By Ron Bingham
This is my third visit to the bohemian and increasingly hard to find, Hunt & Darton cafe. Each year, like a Gypsy caravan cum food truck, they move further away from the Fringe hub and into more and more secretive locations. They are part of the Forest Fringe, which is separate to the Edinburgh Fringe, (a sort of Fringe of the Fringe) and happens down towards Leith, as it did last year, but this year they have moved from the Forest Fringe main venue to a new location further into Leith. The venue, the Old Biscuit Factory, is next to a 36 bus stop but to get to the cafe itself you need to enter the venue (past the one small sandwich board advertising the cafe) up two flights of stairs, along a corridor, double back and up yet another flight of stairs and through a side door (there are tiny signs pasted on the walls and there may be someone at reception. By the time you arrive in the large airy cafe, you’ll feel like part of a secret society committed to overthrowing the establishment.
You’ll also feel like something to eat and luckily it isn’t just all Avant Garde art installation & comedy, Jenny Hunt and Holly Darton run a genuinely decent Cafe too. I can definitely recommend the roast dinner sandwich, a three layer mountain of bread, vegetables, stuffing, sauce, gravy, crisps and your choice of either chicken beef or nuts. Other more traditional food and drink is available, and your order will invariably be served by either the hosts or one of the revolving cast of celebrity waiting staff, who will also be happy to chat with you.
The cafe has many fun games and small entertainments to help you while away your time, with songs, dances, challenges and puzzles. Scotee’s Social is the evening show. The atmosphere is welcoming and you will find it hard to leave, once you’ve settled into your chair. If you’ve been working hard seeing shows and need a couple of hours to wind down, relax and meet some fabulous new friends. Or you might just want to experience one of the coolest artiest alternative travelling cafes with guest hosts every day, then get your map and compass (or search it on your smartphone) and come on down. It’s open every day from 12-4 and evening 7-11 until the 26th – except Saturday night when there is entertainment of a more 50 Shades style planned….
Hunt & Darton Cafe is at The Biscuit Factory, 4-6 Anderson Place, Edinburgh EH6 5NP