The Filling Station has a special place on my mental map of Edinburgh restaurants. It was definitely my go-to place when I was younger. It was there I discovered my love (and surprising tolerance) for Long Island Iced Tea and many a plan was hatched with friends over burgers and pitchers. For some reason though, in recent times my head has been turned by other places so I visited The Filling Station less and less. So I was pleased to be invited along to the relaunch event for their newly refurbished High Street branch. I roped in my mate Louise and we headed for an evening of entertainment in the form of a live band and basketball tricksters, a charity raffle and some mouthwatering food and drinks.
The decor is cosy, with intimate booths and Americana memoriabilia to set the mood. The menu is described as “coast to coast” serving up classic American dishes from barbecue sauced burgers to proper cheese first Chicago pizzas via Tex-Mex style fajitas. Supplemented by an extensive cocktail menu, there is something for everyone so great for an evening where no one is sure what they want.
We were treated to a glass of Prosecco on arrival and then while waiting for our starters, the waitress brought over a couple of cocktails for us to try. Louise had the classic Mojito Usually I think I don’t like Mojitos – too strong on the mint leafiness – but as the waitress explained, the bar staff are careful not to crush the mint leaves so that the flavouring is more gently infused. This definitely works for me, refreshing, crisp and flavourful without the overpowering herbiness. I had an Appletini, which has a hint of cinnamon so to me feels like quite a autumn/winter drink, although very tasty and I must admit went down quickly enough!
On to the food! This huge platter was the sharing BBQ Board. This really showcased the ethos of The Filling Station – American dishes done well. It included blue cheese chicken tenders, falling-from-the-bone BBQ ribs and chicken wings, juicy Boston prawns, crispy calamari and spicy chorizo with a BBQ and a Cajan mayo dip. We were also served up sea salt pretzels with a garlic butter dip. These were a fantastic addition and one of the new dishes on the menu. Lovely, soft freshly baked bread, definitely raised the bar above the standard garlic bread offerings.
My dining partner went for steak and fries for her main with a side of coleslaw and Kentucky Bourbon sauce. The steak was accurately cooked to the requested medium and the portion of fries more than generous. The sauce though, I’ll be honest, I stole most of it, it was so good. Creamy, peppery with a hit of rich bourbon flavour. I loved it for dipping the fries into – sorry Louise!
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I went for the BBQ pulled pork burger with a side of fries. I’ve always loved The Filling Station fries as they are crispy without losing the fluffiness inside and I’m happy to report that they haven’t changed a bit, still insanely moreish. The burger was topped with a good helping of pulled pork but not too much to make the burger difficult to eat. There were also no fatty bits that often come with pork, very happy about that! If I had one criticism it would be that the sauce was mostly on one side of the burger, I’m guessing to create the desired look on the plate. Not a huge deal but I would have preferred it to be a little more evenly spread on the burger so that I didn’t have to scoop it up myself. But the burger was well cooked and the toppings tasty so I’ll forgive it!
We were already pretty full but we had to have the Mint Oreo Sundae. As two mint chocolate fans, the other deserts just didn’t get a look in! With mint choc chip ice cream, crushed Oreos, chocolate sauce and whipped cream they were oddly refreshing. But yes, we were very, very full at the end of that feast!
As well as relaunching the restaurant, the evening was in aid of CHAS (Children’s Hospice Association of Scotland). A raffle was held and reports on The Filling Station website show that so far they have raised £428.o3 for the charity, a fabulous result.
We were given a goody bag as we left – really above and beyond – that included a few more drinks (in case we hadn’t had enough) and more information about the charity
I want to say a huge thank you to all at The Filling Station for having us along to celebrate the new look, and for treating us so well. The service was fantastic and the manager came over to make sure we were having a good time. The real test though is of course the food, which was delicious. I can’t wait for my next visit!