By Eleonora Vanello
Victor Hugo is a much-loved Edinburgh institution perched on a corner site by The Meadows in Marchmont.
Although Polish in heritage, alfresco tables transport you to the cobbled streets of Paris while the interior yells New York deli.
Chequered napkins in bold primary colours are all part of the feel and theatre of the bustling delicatessen. A long counter showcases stuffed baguettes, quiche Lorraine, patisserie and of course the famous pastrami sandwiches with Swiss cheese and dill pickle.
In summer 2019 a second branch opened on the corner of Castle and George Street with much fanfare and Instagram street snaps. Coffee and pastrami sandwiches were held aloft by polished fingernails in the foreground with the castle on the horizon. An iconic image for Victor Hugo.
Hopes are to re-open this premise asap, but meanwhile, The Meadows branch is open daily from 8.00am until 4.30pm, from 9am on a Sunday and Victor Hugo recently launched their takeaway and delivery service. You can book via the website or by downloading a mobile app.
The menu includes breakfast, brunch, and lunch favourites along with daily specials and bakery (vegetarian, vegan, dairy and gluten-free options available). There’s also a selection of hot and cold drinks, including their signature freshly brewed coffee. The aroma of this coffee greets you when you visit the deli.
I ordered with saucer-like eyes bigger than my belly, and a feast was delivered in smart, strong VH-branded paper bags.
Focaccia and stuffed Bomboloni (similar to doughnut dough) are freshly made every morning by Italian chef Stefano. My sweet tooth led me to the Portuguese Custard Tarts 'natas' which are served at the deli warmed with a sprinkle of cinnamon. I didn’t stop there. Lemon & Courgette Cake (GF) and Dark Cherry and Marzipan (vegan)cakes were to die for. I suggest small bites here and there to savour these delicacies.
My savoury choices were Quiche Lorraine and a ‘Le Marseille’ gourmet baguette. I loved the mixture of goats’ cheese, onion marmalade, and pancetta on the latter while toasted pine nuts added crunchiness.
Of course, I had to have the legendary and my very own favourite - hot grilled Pastrami on Rye. Imagine layers of peppery pastrami, sliced tangy gherkins, Emmental cheese & mayonnaise melting in your mouth.
Victor Hugo fayre is quality comfort food that reflects the passion of the owner Karol and his staff. If you haven’t yet ordered from Victor Hugo, I suggest you remedy that right now. Eat well and support local. (E Vanello)
Victor Hugo’s takeaway service is available from 26/27 Melville Terrace, The Meadows, Edinburgh, EH9 1LP. Call 0131 667 1827 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or order online for home delivery here