We visited the Mad Hatter in the city’s West End one quiet Sunday afternoon and found that much like its fictional namesake, the Mad Hatter Pub appears a little ‘mixed up’ perhaps reflecting the mid-gentrification phase of this area of town.
Décor comprises both cosy sofas and massive solid wooden benches and tables. A neat selection of Scottish and international craft beers, alongside a succinct but agreeably imaginative cocktail list including a delightful Edinburgh Gin Fizz suggest a quality offering. The basic boozer glassware, on the other hand could be bettered.
The Silver Fox, the fox Cub and I ate well on our visit, however a few niggling issues let down what is a pretty solid food offering. Despite being a little indy-kid, they still mimick mega-pub menus with mixed results. We started with the winner of the day, crayfish with Marie-Rose sauce (£4.95) on toasted chunky bread. A nice change-up to the ubiquitous prawn, with its tangy sauce this showed off a retro classic well, and was served with a fresh rocket garnish.
My Edinburger Burger (£10) was served à la mode with wooden board, enamelware and it looked the part. Shiny brioche bun, onion rings, smoked Cheddar and haggis atop a slightly over-done yet decent minced steak burger. Accompanied by an excellent home-made slaw and crisp yet unsalted skinny fries, it satisfied the hunger. The Fox’s Burrito (£8.50) was served as described accompanied by cheesy nachos, stuffed with rice, chicken, jalapenos and salsa. Unfortunately, it was lacking in any seasoning or flavour; bland white rice with the odd piece of unseasoned chicken thrown in. The current Mexican Food Revolution definitely bypassed this one. A nearby table seemed to be faring happily well with mussels, fishfinger sandwiches and more.
Idiosyncratically enough, despite the toppling number of main courses (28 including all the variations; more options than there are chairs in the pub) there was one, single solitary dessert available. Sticky toffee pud (£4) was that lone ranger, and a hero he was too. Moist sponge, oozy toffee sauce and toffee ice cream. It was a nice end to lunch, and almost made up for the burrito…