Going out to the pub for breakfast is something I’ve only really discovered in recent years. Now it’s one of my favourite things to do. So the other Saturday when Mrs Bar Fly and I fancied a fry-up fix, we headed down to Teuchters Landing – a break from the norm, it has to be said. Living in Edinburgh, near Leith, I have to admit my default option for a weekend breakfast up till now has been the King’s Wark at The Shore, which does an excellent breakfast albeit often accompanied by somewhat shambolic service. Not rude, just disorganised. So would Teuchters Landing be able to equal or better its nearby rival?
On entering what looks like a charming little country railway station, it was clear that Teuchters Landing is a far more laid back sort of place. Admittedly we there in the “calm before the storm”, according to bearded manager John, as this was the final day of Six Nations action and the pub was going to be packed from lunchtime onwards, a host of reserved tables in the front bar proving testament to this. We chose to eat in the large conservatory at the back, however. This is an area that used to be a separate restaurant called A Room in Leith, which has now moved round the corner after it outgrew its back-of-the-pub position, but is still owned by the same people. The back room now has a far more informal feel, a big screen and a mural depicting Leith featuring a few famous faces, if our spotting of the Proclaimers and Robert Burns was correct.
For food, it’s order at the bar here and it was an easy choice – the “Big Carnivores Plate” was calling to me, loud and clear. Alarm bells were ringing though as I noticed the inclusion of baked beans. Myself and Mrs Bar Fly are at polar opposites of this debate – I feel they have no place on a breakfast plate as they get everywhere with their orange sauciness whereas she quite likes them. Thankfully, the aforementioned John came up with the perfect solution by offering to pop my beans into a separate dish so that Mrs Bar Fly could enjoy them with her scrambled eggs on toast. A nice touch, I have to say.
When it arrived, I was faced with a sizable but manageable plateful. I have to admit, I’d been out the previous night and was ravenous by 11.20am so tore in immediately, almost forgetting to snap a picture as you can see from the teeth marks and half-eaten haggis. The scrambled eggs, I am happy to say, were just the correct side of watery – an important consideration in any cooked breakfast.
For once, I can’t comment on the beer but I’ve been here often enough to know that they keep decent ale. If the sun had been past the yardarm, I might have indulged in a pint of Jarl, though at £3.95 it is one of the more expensive pints of it you’ll find in the city. However, you’re paying for location and atmosphere here so it’s not too grudged (unless you’re a gentleman I once overheard in the nearby Malt & Hops, who was of a differing opinion). No doubt public sector workers from the nearby Scottish Government, which sits outside the back of the pub, have no qualms about paying that little bit extra for a better pub experience.
Beer aside, it’s whisky that is the passion here and the menu runs for pages. In the picture above of the alphabetical list, you’ll see the first 22 and they’ve only got to “B”. That’s a lot of whisky. They even claim at the bottom that “All whisky’s [sic] are subject to availability, we sometimes have more!” They also note that “Big John really likes them all!” Having met Big John, who looks like your archetypal whisky-loving, rugby-watching Edinburgh publican, I wouldn’t argue with his opinions. Or his ability to polish off the big breakfast.
One thing that does strike me about Teuchters Landing is that it rarely features on lists of the best beer gardens in Edinburgh (it does on this one, right enough). Often we hear about The Peartree or The Beehive but down at Dock Place, Teuchters Landing has ample outside space by the water, as well as a pontoon on the back which gives the feeling of being on a boat, chugging along some European waterway, albeit without the chugging.
Along with plenty outside space, there are also snug corners between the bar and the conservatory and the whole gamut of pub seating – from bar stools to comfy sofas, the latter proudly taunting me by displaying the same questionable cushions as I found in its sister pub, Teuchters at the West End. We’ll let them off a little on the interior design as Mrs Bar Fly was impressed by the Scottish Fine Soaps hand cream and hand wash in the ladies’. Women notice these things, you know.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Teuchters Landing and it’s great now that it’s not part-pub, part-restaurant, as it’s far better as a pub that does decent grub (a normal menu is available with all your pub favourites plus their “mug menu”) alongside decent beer and whisky. No beer for me this day and it was with a heavy heart I departed soberly, somewhat jealous of those who would spend the day here, watching the rugby.
So, has Teuchter’s Landing taken the Leith breakfast crown? It’s a close one. You get more on your plate, more space to enjoy it and more organised service. It may not have dealt a knockout blow to The King’s Wark but it’s maybe won on a close points decision.
Teuchter’s Landing is at 1c Dock Place, Edinburgh, EH6 6LU. Find the whole group of pubs and restaurants on Twitter here.