Tag Archives: review

Loudons Café and Bakery, Fountainbridge

20 Nov

www.loudons-cafe.co.uk

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!

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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.

Cafezique, West End, Glasgow

2 Aug

www.dliziqe.com

Score: 5/5

Best For: Long mornings, lazy afternoons, chilled evenings

Prices: Cappuccino, £2.20; Tea, £2.40

This is a truly wonderful café which has an emphasis on great produce and style.  I know I’m not a food blog, but this establishment does the best brunch I’ve ever had – I mean just look at those beautiful eggs!  The only time I ever see yolks that yellow is when I’m eating eggs fresh from the chickens at home so these have to be properly free range.  Their cakes and sweet things are also sublime, but they don’t just excel with their food though as their coffee is also delicious which is a sure-fire way to make me happy.

Adding to the general mix of great quality food and drink there is also a fantastic decor.  The high ceilings and large windows make for plenty of light.  The mezzanine level give you great views down into the café and there is a delightful are for sitting outside (weather permitting).  I love a bit of al fresco dining/coffee drinking but I have to say I’m not particularly keen on sitting next to a busy road, and this is not a problem here as it is off the main thoroughfare and you can sit and sip your coffee and read your book in peace.

A great little stop if you’re in Glasgow for a while.

Cafezique

Les Éditurs, Saint Germain des Prés, Paris

26 Jun

www.lesediteurs.fr

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.

The Elephant House, George IV Bridge

18 Jun

Score: 3/5

Best for: Taking visitors

Price: average

The Elephant Coffee House’s prides itself on being the birth place of Harry Potter, and they certainly milk it for all it’s worth.  As such it is constantly full of tourists, not that that’s a bad thing, it is what it is, but you’re not going to get a particularly local vibe here.  This also makes it very busy at weekends so don’t be surprised if you end up sharing a table.

Inside it has a very colonial feel, what with all the elephants etc. and with the high ceilings, large windows and beautiful plants everywhere it has a light, airy and relaxed atmosphere.  You can expect to find patrons reading newspapers or novels, or working away at computers with the large tables and copious light.  During term time it is full of students working midweek, making the most of the large tables.  This café really comes into its own in winter when it’s lovely and cosy and warm and you can look out of those big windows towards the castle taking on the grizzly weather.  And there is a superb view of the castle if you get the right seat.

The food here is not great, and the coffee very average.  I guess being constantly full puts the pressure off high standards in that department, and for that reason I’m not so keen on The Elephant Coffee House.  Having said that it is a nice place to take a visitor to the city, especially if you can get a seat with a view.

The Elephant House on Urbanspoon

Frederick’s Coffee House, Frederick Street

14 Jun

Frederick’s Coffee House

Score: 4/5

Best For: A relaxed break from shopping

Price: Cappuccino, £1.85; Tea, £1.85; Cake, £1.60 – £3.45

Much like spoon, it’s easy to miss this place due to its first floor location (above Blacks), but this place is worth a visit as it is bright and airy and an oasis of calm from the busy shops on Prince’s Street and George Street.  I spied it whilst waiting for a bus, and decided a visit was more interesting than a long wait in the cold.

They have clearly worked hard on the interior and it does look great.  There is a mix of seating with tables and chairs as well as sofas and comfy chairs.  I’d say my tea and cake were only really average, but they do have great coffee (thank you Anna for the tip!).

This café is certainly nicer than any of the near by chains, so if you are in the vicinity you should pop in.

Leo’s Beanery, Howe Street

11 Jun

www.leosbeanary.co.uk

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…

Captain Taylor’s Coffee House, South Bridge

7 Jun

Street Work

Score: 4/5

Best For: A quick stop off/meeting point/take away

Price: Cappuccino £2.00; Tea £1.40; Cake & Coffee £2.70

This is a cute little café and they certainly do produce delicious coffee (supplied by Artisan Roast), and good sandwiches and cakes.  There is an amazing cow in the back of this café and it is quirky and cool on the inside, but could do with a little more space. Pretty much all the seating in this café can be seen from the photo above as it’s all on a bench along the window.  From the outside you would imagine it to be much bigger, and indeed they are planning to expand the seating to downstairs though I believe that has been in the pipeline since October, so it’s probably not going to happen any time soon.  The seating is fine for a little bit, but it doesn’t make it somewhere you’d want to hang around for hours.

 This is a café with great potential but I guess the best thing about this café is  association with the charity Streetwork.  They work with people who, for whatever reason, have ended up living on the streets.  Their vision for this café is to establish a space that will provide training and employment for the homeless along with funding for their core services.  Therefore, every cup you buy will be helping them out a little.  For more information follow the link above.

Go check them out.  The coffee is great.

Kember & Jones, Byres Road, Glasgow

5 Jun

www.kemberandjones.co.uk

Score: 5/5

Best for: Food.  Mmmm their cakes and pastries are so good.

Price: Cappuccino, £2.15; Tea, £1.85; Cake, £3.00

Kember & Jones represent everything I like best in a café: great coffee, wonderful loose tea, delicious pastries, everything beautifully presented, lovely and bright and to top it all off efficient table service.  Honestly, what more could you ask for?  They also have a wall covered with books and tasty treats for you to buy and take home.  The atmosphere here is calm and relaxed, perfect for a Sunday chilling out.

There is a central  shared table, and a mezzanine floor with extra seating.  I can’t fault this place.

Kember & Jones: if you’re reading this, please expand and open up a new branch in Edinburgh.

Kember and Jones on Urbanspoon

Café Flo, Printemps, Paris

31 May

Score: 4/5

Best For: Staring up at the beautiful stained glass dome

If you’re in central Paris and have some time to kill, might I recommend the beautiful Café Flo.  It is on the top floor of the legendary department store Printemps and offers a wide range of teas and delicious coffee.  It’s best feature is the domed ceiling which is just breathtaking.  The tables even have mirrors on them so you get a beautiful view no matter where you are looking!

I had a dargeeling tea and some delicious macarons.  My only complaint is that the teabag came lose and not actually in the tea pot so I had to add it to the hot (not boiling) water provided in the tea pot.  I really can’t stand it when you go somewhere and the tea is pricey and they don’t even serve it properly.  It just doesn’t taste the same.

Bread & Roses, rue Fleurus, Paris

29 May

www.breadandroses.fr

Score: 5/5

Best For: Food – thier bread and pastries are divine

Prices: Expensive (approx. 8.50 EUR for a strawberry tart 6 EUR tea)

This lovely little café is very close to the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg so once you’ve had your fill of chilling out reading your book in the sunshine, and are in need of a relaxing cup of tea and a delicious cake, this should be your number one destination.  It is not cheep, so if you are already finding that Paris is burning a hole in your pocket you might want to stay clear, but I think this place is worth it’s price tag.  The tea is leaf and served in a truly beautiful tea-pot, and the strawberry tart I had was out of this world.  I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything so tasty.

Also, despite the English name, this place is exceptionally French and ever so bourgeois.  It’s also not a hugely touristy destination and is full of locals leading to excellent people watching opportunities.  There are very well dressed little girls shopping for bread for their parents, ladies lunching and old regulars that chat animatedly with the waiters.  It really is a special place.

Kilimanjaro Coffee, Nicolson St.

12 May

Score: 4/5

Best for: Reading a paper in afternoon sunshine/catching up with friends

Price: Cappuccino, £1.95

I don’t know why it took me so long to visit Kilimanjaro Coffee.  I’d heard great things about it, but I think something about the red and yellow of the shop front made me think it was going to be very oppressive inside.  How wrong I was.  It is light and airy and has a perfect café atmosphere: relaxed and inviting.  You feel like to could happily spend hours chilling out in this space.  It’s a calming sanctuary from the bustle of Nicholson Street.  There is a lovely and varied crowd of patrons from locals to students.  Add to that a delicious tasting coffee brought straight to your table and I’m a happy bunny.  Nothing to complain about here.

Coffee Angel, Brandon Terrace

12 Mar

www.coffee-angel.co.uk

Score: 2/5

Go for: A decent coffee or snack

I feel a little bit bad about giving this café a low score, but I guess I just have to go with my gut.  My main objection to this place is that it feels just like a chain even though it is an independent café.  There don’t seem to be any particularly personal touches and it’s like they are ready to roll out this design if the establishment turns out to be a roaring success.  Add to this a not bad but not good coffee in a cup that was still wet from the wash, a cake served with a knife not fork and my pet peeve, service at the counter only so you’re left struggling to the table with drink/cake/books/bag in hand waiting for an accident and I’m left feeling cold.  The cake was very tasty though.  I’ll give them that.

Coffee Angel on Urbanspoon

Empire Café, Marchmont Road

1 Mar

Score: 3/5

Great For: Basking in late morning sunshine

Prices: Cappuccino £1.70; Tea £1.50; Cake £1.00-£2.90

Empire café is a great little place for taking a break and enjoying these wonderful sunshiny days.  It is perhaps a little premature for sitting outside (though it is nice to have the option) but there is space to sit inside, if only for 12 (it’s only small).  They have a lovely, if slightly too high, coffee bar along their south-facing window which allows you to make the most of the rays.  With the large windows, there is a light and airy feel to this café giving it a very relaxed atmosphere.

There is a great selection of cakes and I had a most delicious almond and pear tart when I was there.  It was very difficult to choose, they all looked yummy.  Their coffee however wasn’t great.

On the whole I think this is a charming little place and perfect for a lazy morning.  Sitting here with a cup of tea and a croissant on a Sunday morning with a newspaper would be bliss.  Give it a go sometime.

 

Spoon Café, Nicolson Street

24 Feb

www.spooncafe.co.uk

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