Hunt & Darton – Cafe

By Ron Bingham

This is both a performance art space and a real cafe, with proper cooked food and drinks available. I was first drawn in when I happened to walk past the cafe and noticed the hosts wearing flowers of broccoli on their heads. Even in Edinburgh, that’s a hard sight not to want to comment upon. After a chat with one of the ladies, I promised to return the next day (when I had some free time), and…

Saturday afternoon, after a brisk trip up Arthur’s Seat, I entered into the cafe at about 1.30pm. I was immediately greeted by hosts Jenny & Holly, given a name tag and pointed to a table, where I was introduced to the other patrons. Just after I arrived a raffle was held, where the free tickets could win someone the pick of a table of tinned food and other delicacies. There were games, records being played as the background music, toys, jigsaws, daily themes, bingo, fascinating things to see on the walls and around the room, celebrity waiting staff (from other shows, some of which return in the evening to play in the room) and the highlight of our day, a sugar sandwich making competition, where the best sandwich concept wins a prize. My table came second, with our gingivitis ruined tooth, which sadly collapsed during the movement test. The fifteen or so different judging categories allowed time for some of the tables to become very competitive and critical of any negative scores.

All up, I spent well over two hours here just joining in the fun and meeting lovely people. Some people are in love with the cafe so much that they end up spending their whole day there (it runs from 10am to 5pm every day of the fest, except Monday) and it’s free to visit. If you’re looking for a stress free time in the company of delightful people (all ages, from little kids to big ones), then this is the perfect place to just come and hang out for a rest. You never know, if you’re lucky someone might just buy a trifle for the whole cafe (£10 – I went halves with someone). This cafe was running during last year’s festival as well, but I missed it. Holly and Jenny also have their (not free) show in the evenings in the same venue, but I was sadly unable to make that. Still, that’s top of my list for next year.

The Hunt and Dart Cafe is open for all from 10am – 5pm at 17-21 St Mary’s St near The Pleasance

It’s free to enter and you don’t have to book.

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