The Baked Potato Shop
This week on the blog, we’re visiting vegan and vegetarian restaurants that I’ve visited throughout my recent travels. Today we’re headed to Edinburgh, Scotland to visit one of my favorites, The Baked Potato Shop. This modest and unpretentious takeaway shop, which opened in 1983, is located just off the Royal Mile on Cockburn Street. But for the bright red sign and paint lining the door and windows, you might otherwise miss it entirely. It’s not fine dining and it’s not meant to be, but what they offer is so good that you’ll definitely not want to miss it.
Unless you’ve had a jacket potato in the UK, you’ve not truly experienced all that a potato has to offer. Ask anyone who can knowledgeably compare a US potato with a UK potato and you’ll hear that there is a definite difference. While I steer clear of potatoes at home, I freely admit to overindulging once I land on UK soil.
When you enter The Baked Potato Shop, you’ll see the menu board at the front of the store. What you might not see is an employee so unlike what we witnessed, please have patience. The employee could be downstairs prepping more food or grabbing potatoes and will definitely return in a minute. No need to get antsy and start yelling because they haven’t gone and abandoned the shop entirely. Fillings are either cold (egg mayo, cheddar cheese, sour cream, cheese and onion) or hot (baked beans, chilli, vegetable curry, or veggie haggis). Go traditional with egg mayo, beans and cheese, or just cheese or try something completely out of the box. In addition to jacket potatoes, you can also find filled rolls, salads, soup, even pizza and cakes (tiffin, flap jack, caramel shortbread, and quinoa bars).
A word of warning, which my husband absolutely refused to listen to and which I will repeat here for anyone who might want to heed my advice. A “small” potato is what you’ll want to go with as a small is actually quite huge. My husband thought he’d go with a large and when she grabbed something like four potatoes, he instantly rethought his order. When you see the pictures below of the small jacket potato, you’ll understand why this is.
If you’re unsure of what to order, take a peek in the case to see all the fresh salads and option available. If that doesn’t help, it’ll at least help you decide what to order for dessert.
Seating is limited inside the shop with only one table and built in seating. As this place is always busy, you’ll probably need to get your food and either walk with it or take a seat outside. There is a little ledge in the window and I used that to prop my drink and bag while I ate and plenty of room on the sidewalk as well.
When most people hear “haggis,” they shudder and can’t imagine ever eating it or that it would actually taste good. Traditional haggis is a savory pudding containing sheep’s liver, heart, and lungs with minced onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, which is then placed inside a sheep’s stomach or sausage casing and cooked. Yeah — there’s no chance I’m ever going to try it.
Luckily, not being a meat eater, my haggis would be far more palatable and less scary. Although commercially prepared, Macsween’s vegetarian haggis is pretty damn good. What’s in it? Oatmeal, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, turnips, onions, mushrooms, and spices. It has the perfect texture to compliment a jacket potato.
The question everyone is asking, of course, is whether or not it was good. Good is an understatement as all I can tell you is that it was superb, great, fantastic, outstanding, etc. This was my husband’s jacket potato with cheddar cheese and veggie haggis and I found myself picking at it and wishing I had ordered one of my own. The potatoes are divine all by themselves with super crispy skins and fluffy centers and there’s no doubt these were oven baked and not microwaved.
Although delicious in its own right, my small jacket potato with chilli was no match to the jacket potato with veggie haggis. We shared them with each other so we had a little of each, but I was longing for the veggie haggis, something I never thought I would ever utter.
After you’re finished gorging on your lovely “tattie,” I recommend walking down Cockburn street and checking out the little shops chock full of interesting items for sale. Plus you’ll need to move to burn off those calories.
True story: After eating at The Baked Potato Shop that day, I truly could have eaten every meal there for the remainder of our trip, but we also wanted to try other restaurants while we were in Edinburgh. After a few days in town, we headed up by train to Inverness for the Loch Ness Marathon. When we arrived back into Edinburgh, we had a few hours to kill before needing to head to the airport to catch our flight back home. We decided to leave our bags at Left Luggage at Waverley train station and walk over to Cockburn Street just to get another jacket potato from The Baked Potato Shop. I could say that we wanted to enjoy a few more hours in Edinburgh before going to the airport, but the truth is that I had that potato on my brain for the entire trip and there was no way I was going back home without eating another one. I pondered ways that I could take some back home with me and then decided I would have to move to Edinburgh to enjoy them on a regular basis.
In case you haven’t determined my adoration for the jacket potatoes at The Baked Potato Shop, I definitely recommend that if you’re going to Edinburgh, you should absolutely pay them a visit and try one or more of their options. You won’t regret it and while you may have difficulty grabbing a seat inside, it won’t matter once you take a bite and devour your jacket potato and enjoy every bite of the ultimate comfort food.
The Baked Potato Shop
56 Cockburn Street
Edinburgh, Midlothian EH1 1PB
Phone: +44 131 225 7572
Hours: Monday – Sunday 9am till late (serving potatoes from 11:00 am)