I've been meaning to write about the burgers at the Cambridge Bar for a while now. A lot of people consider these to be the finest in Edinburgh - I'm not sure if they quite beat Bell's Diner for the top spot in my favourites but I can tell you that they are pretty damn fine. Being the sister restaurant to Wannaburger, they definitely know a thing or two about how to make great burgers. The pub is a cosy wee space down the cobbled lanes of the New Town on Thistle Street. There are comfy leather chairs and sofas, big windows which are lovely in the summer, a fireplace perfect for when it’s chilly and a decent choice of wine, Scottish ales and whisky. It comes equipped with big televisions showing background sport. These are incongruous with the surrounding and, unless you’re both really into watching sport, I wouldn't recommend it as a first date venue.
There are three core burgers of beef, chicken and bean which have the usual salad and relish toppings (all £6.45), but can also come with a range of topping combinations – fifteen different combinations in fact. These range from classic cheddar or blue cheese to more interesting options like Mexican with peppers, cheddar and chilli sauce and Italiano with homemade pesto and mozzarella. Then there’s the other side of the scale that tips these burgers into the giganto scale – a breakfast burger with bacon, fried egg and mushroom or a fajita burger with spices, chargrilled peppers, onions, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and salsa. Or there is the Aussie burger – topped with bacon, pineapple, mature cheddar beetroot and a fried egg. It takes a mighty mouth to conquer this beast (priced at £8.95).
Thankfully, I am blessed with a massive gob and a boundless sense of culinary adventure. I ordered the Aussie burger and warned my boyfriend in advance, “This is not going to be lady-like.” Throwing caution to the wind, we ordered some chips and onion rings to share too. He ordered the classic beef burger, just for some balance.
Above is the mammoth task I was faced with and I can confirm that it was indeed less than lady-like. The burger was large and juicy and when stuck joined together it was quite drippy. A lot of people don’t enjoy pineapple in savoury food, but I quite like the sweet contrast that it brings to the bacon and beef. I thoroughly enjoyed eating the burger although perhaps the beetroot was a step too far. It didn’t add a huge amount to the taste and slid about a bit too. But The Cambridge definitely deserves the praise that it receives – it was really one of the best burgers I’ve had for a while. The chips were a perfect sharing portion for two and the onion rings, although light, crispy and delicious, were an eyes-bigger-than-belly choice and were pretty much left untouched.
Another great selling point for the Cambridge Bar is they do fabulous milkshakes. They're listed under desserts and I can understand why - my chocolate milkshake was super creamy and thick and had flakes of chocolate throughout. If you’ve got a bigger appetite than me you can also indulge in other puddings like brownies and waffles with ice cream (£3.95).
The Cambridge Bar is definitely recommended for some really good quality burgers in the city centre. There are even additional vegetarian options of portabella mushroom with peppers, sundried tomatoes & chargrilled peppers (£7.50) and a haloumi burger with peppers & an olive tapenade (£7.95). Just make sure you have a good appetite when you go!
20 Young Street
Tel : 0131 226 2120