Filling Station - #FSMoments

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

As I mentioned in my June Highlights post, I recently attended 2 events at the Filling Station in Edinburgh.  The first was a cocktail masterclass at their Omni Centre restaurant.  This was a sort of warm up event in the lead up to the reopening of their Royal Mile restaurant at the end of the month (more on that in a bit).  

The cocktail class was a really fun night, we were introduced to mixologist Andy Pearson who gave us good chat about cocktails (obvs) and about what goes on behind the bar at the Filling Station.  It was interesting to hear that everything is completely freshly made (no pre-made mixers here lads) - I'll be honest and say that I previously associated the Filling Station with cheaply made, low booze, party type cocktails (you know what I mean….pitchers of really sickly sweet so-called cocktails that contained probably 2 shots of alcohol), but that's definitely not the case.

We got to sample a couple of different drinks from their extensive menu, and as it was a masterclass some of us even went behind the bar to try mixing some up ourselves.  I went up with a couple of other girls to make a cocktail that Andy made up on the spot based on our alcohol suggestions, it got named the "Edinburgh Handbag", and if I do say so myself, it was damn tasty (don't ask me what was in it….peach vodka, raspberries and something?).  All in all it was a really good night and I'd definitely go back for a few drinks next time I'm in the Omni (their frozen daiquiris are awesome).

A few weeks later a group of us went up to the Royal Mile Filling Station for their grand reopening.  Now, I always want to be completely open about my experiences at these type of events - regardless of whether or not it was a free night - and if I'm honest, I have mixed feelings about this one.  

The main reason for that is the food - now it wasnt that it was awful, it just wasn't anything special.  For starters we were given sharing BBQ style platters with bbq chicken wings, ribs, blue cheese chicken strips, boston prawns, and spicy calamari.  This was a bit of a fried food fest and everything felt a bit dry and overcooked unfortunately (especially the calamari which was really rubbery and dry).  In comparison though, the sharing platters we got at the Omni were really great so I think it was probably down to the fact that the place was really busy so food was being churned out as quickly as possible .  I can't really give them allowances for that though to be fair as if you go on a Friday or Saturday night it would be just as busy.

Things got better when it came to mains though - I had the Pulled Pork Burger with skinny fries and it was really nice, the burger wasn't greasy, the pulled pork was moist and had a lovely barbecue flavour, and the chips were good.  The only negative point I could make is that, emmm…..I didn't actually order it, haha.  I had asked for a pulled pork sandwich but I blame the mistake on the insanely loud band that we were unfortunately seated behind, as I think our (very lovely!) waitress just misheard me.

We ended up getting moved actually as the band were so loud that we couldn't talk to each other.  I get that it was a launch party, and obviously they were trying to show off the full potential of the place as a restaurant and a live music venue (and the band were really good!), but there is definitely a difference between party atmosphere and nightclub atmosphere...

Anyway, I realise that makes me sound like a party pooper so I'll move on, haha.  After our mains we got to order some desserts and as usual this was my downfall at events like this.  My eyes are always bigger than my stomach (and that's saying something)!  I went for the Mint Oreo Sundae and it was really nice but I only managed like 3 spoonfuls before I had to stop.  After the burger and the (pretty greasy) starters, ice cream was just a bit too much for me unfortunately!

Overall I'm not completely put off going back to the Royal Mile restaurant, I just wasn't that blown away by the food or the event itself.  I think some of it could just be down to teething problems though and the fact it was a really busy night.  I realise it sounds really ungrateful to moan about issues like loud music and the food (which I didn't pay for) not being anything special, but I don't want to just gloss over that stuff and focus on the good bits just so I don't hurt the feelings of the people who invited us.  I know I'm really lucky to get to go to things like this, but it's still important to be honest.  The bottom line is, if I wouldn't recommend a place to a friend then I'm not going to give it a good review just because I got a freebie, and I think that's only fair on my blog readers.

Like I said at the start though, I did really enjoy the Omni Centre event, and the food there was a lot better so I would definitely go back there and I'd recommend it to a friend.  I just perhaps wouldn't rush back to the Royal Mile.


  1. Everything looks so good, especially loving the look of that shake! Unfortunately the first filling station cocktails event I couldn't attend..then didn't hear anything about this one! boo :( maybe next time, so refreshing to see an honest review though! x

    The Little Things

  2. I ate at the Filling Station when I visited Edinburgh at the end of June and have to say the food was pretty disappointing and I didn't feel like it was worth the money! Which was a shame as the Coast to Coast restaurant down in Brighton is fantastic! x

  3. Ah, this is making me sooo hungry! But I think food like this can be disappointing when not done really well. It's easy to think you can just slap a burger together but it actually relies on skill and good quality ingredients...