Restaurant reviews

Where to eat lunch in Edinburgh: Herbie hits high note in West End

Edinburgh is full of great food institutions and offers a wonderful array of options for grabbing a filling main meal or a cheeky takeaway at lunchtime. That said, unless you are prepared to step back from the main touristy areas such as Princes Street, you are likely to find yourself forced to grab food on the hoof from one of the many fast food chains and sandwich chains that are so prevalent in every village, town and city nowadays across the globe. If you’re visiting Edinburgh, it is well worth taking this step back in order to find the hidden gems. Herbie is one such gem, offering a little respite from the usual lunch fodder offered by the likes of Pret. Located in the West End of Edinburgh (there is also one other location in town that eludes me!), Herbie is a lovely little deli that doesn’t quite offer the same array of wonderful quality products as Valvona and Crolla across the other side of town, but does offer excellent fresh deli food for office workers, locals, and tourists.

Herbie in Edinburgh

Inside Herbie

With a wide range of yummy snacks and even some lovely cans of drink (including some flavours of Cawstons that I hadn’t seen before) on offer, you get the idea that there is going to be some decent produce on offer in the store before you even head over to the fresh food section. Whilst I have no proof other than my own judgement from visiting, it seems like the bread they offer is either baked on site or made fresh to order and used on the same day. It’s reassuring to know that you won’t be stuck with dry and nasty day old bread! That said, there was not a huge amount of choice if you fancied something a bit different. Fewer options when it comes to bread is not always a bad sign though. With four of us wanting sandwiches made fresh to order at a busy time of day on a weekend, service was not quick at Herbie, but it was very personalised! We were able to choose the type of bread we fancied, were offered a choice of butter or mayo (or neither!) and then had a vast array of tasty fillings to choose from. As the four of us have very different sandwich tastes, we got to try a wide range on offer, including a brie and bacon sandwich, a smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber sandwich, a roast beef (nice and rare) with salad sarnie, and my choice of good old traditional mozzarella and tomato with some salt and pepper for seasoning! After ordering the sandwiches plus a can of drink and three packets of decent crisps, and seeing how fresh the ingredients looked, we were pleasantly surprised to receive a fair whack of change from a twenty pound note. Again, this shows how value can be found away from the chains that make everything about the cost and nothing about the ingredients! Of course, the most important aspect of any lunch is the taste and whether or not it sustains you during the afternoon ahead! For me, whilst I wouldn’t have minded a drop of oil on my sarnie to complement the filling, I was highly impressed by the quality of the ingredients and was left truly stuffed for the day! Charlotte (who is very picky when it comes to good sarnies!) was mightily impressed by the excellent ingredients used in her roll to make her salmon sandwich, and Richard and Caroline were both left very happy with their respective sarnies. I personally was very impressed that Richard was given ‘real’ bacon rather than the hideous dehydrated stuff you see far, far too often in sandwiches! All in all, Herbie in the West End of Edinburgh certainly ticks all the right boxes when it comes to value and quality, so why not support an independent business that offers a really tasty lunch option?

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