August House


THE fried chicken sando order is not so much lost in translation as swept aside in the swooshy, whooshy, boom-box banging beat of CamelPhat featuring, uh, Jem Cooke. No, me neither but considering I embarrassed myself in public as a mad auld geezer say 10 minutes ago by shouting out, “do you have any tables that are not right under a speaker?” maybe I shouldn’t be surprised when chicken tenders rock up instead.

I’ll take the chicken sando too anyway – yes as well, I say to the waiter while popping the head off the first tender.

That waiter, a very pleasant young dude, nods, says something and shoots off into those vast spaces filled with couches, booths and strange partitions with huge round holes cut out of them. Considering the sando will never appear I assume he didn’t hear that either. Sigh.

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Now, I’m not the only customer in August House at about 8.30pm on a Tuesday night: I can hear cocktail shakers being rattled somewhere over there, distant laughter, but it does kind of feel like that. I don’t take this as a sign it’s unpopular though, simply that the clientele it’s aimed at are probably just getting out their beds.

Yeah. Remember those wonderful times? Rock on Tommy. However: August House does bill itself as an all-day, all-night food joint – the sort of holy grail of pie-in-the-sky restaurant dreams that sink like stones beneath post-Brexit staffing costs and post-Vlad power bills.

Which is why my expectations food-wise are a tad low. Come on: empty-ish restaurant; probably emptyish kitchen, early-week slumber times and a man in a plastic suit rocks up and suddenly orders half the menu? It can’t go well.

HeraldScotland: August House August House (Image: Colin Mearns)

Listen: is that the sound of fryers desperately being kick-started into life back there, freezer packs being torn open, the beep-beep-beep of a Brake Bros truck hand-brake turning into the loading bay? Who knows?

But I can say this: whoever prepared that togarashi spiced edamame bean hummus has the hands and the mind of an artist. It is beautiful. All crimsons and deep reds, whole edamame glistening, a flower-head crowning things, and just waiting to pop, star-bursty dustings of spice. And all of it absolutely packed with flavour for £6.

Crikey. Wasn’t expecting that. I scoffed too when I saw soft shell crab tacos on the – well, frankly, rather tacky looking menu, but here they are heading right now to my table, past these two random dudes (maybe DJs) who have come up and think I’m a bouncer, or the boss, or the man simply cos I’m wearing a suit (woo-hoo).

Little crabby clawy bits anyway, reaching for the sky, locked into a super-light, light batter: crisp, crunchy, white crab meat, avocado, chipotle mayo and then, boom: orange salsa running creeping round the back and booting these old taste buds. And then there’s an £8 Thai prawn and fish cake with som tam salad. Hands up?

Forget the fish cake – it’s generic, OK, and therefore literally forgettable. The salad however is laden with crisp, complex, clearly very fresh micro-veg and then there’s a slight tantalising whiff of Thai fish sauce filling the air followed by a really, really good sweet and sour dressing washing over everything. I suspect the edamame bean artist made this too.

HeraldScotland: August House August House (Image: Colin Mearns)

I like it so much I’m soon dragging those tenders right through it. Oops, nearly forgot: mini lobster and prawn roll at 10 whole Scottish bangers to me. Yes, you’re right. That butter-toasted brioche looks pretty and shiny, tastes not bad-ish if a little bit too long-shelf-life cakey on the inside but the seafood: I’m getting actual lobster flavour.

Yikes. Another surprise then. Just as Empire State Human pour a torrent of jingly-jangly 1970s synth sounds known as Automation (of course I’m Shazamming this) bathing the whole place in a semi-submersive vibe that I haven’t felt since I turned up at that school disco way too early – and it was just me and the DJ. And teachers.

Food’s much better here though. Surprisingly.


August House

43 Mitchell Street



Hours: Closed Monday: 12 pm til midnight otherwise, 1am Friday, Saturday, Tuesday 


Menu: Eastern vibe in disco land - if they still call them discos - edamames, soft-shell-crab tacos, mini lobster rolls, much better than it sounds or looks on the dull menu. 4/5 

Service: hard to tell when you’re largely lip reading but certainly pleasant, professional and brought the food fast. 4/5

Atmosphere: Louder than a nightclub in hell and that’s with nobody actually there, but iyt’s not aimed at mad old geezers so you may like it. 3/5

Price: Edamame Hummus, £6, Fries £4, Thai prawn cakes, £8, Mini lobster and prawn roll, £10, Soft shell crab tacos £11. Okay. 3/5

Food: some of it surprisingly beatiful, some of it delicious, certainly much, much better than I expected given the setting. 7/10

Total: 21/30