Edinburgh diary: In which hangover food is required

Nicky Woolf knows the best spots for a morning-after pick-me-up.

August 12. Day five.

Hungover is the basic state for mornings at the Edinburgh Festival. They are as inevitable as the rain. It's probably possible to catch one without even having drunk anything, so intense is the atmosphere of morning-after pain that sits on the city like a black cloud each morning. But the show must go on, and Edinburgh has a number of places that specialise in hangover-curing curries or coffees to cut through the morning fog. Here are a few of the best.

Mosque Kitchen is a festival staple, a real life-saver. It started out as a tiny curry kitchen round the back of the Edinburgh Central Mosque on Potterow, doling out big steaming dollops of curry (meat, chicken, or vegetable), and rice and dahl on paper plates. It's the hangover nuclear option – and now they've opened a second premises, on Nicholson Square, to cope with their ever-growing demand from the suffering masses. You have not truly been to the Fringe unless you've indulged your hangover craving and binged on Mosque Kitchen curry.

Sometimes, some mornings, one simply has a pie-shaped hole in one's life. The Piemaker, on South Bridge fills that hole.

Walking in to 10 To 10 In Delhi is like entering a different world; a little slice of India in the middle of Edinburgh. The smell of spices fills the air, red and gold drapes adorn inviting seats, and the atmosphere is dreamy, somehow unreal. Their masala chai is all made fresh and to-order, and is a genuinely life-changing experience. After a couple of sips, no day after any kind of night before seems insurmountable.

Oink on Victoria Street, just off the Royal Mile, boasts enormous Scottish hog-roast sandwiches and nothing else, with a choice of either haggis or sage and onion stuffing. The rolls come in three sizes; the Piglet, the Oink, and the Grunter, and the crackling is the best you will ever taste.

It's difficult to spot Spoon. It's a bit of a secret, with its hidden-away entrance, but this airy and first-floor cafe, with it's eclectic décor, healthy sandwiches and home-made soups, is always a great breakfast option.

Last, but absolutely not least, Black Medicine is Edinburgh's most famous coffee shop. Free wi-fi, a large range of generously-filled ciabattas and bagels, custom wooden furniture and a bustling atmosphere all play second fiddle to some seriously amazing coffee. The place is aptly-named; the coffee is genuinely medicinal.

 

A performer at the Udderbelly venue. Chances are, he's hungover. Photograph: Getty Images.

Nicky Woolf is a writer for the Guardian based in the US. He tweets @NickyWoolf.

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Commons Confidential: Money for old Gove

Backstabbing Boris, a doctored doctorate, and when private schools come to Parliament.

Treachery is proving profitable for Michael Gove since his backstabbing of Boris Johnson led to the victim being named Foreign Sec and the knifeman carved out of Theresa May’s cabinet. The former injustice secretary was overheard giving it the big “I am” in the Lords café bar by my snout and boasting that he’ll trouser £300,000 on the political sidelines. I note a £150,000 Times column and £17,500 HarperCollins book deal have been duly registered. Speaking engagements, he confided to the Tory peer Simone Finn, will be equally lucrative.

Gove is polite (always says hello and smiles at me despite what I write) but it was insensitive to talk money when his companion was moaning. Finn, a Cameron crony, whined that she had been sacked as a spad and so is out of pocket. Perhaps he could lend her a tenner. And I do hope Mickey isn’t passing himself off as an “expert” to coin it.

While Nigel Farage’s successor-but-one Paul “Dr Nutty” Nuttall protests that he never doctored a CV with an invented university PhD, Ukip’s ritzy nonpareil continues to enjoy the high life. My informant spied Farage, the self-appointed people’s chief revolter, relaxing in first class on a British Airways flight from New York to Blighty. Drinking three types of champagne doesn’t come cheap at £8,000 one-way, so either the Brexit elitist is earning big bucks or he has found a sugar daddy. Nowt’s too good for the Quitters, eh?

Labour’s youngest MP, Lou Haigh, was popular in a Justice for Colombia delegation to monitor the Northern Ireland-inspired peace process there. At Normandia prison in Chiquinquira, after a five-hour drive to see Farc guerrillas cleared for release, inmates pushed past the British male trade unionists to greet the 29-year-old Sheffield Heeley tribune. What a change from parliament, where it is women who are treated as if they’re wearing Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks.

The kowtowing is catching up with Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, the SNP party animal and onetime-Tory-turned-Labour. Better late than never, I hear, she delivered a masterclass in toadying to the Chinese at a Ditchley Park conflab. Ahmed-Grovel MP avoided discussion of human rights abuses and made much instead of the joys of Scotch whisky to Beijing, and Scotland as a gateway to the UK. I trust she kept her sycophancy secret from SNP colleagues jostling in parliament a short while back for photographs with Lobsang Sangay, head of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

John Bercow is concerned that private schools dominate visits to parliament. So a bit like the Commons chamber, where 32 per cent of MPs (48 per cent of Tories) come from establishments that teach 7 per cent of pupils in the UK. 

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 08 December 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brexit to Trump