Edinburgh New Town – Cathedrals and Curry

Whenever we travel we always try to cram in as much experience as we can, since our time on this planet is so limited. However one of the drawbacks of cramming so much life in as you get to a certain age, is remembering the finer details. This is one of the reasons for my blog, but catching up with everything I want to write about takes time and stuff has got out of its chronological order. But then I did say Shipscooksstuff was going to be unstructured, so random stuff about Edinburgh and Cyprus will be turning up over the next couple of weeks.

Anyway let’s go back to Edinburgh. Being based at the Haymarket end of the New Town meant that there were a few new places to explore. In Palmerston Place, quite close to our chosen hotel was the rather magnificent Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, which is the see of the Episcopalian Bishop of Edinburgh and the largest ecclesiastical building in Scotland.

Interior of St Mary’s

It was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who also designed the Albert Memorial in London, in the Gothic style and construction began in 1874. It was finally finished in 1917 under the watchful eye of his grandson Charles Marriott Oldrid Scott. Another of Scot’s grandchildren, Giles Gilbert Scott, designed the old Post Office telephone box, but that is another story. Aside from the interior’s Neo-Gothic splendour, within I was fascinated by some turn of the century brass memorial plaques that utilised Arts and crafts style typography, but then maybe I have been hanging around with designers for to long.

There is also a memorial to a Captain James Dundas VC of the Royal Engineers, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 1879, age 37, some things don’t change do they?

I first spied the Indian Cavalry Club from the Edinburgh Airport Bus and have wanted to give it a try for some time. Situated in Coates Crescent in one of the New Town’s  larger Palladian houses, its interior is very much as you would expect a Raj officer’s mess to look, crisp white linen, military portraits and attentive waiters in smart uniforms. I had the paneer pakora (deep-fried Indian cheese, well it is Scotland after all) to start with before choosing my main course. The Cavalry Club menu prices it’s curries by the meat or fish selected and you choose the sauce. I had a methi lamb and it was delicious, as were the dishes selected by my companions and the side dishes. Now Edinburgh has some very good Indian restaurants, but I have to say that I have seldom enjoyed a curry as much as the one I ate here.

What’s the damage?, well not for the faint hearted £170 for the four of us, but that did include starter, main course, aperitifs, beer,  a bottle of wine (£18) and service.  We also joined the restaurant’s Pukka Club which will give us a 10% discount when we next return.

Cricket bats signed by the Indian, Pakistan and Bangladesh teams at the Indian Cavalry Club

One place I won’t be returning to is the Clifton Fish Bar on Clifton Terrace near Haymarket Station. Very bland and greasy small doner, plus soggy chips with thin tasteless curry sauce for £7. Just because people are a bit merry after the pub, it’s no reason to rip people off, avoid at all costs .

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