Working near to Waverley Mall, I walk past the Festival Village every day. It’s consistently busy and has a relaxed yet fun vibe. Previously, I had only enjoyed a drink here, so I was delighted when I was offered the chance to enjoy some food and drinks at the village with fellow bloggers*.
We met outside of Fizz & Pearl, which was probably the restaurant I was most excited to try and we were seated at a comfortable table beside Princes Street. The first thing I realised was that the Festival Village is a lot bigger than it looks; comprising of Fizz & Pearl, The Butcher Boy, Malones and more. With so much on offer, you can choose to be seated close to Princes Street where you can people watch or you can filter back, away from the hustle and bustle.
The lovely people at Fizz & Pearl greeted us with bottles of Moet & Chandon Brut Rose and we were able to chat to the management team at the Festival Village. Being able to pop in to the village after work and enjoy a glass of fizz (or 2) in the sunshine is a real treat – it’s easy to see why this pop up has become so popular with locals and tourists.
After opening the Malone’s on the Mall pop up at the beginning of the year, July saw the music, food and drink selection grow and become the Festival Village. The village sits atop Waverley Mall, which is where it will stay until the 10th of September. This means you have plenty of time to indulge in food from the delightful Pizza Geeks, who make yummy woodfired Neapolitan style pizzas.
While dining al fresco you can enjoy a selection of different music; from jazz at Fizz & Pearl to recent hits on the M2 music stage, there’s something for everyone. Simon Keane, who runs the Festival Village has emphasised how important the live music is for the pop up and with over 200 artists taking to the stage over July and August, the musical aspect has definitely been a success. It’s fantastic to be able to enjoy drinks with friends, in an inviting atmosphere, surrounded by free, live music.
Once we had soaked up the ambiance, it was time to sample some of the great looking food. My boyfriend and I had a wander around the village to make sure we hadn’t missed anything before deciding what to order. Whilst wandering, we came across The Pitt, whose market in Leith I’m a huge fan of. At the Festival Village they’re serving steak & chips and halloumi fries. Halloumi fries people – just saying. Although I love these guys, I decided I wanted to try something new.
I knew I had to order the scallop and black pudding special from Fizz & Pearl because it looked and sounded incredible. Fizz & Pearl have an extensive menu for a pop up location and they have additional specials, which all sounded amazing. I was very happy with the choice of scallops; they were big and succulent, served with black pudding that melted in my mouth and a tangy guacamole. I washed down this delicious meal with a glass of Moet Chandon Brut and it was perfection.
Sam and I shared the scallops and then decided to share a Dirty Burger from The Butcher Boy, which came highly recommended. This time we paired the meal with an American IPA because burgers and beers are always a match! The Dirty Burger had candied bacon, caramelized onion and gherkins on top – it was a fabulous choice. The burger itself had a fantastic crispy coating, but was lovely and juicy inside; there’s nothing worse than a dry burger, but luckily this one was oozing flavour.
From the staff, music, food and drinks I had a brilliant evening at the Festival Village. It’s the perfect place to grab food or drinks before, in between or after a show. I’ll certainly be making the most of the village whilst it’s here for the Fringe and I’ll be hoping that it pops up again in the near future!
*Although our main meals were complimentary, all opinions are my own.