Morag Bootland succumbs to the irresistible charms of Canadian cuisine and Tennessee whisky.
Let’s be honest, there are times when we just need a little bit of comfort.
A great big hug of a meal and an hour of our lives when we couldn’t care less about calories, sticky fingers or the fact we have sauce dripping off our chins.
If that’s your current mood then Down the Hatch is going to be right up your street.
We visited the Antigua Street branch of the Canadian-style diner, but there’s also a Down the Hatch at Port Edgar Marina in South Queensferry.
We were invited along to sample their special Daddy Rack Tennessee whiskey-themed menu and the friendly staff explained the menu to us and introduced us to this tempting American tipple. This includes some delicious cocktail offerings. The lovely Rosie kicked off proceedings with a Daddy Rack popcorn old fashioned (£8.00), a sweet blast of sugary sweetness topped off with actual caramel popcorn enjoyed as we perused the menu. Rosie felt this would have been the perfect aperitif to indulge in before heading to the movies.
As previously mentioned, we had already agreed to enjoy this meal with gusto and set aside any thoughts of healthy eating until the next day, so we didn’t hesitate when it came to ordering the day’s special, a Rack n’ Roll burger (£11.50).
This beast of a burger is a real meat feast. There’s a smashed beef patty, a generous helping of cheese, smoked bacon, a finger-licking Daddy Rack Whiskey BBQ glaze and just in case that wasn’t decadent enough it’s topped off with pulled beef chuck. This is all somehow crammed into a seeded brioche bun. This is the kind of burger that makes your eyes roll back in your head and leave all of your inhibitions at the door. Tasty, hearty and messy – just how a burger should be.
On the side was a whole new experience for me, but something that Rosie (who lived in Montreal, Quebec) had already had the pleasure of trying out.
For those of you who, like me, are uninitiated, poutine is a Canadian speciality. Think crispy chips smothered in gravy and cheese curds. If that hasn’t got you salivating like Homer Simpson then perhaps if I tell you that we opted to add some crispy streaky bacon to the mix that might do it for you?
This nostalgia-inducing poutine was so authentic it transported Rosie back to Quebec City’s winding streets in a flash. The decadent feast (priced £9.50) was washed down with a refreshing Rackhouse lemonade cocktail (£8.00). The citrus burst cutting through the richness of the food.
I doubt that I could have managed a dessert, but we just couldn’t resist the Golden Caddy Rack boozy old fashioned milkshake. (£8.50) This proved to be pudding and a cocktail in one. Deliciously creamy Luca’s ice cream, sweet bourbon and lashings of whipped cream rounding off an evening of culinary sin in style.
For those who enjoy whiskey in its purest form, you can alternatively finish the night with a Daddy Rack Tennessee Straight Whiskey which is gorgeously buttery and smooth with a hint of banana and vanilla on the palate. (£4.00) After a long day of work, this was exactly the kick required to get the party started before trundling over to Edinburgh’s The Playhouse for a show
Down the Hatch’s collaboration with Daddy Rack whiskey runs until 3 October, so if you want to try the new drinks menu then there’s no time like the present.
To view the full menu download the Down the Hatch app or check out Instagram and Facebook for more info on their daily specials.
Down the Hatch, 13 Antigua Street Edinburgh EH1 3NH
0131 331 1387