Tag Archives: 4/5

Loudons Café and Bakery, Fountainbridge

20 Nov


Score: 4/5

Prices: Coffee and cake for under £5

Best for: Working/meeting up with friends

This lovely café shares a great resemblance to one of my favorite cafés in Edinburgh, Peter’s Yard.  I belive the owner of this café was once a chef at Peter’s Yard and that establishment has clearly had a great influence of the style of this café as most of the fittings are identical and they have chosen a similar space with provides the café with a lovely sence of light and space.  The coffee was completely delicious but I was a little disappointed with my food (I went there for brunch) which fell slightly short of my very high expectations.  Their cakes look delicious though, and I look forward to going back so I can test them out.  definitely one to try if you haven’t been there already, and do follow the link to their website because it’s beautiful!


Balcony Café, National Museum of Scotland

12 Nov

Score: 4/5

Prices: Average (tea/coffe and cake for under £5)

Best For: Relaxing after taking a stroll around the museum

I’ll admit that it was very close to closing time when I got to this café, hence the tea in a cardboard cup (usually you would have a china cup and tea-pot) and the slightly sad-looking piece of cake.  I have therefore been generous with my score because I think this café would usually be much nicer than my experience of it.  There was very little cake left, and crumbs all over the place which didn’t make it seem all that inviting but it was delicious (orange cake – yummy) and I’m sure they were just sold out because the other cakes were equally good.  They have a wide selection of loose teas, I had ginger and camomile.  The set up of the café is also lovely, on a balcony (as the name would suggest) and beautiful and bright.  You can people watch to your heart’s content and soak in the precious light.  It’s a lovely place to stop for a minute when you actually at the museum, but I don’t think I’d make a special trip just to go to the café.

Les Éditurs, Saint Germain des Prés, Paris

26 Jun


Score: 4/5

Best For: Posing, reading a book and feeling French

This is a great café and feels ever so French.  The decor is fabulous and books line the café half of this establishment giving it a chic, slightly bacheloresque feel.  It’s a little pricey (espresso, 2.00 EUR, café au lait 4.20 EUR), but this is Paris and everything is pretty expensive.  The coffee was very good, and came with a chocolate which is always nice.  Service was efficient. It even comes complete with disgruntled French man (who was waiting for his exceptionally late date).  You couldn’t ask for much more.

Leo’s Beanery, Howe Street

11 Jun


Score: 4/5 (so nearly a 5/5…)

Best For: Coffee with a Friend before/after hitting the Stockbridge charity shops.

Prices: Cappuccino, £1.90; Pot of tea, £2.40

Despite being below the level of the road this café manages to remain bright and airy.  It’s got a lovely calming interior and plenty of newspapers and magazines for your perusal which immediately makes you feel you can sit down and relax.  The staff are pleasant and I really like that they give you water with your coffee without even having to ask for it.  The service is table and the coffee was very good, though not the best I’ve had in Edinburgh.  I’m finding my scoring system a little restrictive.  Whilst the atmosphere and interior are fantastic, and the food and coffee are very nice I’m not sure it quite has the wow factor of a 5/5 establishment.  I’ll have to give it another go to make sure…

Spoon Café, Nicolson Street

24 Feb


Score: 4/5

Great for: Working in groups/A wonderful cup of tea, in pleasant surroundings

Price: Tea £1.90, Cappuccino £2.20, Cake £4.50+

I have often walked past Spoon Café many times but never really thought to go in.  I think I was always put off by the fact that, because it’s on the first floor, you can’t look in through the window to see what it’s like before taking the plunge and entering.  I’d feel rood walking in, and turning straight around if I thought it wasn’t my scene.  However, on the recommendation of a friend I decided to pay this café a visit.  I was not disappointed.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I certainly didn’t think I’d find such a chilled out relaxing environment.  There are a mix of tables (small and large) and sofas and the large, bright room is separated by book shelves, folding screens, pot plants and standing lamps giving the room a very lived-in, chilled out atmosphere.  The vintage wallpaper, furniture and tea cups all add to its charm.

I had a homemade ginger and lemon tea which was delicious.  They don’t really have cakes and if you want something sweet you’ll have to order it from the eating menu, which makes it a little more expensive than your average tea-shop cake, but I’m sure they are very good.

The only thing that lets this place down slightly (and the reason it doesn’t get a 5/5) is the grumpy and slow service.  A smile is all I ask for.

If you, like I, have walked past this place time and again always choosing Black Medicine over Spoon, I say think again.  Try it.  You’ll love it.

And here I something else I found:

Spoon Cafe Bistro on Urbanspoon

Dean Gallery Café

12 Jan

Score: 4/5

Great for: A nice treat after some intense art viewing

Price: Cappuccino £2.35; Tea £1.65; Cake £2.00;

Last weekend I spent a very pleasant afternoon at the Dean Gallery catching the tail end of their “Another World” surrealist exhibition.  It was a great exhibit and if you fancied going, I’m afraid you’ve missed it as Sunday was the last day.  After a good few hours looking at some weird and wonderful works of art, a nice cup of tea was in order and obviously this called for the gallery’s in-house café.

There are two rooms, one with a more traditional café feel, and one dominated by a gigantic sculpture of a robot.  I sat with the robot.  It was amazing.  As you can imagine, being the last weekend of a major exhibition, the gallery and café were very busy but the staff were extremely pleasant.  Once your name was taken, you were free to browse the Gallery’s Shop and they came to find you when a table became available.  Since it was nearing the end of a very busy day, unfortunately all the best cakes had gone.  In the end I chose a ginger and oat slice which was more fudgey than gingery with not a whole lot of oat.  It was nice, just not what I had expected.  The tea (I had an Earl Grey) was delicious so no complaints there.

Overall, this is a lovely venue to round off a trip to any exhibition, but try to get there before 4pm if you want a decent cake selection.

Wellington Coffee, George Street

13 Dec

Score: 4/5

Best for: A good cup of coffee

Price: Cappuccino £1.85; Tea £1.85; Cake £1.95

Wellington Coffee is a lovely little place on George Street.  It is only tiny but they’ve created a cozy atmosphere with newspapers, great art work, nice seating areas and some fab background music.  The cakes here are nice but for some reason they come displayed in plastic bags which not exactly appealing.  Their coffee, however, is absolutely wonderful and for that reason they are definitely worth a visit.  It can get very busy, especially during the colder months when there is no outdoor seating which can be off-putting, but if you manage to find a seat it’s well worth it.  And talking of outdoor seating, in summer they put tables and chairs up onto the pavement looking down Hanover Street with beautiful views right down to the Firth of Fourth. Wonderful.

Wellington Coffee on Urbanspoon

The Scottish Café, National Galleries of Scotland

8 Nov


Score 4/5

Great for: Afternoon tea with a view

Price: Cream/ tea £5.00, Cappuccino £2.50, Tea £2.00/2.50, Cake £2.95

A trip to the National Galleries wouldn’t be complete without visiting this great café, which to be honest, is worth a trip all of its own.  Cakes are of your traditional British variety, and whilst they do carry with them a great sense of nostalgia, they don’t quite hit the mark.  The cakes aren’t as good as your mum’s (though they are good) and the scones, whilst delicious themselves, come with whipped not clotted cream.  As a south westerner, this is a big no-no.  If you really can’t provide clotted cream, go with butter.  Whipped cream just doesn’t cut it, the texture isn’t right and if you leave it for too long it starts to melt and lose it’s air which is very off putting.  As for the tea, it was good not great.

So, if the food isn’t amazing how come this place gets a 4 and not a 3/5.  Well, that all comes down to the beautiful surroundings.  You just can’t beat the view and the huge windows frame it beautifully.  The service is fantastic, the tables are spacious and it never feels overcrowded.  It’s a very relaxing place and manages to be sleek and sophisticated without being snobby and pretentious.  Come here to while away an hour or so with a special friend for a good gossip.  Bliss.

The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

> press coffee, 30 Buccleuch Street

2 Nov

Score: 4/5

Great for: A fantastic coffee

Prices: Cappuccino £1.85, Tea £1.55

I can’t understand why this place is not constantly full.  It’s a stones throw away from the main student area and serves up fantastic coffee in a beautiful, airy space.  The large windows that flood this little café with lots of light (of high importance during the winter months in Edinburgh…) and the decor, including some great art work, give this place a fantastic atmosphere.   After ordering at the counter, take a seat and wait to be served.  Order coffee here, because it is delicious.  I’m no great connoisseur, but the milk on my cappuccino was silky smooth and the coffee tasted fantastic, nutty and delicious.  The cakes are not inspiring, but with coffee this good, that’s not a massive downer.  Come here with some friends for an outing that won’t break the bank, come here for a break between lectures, even come here to get some work done – it’s usually very quite and they’ve got good enough table space for it.  In short just give it a try, you’ll love it.

Valvona & Crolla in Jenners, Princes Street

23 Oct

Score: 4/5

Best for: A Shopping Spree Pit Stop

Wow Factor:  Fantastic views of Prince’s Street Gardens (through anti-pigeon netting)

Prices: Cappuccino £2.25; Tea £2.25

This café is the perfect antidote to the hectic Prince’s Street crowds.  Navigate your way to the far corner of the Valvona & Crolla delicatessen and you’ll find yourself at a small cafe with a table that runs along the window.  The seating here is limited and it can be hard to find a space on a busy day, but it’s well worth it.  The views across Prince’s Street Gardens are wonderful, particularly in December with all the beautiful lights of the fair and the Christmas Market.  Both the tea and the coffee are good but what I enjoy most is the chocolate cake, which is to die for and comes highly recommended.  I wouldn’t recommend this place for more than two people because the seating arrangement does not lend itself to groups, with everyone sitting in a row.  This cafe is only let down by its service.  The staff themselves are very pleasant, but they always seem over stretched.  You are left standing around for a while for your coffee before you can go and sit down which feels a little strange.  If the coffee was brought to you at your seat once ordered, this place would get full marks but I think they’d need more staff for that.

Overall, this café has a great atmosphere and good quality produce.  It is definitely worth a visit if you’re getting stressed out by hordes of shoppers!