for the produce of Janet and Mac Henderson’s East Lothian farm. Finally, there is the Restaurant, which is where we decided to stop in and eat.
We visited the original, the Restaurant, which is located in the basement of the building. Upon entry, you immediately see a food case set in front of a blackboard menu. Employees immediately greet diners and instruct you where to go and what to do.
And what a menu it was! I decided to step back and glance over the menu first before making any decisions. The menu shows what items are vegan, gluten free, if it contains nuts, and some items can be made vegan. Head Chef Barry Baker works with his team to produce classic and contemporary vegetarian cuisine served in a canteen-style setting with canteen-style prices. Although we were there for dinner, you can stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner as well as afternoon tea, drinks, or snacks pretty much any time.
You can order one of the entrees with one of the fresh salads from the case. There are always over a dozen readily available and freshly prepared, like fresh beetroot and watercress with a mustard dressing or courgette, mushroom, mangetout and poppy seed with an olive oil dressing. Yum!
There were so many choices and for someone who usually has only one option, it was so hard to decide on what to eat. Yes, those are yummy potato croquettes right up front. I pondered jumping into that case to get my hands on one of them, but decided to order my meal instead.
After you place your order, slide your tray around to the front register, where you can also pick up a beverage, including beer or wine, and perhaps dessert. Best of all, they not only take cash, but also credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Solo, Amex, Maestro) and debit cards. From there, you simply take your tray to a table in the front room or down the steps into the next room where they also have live music at 7pm. That’s the room we opted to sit in for dinner. Ask the server for the Wifi password if you want to get online.
The staff was incredibly helpful and was patient with my many questions. If I lived locally, I would be able to order quickly, but with so many options, I wasn’t sure where to begin. But I decided that the roasted fennel, potato, courgette, and mint soup with oat cakes was a perfect decision. Rich opted for the soup with bread and a Black Isle organic beer.
Now I’ll be honest and tell you that I usually avoid fennel, but I faced my fears head on this evening and I absolutely made the right decisions. This soup was an incredible way to start our meal off as it was hot, comforting, and delicious.
For my entree, I chose the crepes, which were filled with mushroom and roasted fennel, cream cheese and cream sauce. That’s a whole lot of dairy that I wasn’t expecting as I kind of focused on the mushroom and fennel, but boy was it good. A little slip here and there only makes me human!
My husband’s entree was the Thai Nut burger although my picture is a little less than desirable. I think he was anxious to start eating and I quickly snapped a pic. The burger is served bun-less, just the way I like it with potato wedges, garlic mayo, and a side salad. He was hungry as he ate all of his, half my soup, and half my entree! It’s not often that when we go out to eat we both like not only like our meals, but each other’s. Rich said he was hoping I wouldn’t eat all of my crepe so he could finish it. Then he commented on how even two years ago he would have never wanted to eat vegetarian food exclusively. People can change!
After that delicious meal, we had absolutely no room for dessert, but I wish I had as they have some great vegan and gluten-free options like chocolate nut cake, mango and passion fruit creme brulee, or how about cherry pie?
Although I didn’t get a chance to have any here, they do make Henderson’s Famous Vegetarian Haggis and even offer the recipe on their website here. They also have a cookbook, which I’m hoping maybe I might get as a Christmas present this year (hint, hint).
Overall, I was extremely impressed with not only the food, but the staff as they were so helpful and the food was some of the best I have ever eaten anywhere. If you’re in Edinburgh and looking for a delicious place to eat, even if you’re a meat eater, you HAVE to stop in here. I promise you — it is incredible!
Henderson’s of Edinburgh
94 Hanover St., Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh EH2 1DR, UK
Phone: 0131 225 2131
Restaurant hours: 8 am -10 pm Monday-Wednesday, 8 am – 11 pm Thursday-Saturday
Henderson’s Shop & Deli, Bistro, and Restaurant are supplied by an in-house artisan bakery, whose products are available in Henderson’s shop alongside a fantastic choice of local, fair-trade, organic and gluten-free goodies, fresh juices, smoothies and organic wines.