Over the years there have been plenty of well-meaning but ultimately unsuccessful attempts at Tex Mex/Cajun-style restaurants in Edinburgh, pale imitations of the sort of fare you can find all over the southern United States.
All too often, they were overpriced and left you underfed, and most of the time they committed the cardinal sin – serving average spareribs. About a year ago, a friend told me about The Other Place, and told me that at last, someone had got it right – very right indeed.
It’s a common story all over the Capital – find a pub that has seen its best days (in this case, the former Stag’s Head), strip back the wallpaper and woodwork to the bricks below, put in a kitchen with an interesting menu and stock the bar with a wide selection.
Sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn’t – but in the case of The Other Place, the results have been nothing less than tremendous. It’s now one of AAA’s favourite meeting places.
Let’s start with the ribs, a half rack of the the BBQ pork belly variety. Slow roasted for four hours in the house barbecue sauce, they’re amazingly succulent and tender – and filling.
A year or so ago, they used to serve a full rack, but it was almost impossible to finish, so now the half rack is all that’s available. Trust me, you won’t be left half full.
The other must-have item on the menu is the Proper Fried Chicken – and it is indeed proper. Three pieces of buttermilk marinated chicken on the bone, fried in their own recipe seasoning, served with mash and creamy gravy… it’s the sort of dish that would leave other diners envious, if only everything else on the menu wasn’t so good.
They do a mean line in hot dogs – half pork, half beef, made to their own recipe and available with toppings ranging from brisket beer chili to West Calder haggis.
Of course, there’s also a burger menu to whet any whistle, as well as antipasti, freshly prepared sub rolls, seafood linguini and plenty of vegetarian options.
The Cajun fries have quite a kick and go with anything. And it’s all priced extremely reasonably – as a result, they’re doing a roaring trade.
Reservations are advised at weekends, but really, you should find any excuse to go.
The Other Place Bar and Kitchen, 2-4 Broughton Road, Canonmills, 0131-556 1024
Words: Simon McKenzie