The Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant, in St Patrick’s Square Edinburgh, offers a daily lunch buffet for £8 per adult between 12 – 2pm.
Although I’m not a vegetarian, I don’t eat much meat, so I thought I’d give the Kalpna a try.
Exterior of the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
The Kalpna is attractive inside with mosaics on the wall.
Interior of the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
I knew from reading the restaurant’s website, that the buffet selection was limited ; two starters, three main courses, two salads, rice and bread.
Lunch buffet at the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
I enjoyed the broccoli pakora starter.
Starters at the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
My favourite curry was the spinach and mushroom.
Main course at the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
There was some kind of milk pudding at the right hard side of the buffet with a sign saying that it cost an additional £1 each. I thought that, for the price of £8, desserts should be included in the price.
I found the food at the Kalpna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant to be very tasty and nothing was too spicy for me.
I’m not sure that I’d return to the Kalpna. The (non vegetarian) lunch buffet at the Red Fort Indian Restaurant in Drummond Street, which also costs £8, offers a wider choice of starters and main courses. The price also includes a soft drink, plus the choice of ice cream or a coffee to finish.
We had lunch at the Shamoli restaurant in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. It’s somewhere that I’ve been meaning to try for years, after seeing a person with a board advertising the restaurant at the crossroads between the Royal Mile and North Bridge.
The Shamoli is located above the Rabbie Burns bistro and whisky bar. An Indian and Thai lunch buffet costs £7.95 per adult. It says on the sign outside that kids eat free, but I couldn’t see the details on that. I liked the fact the lunch is the same price every day and is served until 4.30pm.
The interior is light and welcoming.
I loved the leaded glass windows.
There’s not a very wide selection of food on the buffet.
It was quiet in the restaurant when we ate there, so the fried starters were past their best.
I found all the main courses to be a bit too hot for my taste, even those labelled as medium. My favourite was the Thai Chicken, which although it was labelled as hot, wasn’t as hot as the supposedly medium Vegetable Bhuna. The Nan Bread was good, it wasn’t freshly cooked, but was well preserved.
There was no dessert included in the buffet
After our buffet lunch at the Shamoli restaurant, we discussed if we’d eat there again. I really liked the ambience, but the food was too hot for my taste, and I missed having a dessert. Therefore, I’d prefer to eat at either the Ashoka Buffet in Hanover Street, or the Red Fort in Drummond Street. My husband also liked the interior. As he enjoyed the Thai food, he said he would go to the Shamoli again.
We visited Summerhall with our son Gary during the Edinburgh Open Doors weekend in late September.
Until 2011, Summerhall was home to the Royal Dick Veterinary School. I have family connections with the Vet School; my brother studied there and my husband worked there.
I already knew that Summerhall has been transformed into a creative art hub, as Gary had been to some gigs there. Gary was also aware that there was a brewery at Summerhall. But we didn’t know that since last year there’s been a distillery making Pickering’s Gin at Summerhall.
The head distiller Chris gave a presentation, and then offered some neat samples. As a teetotaller, I didn’t try any. Gary who isn’t a gin drinker, thought it was very good.
It’s a pretty small distillery with the bottling done by hand.
There was a vintage Pickering’s Gin delivery van parked outside Summerhall Distillery.
I can imagine the trailer, parked in the courtyard, proving very popular at outdoor events.
Usually, you need to contact Summerhall Distillery to book a tour, which costs £10.
I stayed at the Premier Inn Edinburgh South Queensferry on a Thursday night in early May 2015. I paid £35 on the non-refundable advance booking rate, booked on the Premier Inn website.
I’d stayed at the hotel a couple of years ago, when I thought that it was looking a little tired, but I read that the rooms had since been refurbished.
Now, although technically the town of South Queensferry falls within the City of Edinburgh boundary, it lies 10 miles west of the city centre. It’s a good location if you have an early departure or late return from Edinburgh Airport, as outwith rush hour, it takes around ten minutes to drive from the hotel to the airport.
On arrival at the Premier Inn Edinburgh South Queensferry in the early evening, it was hard to find a space in the car park, which is shared with the adjacent Brewer’s Fayre restaurant.
I was allocated a room on the second (top) floor at the front of the hotel. My room had a good view of the construction of the Queensferry Crossing, as well as the current Forth Road Bridge.
According to the receptionist, Premier Inn spent £13,000 per room on the refurbishment. It was looking great. There was a well padded golden headboard above the bed. The sofa looked brand new and the Hypnos bed was very comfy.
The desk was large and had plenty of electrical sockets in which to charge my netbook and mobile phones.
The orientation of the room worked well. it was sunny in the evening, with a welcome lack of morning sunshine. I tried to open the window, but it seemed to be sealed, I assume that was because the room had air-con.
The bathroom was looking fresh, but still had a shower curtain. I think that Premier Inn should’ve put in a shower screen.
For me, the new and refurbished Premier Inns offer as high a standard of room as I need. Plus, the 2pm check-in and 12 noon check-out times are some of the best in the industry. If you can get a room for around £30 a night, it’s good value for money. But with rooms in most of the Premier Inns in Edinburgh often costing between £70 – £100 a night, even on the non-refundable Saver rate, I wouldn’t classify Premier Inn as a budget hotel chain.
I had lunch with our son Gary at the Khublai Khan restaurant in the Leith district of Edinburgh.
I’ve eaten the evening buffet a couple of other Khublai Khan restaurants in Glasgow and Newcastle, but never had lunch there.
The interior was large. As it was quiet, all customers were seated in area next to the fire.
We selected a main course from the Lunch Menu, we both went for the Kangaroo Meatballs, served with Mushroom Sauce and either Mashed Potato or Tagliatelle, which cost £6.95. We added for the ‘Meal Deal’, which for an additional £2 each incluced soup and a soft drink.
We weren’t informed of the type of soup, but it was tasty and served with a slice of warm bread. I really enjoyed the Kangaroo Meatballs, The meat was tender with a slightly sweet flavour.
I’d recommend lunch at the Khublai Khan Restaurant in Edinburgh. I thought that at £9 for a two course meal with a drink it was good value for money. The waitress was very friendly and the atmosphere relaxed.
We had Sunday lunch at Mr Basrai’s World Cuisines Restaurant in Edinburgh’s Fountainpark Centre at the end of October 2014. The restaurant had been recommended to our son, who lives in Edinburgh, by one of his work colleagues.
I liked the fact that the tables had a bit more space between them than in other buffet restaurants in Edinburgh, e.g the Cosmo. There were also discrete sections in the restuarant, which made it feel less like a large canteen.
The way that the buffet selection was laid out down two sides and in smaller central counters meant that it was easier to access the food. The food displays were very attractively presented.
My favourte starters were the Goat’s Cheese Salad and the Butternut Squash Pate.
You can order freshly cooked food. You place your order, giving your table number, and it’s brought to your table. I opted for the fish selection.
However, putting a limit of two on the Tiger Prawns seemed to be in contradiction to the supposed “all-you-can-eat” buffet. Now you can return to the live cooking station to order more food, but if it’s busy you’d have to queue up again.
My favourite main couse was the Prawns in Mongolian Sauce. I wish that the prawns had been shelled, as it was messy getting them out of the shells.
The dessert selection was impressive.
The Passion Fruit Cheesecake was a bit disappointing, as it was a bit fluffy. I enjoyed the Apple Crumble with custard, and the Mint Ice Cream. The ice cream wasn’t self service. I can appreciate that it makes easier to keep the serving area clean, but we had a wait a while for a member of staff to appear.
It costs £13 per person all day on a Sunday. On Friday and Saturday, lunch costs £10, Monday to Thursday it’s £7.99.
In summary, I thought that the quality and selection of food at Mr Basrai’s World Cuisines Restaurant was excellent. But I do think they should lift the restrictions on food at the live cooking stations. Next time I’ll go for lunch on a Saturday, to pay £3 less.
I stayed at the Travelodge Edinburgh Central Queen Street on a Friday night (Boxing Day) in late December 2014. I paid £34 for a family room, booked in mid October on the Flexible Rate (which means you can cancel without penalty until noon on the day of arrival). It’s unusual to find a low price room in Edinburgh on a Friday night. I did think about staying for a couple of nights, but the price tripled for the Saturday night.
It takes fewer than 10 minutes to walk to the hotel from Edinburgh Waverley rail station. The Ashoka Indian Buffet Restaurant is just around the corner in Hanover Street, where you can have lunch from noon until 4pm on Mondays to Saturdays for £7.
The hotel receptionist was very pleasant. I was allocated a room on the first floor overlooking an internal courtyard. I was happy with this as it meant that that I couldn’t hear any traffic from Queen St, althought the one small window did make the room a bit gloomy.
The room was large, clean and comfortable. This Travelodge had been madeover, which meant a new ‘Dreamer’ bed and pillows.
In summary, the Travelodge Edinburgh Central Queen Street is in a handy central location for exploring the city. However, you’ll probably need to book well in advance and stay in the low season to find a cheap room there.
I stayed at the Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge for one night in early June 2014. I originally booked the Ibis Budget Edinburgh Park priced at £35 a night on an unrestricted rate (which could be cancelled without penalty up until 2pm on the day of arrival). I planned to drive up to the hotel the afternoon before my flight and then take the car to an airport car park the next morning.
However, when the opening of the Ibis Budget Edinburgh Park was delayed, I received an email offering to transfer my booking to the Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge for the same price of £35 for the night. It’s usually a lot more expensive for a room in the Ibis hotels in Edinburgh city centre.
I decided to go to Edinburgh the day before my flight to stay at the Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge. I reckoned that walking from the hotel to the express airport bus and the bus journey straight to the airport terminal would take 30-40 minutes. This would be around the same time as driving from the Ibis Edinburgh Park hotel to an airport car park and the transfer to the airport terminal.
Check in time at the Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge is noon, much earlier than most other hotels. This was great, as I could drop off my luggage on arrival in Edinburgh. You have to pay £2.00 per item to use the left luggage facility at the hotel.
The lobby area was pretty small for a such a large hotel.
At check in I requested a quiet room. The receptionist informed me that I’d already been allocated a quiet room on the top floor. The views to Arthur’s Seat and over the Forth Estuary to Fife gave the room the wow factor.
The room was fresh and bright. Initially I could only find one electrical socket, but then I noticed a double socket at at the side of the wardrobe. There’s free WiFi throughout the hotel. You have to give your name and email address to get connected . I found the signal in my room to be excellent.
There was only one chair in the room. There wasn’t a desk area, but I used the coffee table to work on my netbook.
The windows were sealed, but the room had air conditioning. I would’ve preferred to have been able to open the windows. I needed to switch on the air conditioning, as it was a warm June day (by Scottish standards).
Although the prefabricated plastic bathroom unit was small, I thought that there was more room in the shower than in many standard hotel shower cubicles. I did think that the step up the bathroom door could be a trip hazard.
I was very happy with my room for £35 a night. However, I noticed that rooms were advertised at £134 for that night when I checked in. I think that this was way overpriced for a rather basic room which didn’t even have a safe or include breakfast.
I’d only recommend staying at the Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge if you can find a low rate.
I won two United BusinessFirst return tickets from Edinburgh to Chicago in a business card prize draw. These tickets offered us free-of-charge access to the new Aspire Lounge in Edinburgh Airport prior to departure.
As our flight departed mid morning, we were looking forward to breakfast in the Aspire lounge. There was fair selection of food including cereals, yoghurts, bacon rolls and croissants. The staff were very friendly.
The lounge had a good mix of seating; comfy sofas, seats at tables, work stations and bar-type stools with plenty of electrical sockets. The WiFi signal was good.
However, I was amazed that the Aspire lounge didn’t have its own toilet facilities. You had to exit the lounge and walk down to the nearest public facilities.
I thought that this coming and going of users must be confusing for staff at the lounge reception. I suggested to the receptionist that users’ hands should be stamped on arrival, a bit like when attending a gig, to provide a quick and easy way to verify legitimate re-access.
In opinion, lack of internal toilet facilities lets down this new lounge at Edinburgh Airport, which should aspire to get its own toilets.
Update 11 July 2015 – The Hot Flame restaurant in Edinburgh’s Quartermile was closed when we went there to eat today. I says on the notice that it’s for refurbishment, but that’s very strange as it only opened last year.
We had lunch at the Hot Flame Restaurant in Quartermile district of Edinburgh on a Saturday in September 2014. Gary, our son who lives in Edinburgh, had heard about the recent opening of this international buffet restaurant, so we thought we’d give it a try.
It’s not that easy to find the restaurant as it’s tucked away in Lister Square, sandwiched between Lauriston Place and the Meadows. The Hot Flame Restaurant was very quiet for a Saturday lunch time, This was good for customers, as I could see it getting pretty difficult to access the food during busy periods.
I really liked the double aspect of interior which made the restaurant bright and airy. The windows at one side overlooked Lister Square. However, I thought that the booths were too small, I assume to pack in as many diners as possible.
There was a good choice of food, but the majority was Indian style, despite the restaurant saying it offered ‘world banquet dining’. The Mexican counter inappropriately had chicken nuggets and potato croquettes. There were a few Italian dishes, which Gary said weren’t that great. There was a ‘live cooking’ station but the only thing being cooked there was nan bread.
I enjoyed the salad selection and the vegetable dumplings from my starter selection.
My favourite main course was the shrimp curry. The meat in the lamb curry was very tender and lean.
The cakes were a bit disappointing. The banoffee gateau was still partially frozen with rather foamy filling. The ice cream was very good, with a large selection of flavours.
It cost £10 per adult for Saturday lunch. It’s £1 cheaper Mondays to Thursday, but £14 all day on Sundays.
I’d recommend the Hot Flame restaurant in Edinburgh if you are a fan of Indian cuisine.