The Dram & Smoke pop-up in the Biscuit Factory, somewhat outwith of the main festival stretch, is back again this year with promises of a Campfire Feast, an interactive eating experience that has to be shared. Promoting Talisker as their main drinks brand, they offered a welcome cocktail prior to bringing the group upstairs to indulge in some improv food theatre.
The first whisky cocktail, which included barley and soda, was served in a miniature swing top bottle, somewhat setting the tone for the night. Once upstairs, we noted the detail and gimmicks that were present to evoke that campfire feast, with a tent in the corner, flasks of water on the table and the obvious effort had gone into the décor of the building. The Biscuit Factory is a wonderful place to be in itself to get a wonderful view of Edinburgh as the sun is setting, but even more so amidst the campfire context.
As a friend, Stuart, who’d also gone along to this evening mentioned, it was the kind of event you want to head to as a group, rather than as a couple or a party of two as there is no getting away from sharing with others attending the Campfire Feast. He also reckoned that, “The Biscuit Factory is a venue which is always on the border of being just being a bit too shabby, but it fitted the style of the event and they had put a lot of thought into decorating it along the ‘Campfire’ theme.”
Unfortunately we had two couples at our table, which seated ten, who point blank refused to partake in the theatre element of the meal. As someone passed round the kettle full of soup, my plus one cut the bread and we all made our way through the starter with a spork. Someone else then offered to carve up the large roast pork joint and sausage whilst another served beans from a large cast iron pot. For dessert we individually toasted marshmallows on a fire and one offered to serve up BBQ’d pineapple into our mess tins. Sadly, by the time this all took place the ice cream in the tins had melted and the wonderful taste of aluminium overwhelmed the taste buds with the dessert.
The Dram & Smoke offered somewhat of a Scottish campfire experience which was true enough in terms of the drinks but I would contest that the second dish, which Stuart highlighted was the only served in a conventional manner, was a weird mix and somewhat American. Succotash, with a touch of Truffle oil, did not quite work and certainly did not fit the theme.
Ambitious, this was a fun night despite a few aspects that could do with ironing out. It really separated the kind of people that would be worth actually camping with from those that would find it too much of an ordeal, dependent on others to survive the endurance test. I too would advise going as a big group, mucking in and helping out, as at that point I would imagine this type of night would be at its peak.
Stuart Breingan who contributed towards this review also writes a blog.
The Dram & Smoke Campfire Feasts pop-up runs until 27th August at the Biscuit Factory, 19:00.