“Would you like strawberry or chocolate?” asks the kind waitress at this burger restaurant.
He examines his new shoes, with the diplodocus print on them. She asks again, and he crouches down and starts to commando crawl under the table.
“Strawberry, please,” all the grown-ups say.
It’s my nephew’s third birthday and it turns out that he gets a free drink at lockdown business Butta’s newest of two branches, with the other on George Street.
In this case, it’s one of their milkshakes. It has a stripy straw, like a barber’s pole, lots of smooth whipped cream and red fruity sauce, with an actual berry on the top.
Lucky boy. He thanks them by spilling most of it down his jumper, then getting sugar high zoomies, and galloping around the restaurant, with its yellow and gray velveteen seats.
Thankfully, it’s almost completely empty on our visit, with just one other table of two people (big apologies to them) on a Sunday lunchtime.
The momentum gathers, like he’s a Shetland pony that’s been stung by a wasp, and I wonder if we could dart him using a sedative fired through one of the straws.
Before he manages to get his sticky fingers on the big glass windows that look out onto Lister Square, where there’s also Malaysian restaurant and shop, Nanyang, two new bubble tea vendors and a branch of Soderberg, we corral him, and bring him back for his (huge), portion of chicken fingers and chips (£7.50). These are very distracting. The kids dishes come in takeaway boxes, which is a good idea, mess and chaos-wise, and for taking away the inevitable leftovers.
The middle child has gone for the burger and fries (£7.50), which inspires her to draw a big pink heart and a wonky-looking cat on the colouring-in kit the youngest two get.
She also scribbles down a rating, 7 ½. I hear you, restaurant reviewer in training.
However, the eldest insisted on a grown-up menu item. She’s 11, nearly as tall as her auntie, and needs constant fuelling.
Thus, she went for the sweet, tangy and sticky sesame-seed-speckled honey miso wings (£6) for six, which are great, though this turned out to be a smaller portion than the dishes on the actual kids menu. Oops, that plan backfired.
I’m clearly the winner in the grown-up camp, with a truffle chick (£12.50). It’s a craggy escalope that’s too big for its soft sesame bun - like a seven foot tall man in lederhosen - with extremities poking out either end. This has been sloshed with mildly feral tasting truffle mayo, as well as a flurry of crispy onions and American cheese. Oh yes, and I accessorise with a shared tray of their truffle, Parmesan and rosemary salt fries (£6.50) and we divvy out some togarashi (£4.50) seasoning dusted skinny ones too.
You don’t need a portion of fries per person here. We went for two batches and had to take most of it home.
The beef and onion burger (£9.50) goes down well too, with two aged beef patties, more of those feathery crispy fried onions and homemade marrow mayo. Apparently, their USP is that they season the burgers here with their secret Butta baste. Who knows what’s in it, but their meaty wares are salty, rich and smoky.
In comparison, the Korean vegan burger (£9.50) feels a little bit pedestrian. While the others are bulging out of their shiny domed baps, it’s just a standard single decker and, despite a dollop of kimchi and homemade Scotch bonnet sauce, the plant based patty is a bit dry and granular.
You can’t win them all.
Since my sister and I were jealous of the children’s shakes, we split the Seventies throw-back that is the black forest one (£6) for pudding.
Cherries and chocolate, with a single Malteser on the top. The combination makes me very happy, and you can add a shot of rum for an extra couple of quid, should you want to adultify the sugary experience.
Even without that boozy addition, I still got the zoomies. However, I managed to control myself before the urge to do a cartwheel got too strong.
“Can we come back here on MY birthday?” says the middle niece. Yeah, yeah, mine too, and I’ll have a chocolate one please.
8 Lister Square
(0131 629 2660, www.buttaburger.co.uk)