Lockdown is tough if you’re a Social Bitch. Unlike many people, we’re not tempted to declutter our cupboards, learn a language, or join Joe Wicks of a morning. Instead, we want to feel the joy that only great food can bring. Which is why we’re thrilled Victor Hugo is only too happy to deliver.
It’s Saturday, around 11am. Despite the madness going on in the world, we’ve woken up pretty much as normal: slightly hungover, and feeling the only possible cure is an extremely long lunch.
Within moments we’re online, and ordering a ridiculous amount of food. But let’s back up the delivery truck just a little …
Victor Hugo has been satisfying the foodies of Edinburgh for half a century. The first store opened on the Meadows in 1969, and now there’s a second branch on George Street.
Renowned for its breakfast rolls, gargantuan deli-style sandwiches, heavenly frittata, perfectly cooked waffles, homemade cakes, and pastries, there’s definitely a lot to love.
While delivery can be a risky business, where even the tastiest dishes don’t quite survive the journey, there’s no such problem here. Our order arrives early, looks amazing, and boasts super stylish packaging. Boom! Even better, every dish is somehow still at its optimum temperature.
We kick off our impromptu feast with the Chicken, potato and wild garlic soup. It’s served with a few slices of Victor Hugo’s gorgeous rye bread [ more about that in a mo ] and butter that’s been, mercifully, softened just the right amount.
One sip, and our verdict is a resounding: delicious! It’s piping hot, full of delicate flavours, and there’s a massive amount of chicken. [ Other soup-makers, take note ]
The dish also offers a real feeling of comfort, making it the perfect antidote to this whole “end-of-the-world” vibe we’re currently experiencing. Our only complaint: by bowl’s end, we’re already feeling kind of full.
A cry of “NO!!!!!!!!” echoes through Edinburgh’s empty streets.
Though perhaps we can manage one of the many Portuguese tarts we’ve ordered. Again, they’re the perfect temperature – lightly warmed as you’d expect – with a light custard that’s sweet, but not too sweet, and a flaky pastry that melts in the mouth. Heavenly.
After several minutes of chanting the word “wow” to each other, we think we might also have room for the next course.
Ripping open yet another delivery bag, we indulge in the Meat Frittata / Spanish Omelette, which our fellow foodie Kerry Teakle [ The Culture Vulture ] describes as an absolute must. Naturally, her advice is bang on.
A wonderfully spicy pancetta joins potato, broccoli, onion and of course egg in creating a dish that is much, much more than the sum of its parts. Served with a Red cabbage slaw, and a rather stunning Russian potato salad, we’re once again saying wow.
Though having ordered twice as much as food as we actually need, we decide to hit the pause button for a moment, and save our next course for later in the day. But alas, a message from the staff at Victor Hugo suggests such restraint is not to be.
Somehow they’re convinced we haven’t ordered enough. Really?? Perhaps they’ve heard rumours of our legendary greed, or maybe they think there’s more than two of us? Either way, they’re urging us to have more.
And so, as if in a corona-inspired frenzy of panic, we find ourselves frantically ordering burgers, a variety of waffles, and several more tubs of that fabulous potato salad.
Though in order to downplay what is clearly an eating disorder, we call this next delivery “dinner” and our remaining dish “a cheeky afternoon tea.”
Which brings us, rather nicely, to Victor Hugo’s signature sandwich – the breathtaking Pastrami on rye. Roughly two inches thick, it offers layer after layer of pastrami, sliced gherkin, Emmental cheese, and what we’re tempted to say is best mayonnaise ever.
Big on quantity as well as quality, it is – in our not so humble opinion – the perfect sandwich. Soft, sumptuous bread, bold flavours, a variety of textures, a generous supply of condiments, and it offers the ideal level of moist. A truly beautiful experience.
It’s so good, so satisfying, it’s almost a struggle squeezing in another couple of the Portuguese custard tarts. But somehow, well, we manage. Then, following a cup of tea and a lie down, we ‘re moving seamlessly on to dinner.
Our main dish is the Hugo’s Burger, a delicacy that is no way subtle or delicate. For the dedicated carnivores amongst us, it offers a thick 6 ounce burger, a merguez sausage sliced & fried, a generous slice of halloumi, and a healthy dollop of that wonderful mayo.
Meat sweats aside, we love its intensity. There’s no messing about with iceberg lettuce here, just protein pure and simple. The ultimate comfort food you might say. So if you’re hungover like us, or didn’t get enough love as a child, then this burger is a must.
By now, you’d think this episode of “Bitches versus Food” would be reaching an end, but somehow we’re still able to tackle one last dish – the Waffles.
A fitting finale to what’s been a wonderful six hours of gluttony, they’re the perfect ratio of crisp versus soft. As for topping, maple is the classic, strawberry & chocolate tots awesome, but our favourite is the Banana & Nutella. So rich, it’s absolute bliss.
As we lapse into what can only be described as a food coma, we receive yet another message from Victor Hugo. They’re now saying they’d love us to try the breakfast menu as well. But before we can even contemplate the possibility, we pass out …
Reviewed April 2020
Victor Hugo’s takeaway service is available from:
26/27 Melville Terrace
Call 0131 667 1827
Or order online at www.victorhugodeli.com