27 Simpson Loan, Quartermile, Edinburgh, EH3 9GG.
Tel: 0131 228 5876
Two recent lunches in quick succession led me to Peter's Yard in Edinburgh. Located just off Middle Meadow Walk in Quartermile, close to many university buildings and the long-deserted old Royal Infirmary, this makes for a handy venue for a decent lunchtime bite.
Peter's Yard is a Swedish company and this is their only UK branch, although I learnt on my visit that there are plans to open another in the next year or so, and perhaps more after that. It is really a combined cafe, delicatessen, restaurant and bar; you can if you wish pop in solely to pick up some quality coffee, Chinese tea, biscuits, crispbreads (which seem very popular) or an esoterically flavoured chocolate bar, although such epicurean delights are perhaps not the main draw for the hungry lunchtime crowd, myself included. I was enticed in by a range of interesting sandwiches, soups and coffees; for those in search of something stronger there is a range of wines and spirits, the latter including a selection of single malts and some interesting and unfamiliar brands of Calvados.
On day one I was keen to plump for their chicken, bacon and avocado sandwich, and enquired as to the source of their chicken; in particular, was it free range? Confusion reigned as the server confessed he did not know. He asked his colleague, whose knowledge was no better, so he disappeared, no doubt to find someone with the requisite answer. He soon reappeared, none the wiser, so consulted the file of suppliers, but found nothing here to help him. By this time I was ready to order something else, particularly so when server number three appeared behind the counter to give a definite 'no'. I settled for the cheese and ham, which turned out to be a good choice, the ciabatta-style bread which was softer and fresher than many such breads I have had before, and the initial confusion seemed irrelevant in the face of such a tasty bite.
Day two saw me return to Peter's Yard to try something different, this time a sandwich of Serrano ham in foccacia. This was delicious, and although yesterday's lunch had been fine this was undoubtedly the better of the two snacks. Good ham, lashings of tasty pesto with plenty of little chunks of pine nuts within, wonderful richly-flavoured sun-dried tomatoes, and pieces of black olive and red onion atop the bread which again was soft and fresh. It might seem like faint praise, but as a confirmed lover of the sandwich this was without doubt one of the best I have had in a long time. In each case I washed down the calories with a large cappuccino, which certainly made the grade. I am sure this is one lunchtime venue that I will return to again.
Prices: About £7 for a tasty and filling sandwich, with a generously-sized cappuccino on each occasion. (10/10/08)