We’re in the mood for lunch out and we’ve been promising ourselves we’ll try this smorgasbord for a while. Akva is a big, spacious, Swedish-style bar with a relaxed and friendly buzz about it. It’s pleasantly located in Fountainbridge at the top of the Union Canal, one of Edinburgh’s hidden treasures. They do a conventional menu, which we’ve sampled before, but they also offer a daily lunchtime buffet.
It’s all reassuringly simple. When you choose to ‘go smorgasbord’ you’re issued with a decently sized plate and invited to fill it from the buffet for a very reasonable £7.50. If you’re an individual with a particularly hearty appetite, another fiver will allow you to return for even more and the great thing is, you don’t have to decide straight away. (Just as well as it turns out, because even we have to admit that one plate is plenty even for seasoned diners like us).
It would take forever to list everything that’s on offer today, but the array includes smoked trout, smoked salmon, freshly sliced ham, smoked cheese and a multitude of brightly coloured salads , grilled vegetables and assorted pickles. In addition to this, there are two hot dishes – today’s choice is veggie sausage casserole and a three bean chilli, both with accompanying hot rice. There’s also a selection of breads to choose from (the black bread is particularly good). When you’re presented with such a cornucopia of delights to select from, you’ll find yourself trying a little bit of everything and that’s no bad thing, because it means that every forkful you taste is different. Though we try hard to pace ourselves we manage to devour everything on our plates in record time and feel pleasantly full, rather than stuffed.
This is a refreshingly different kind of lunch, a great choice if you’re meeting up with friends and family (particularly those hard-to-please veggie ones) and when you’re finished, you can always nip upstairs and enjoy the free-to-use ping pong table, which in my book is a great addition to any bar – or, weather allowing, why not try a walk along the canal where you can happily work of some of those calories?
Next time you’re stuck for lunch, you know where to go.