Grand Cafe

Grand Cafe

22nd July 2018 10.30am

Grand Cafe

Grand Cafe

After sitting empty for a while, Grand Café opened up in the vacant dining space at the Scotsman Hotel. The interior looks opulent without being intimidating. We’d made a trip to try out the brunch and were greeted by friendly staff and shown to our table (where I had a nice view over to Calton Hill). As we were giving brunches a test, it would have been rude of me not to try the Scottish breakfast. My dining companion chose the sourdough toast, with avocado, poached eggs and salsa verde.

Scottish Breakfast - Grand Cafe

Scottish Breakfast – Grand Cafe

On arrival, the food looked nice. My breakfast looked nice, albeit a little dry as it had no beans. I wish I had asked for sauce but as it wasn’t offered, I probably wrongly assumed that they didn’t have any. The flavour was good, particularly of the haggis, which was actually some of the best haggis I have ever eaten. The bacon cooled quickly and was a bit chewy, which made me think it was either not cooked to order or had been sat on the pass for a while. Having both lorne and link sausage also seemed a bit overkill, but again, the lorne sausage was pretty decent. Across from me, the sourdough toast was being eaten but with a feeling it was lacking a bit of oomph. Sadly, on both dishes the eggs were over cooked. They were cooked different ways too, so it wasn’t just a bad batch of cooking. My fried egg had no runniness at all, and neither did the poached egg on the sourdough toast. Considering it is often the egg yolk that adds to the richness of dishes, this was very disappointing. We did mention this to our server at the end of the meal, just so the chef was made aware (we are not the type to send something back unless it’s inedible/cold).

Sourdough toast with avocado, poached egg and salsa verde - Grand Cafe

Sourdough toast with avocado, poached egg and salsa verde – Grand Cafe

Whilst generally, the food had good flavour, what we had was a bit hit or miss and has left us inclined to give it a miss next time as there are better establishments out there.

Food – 7/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? Unlikely but never say never.

£22 for the two breakfasts and a cup of coffee.



26th November 2017 11am

We’d been invited by the lovely peeps at Aurora to try out their place. Newly opened in Leith, Aurora had only been open a couple of weeks when we visited but are clearly aware that their small shop front might mean people don’t realise they are there. So here I am, waving a flag for them – because the food is lush. This is not so surprising though, as the chef comes from Salt in Morningside.

Coffee - Aurora

Coffee – Aurora

We decided to visit late on a Sunday morning for brunch (they are currently open 9am-5pm 7 days a week but are trialling some evening openings). The venue is small but perfectly formed. Decked out in stripped wood and interesting decorative features, Aurora is definitely not a greasy spoon. I couldn’t resist ordering the full breakfast – although I toyed with the idea of eggs Benedict and the shakshuka – whilst my friend chose eggs royale with a coffee.

Full Breakfast - Aurora

Full Breakfast – Aurora

We saw some fellow diners’ food come past us and it got us excited. It looked amazing and we weren’t disappointed when our plates arrived. The plates somehow still managed to look clean and sharp, even with breakfasts on them. My breakfast consisted of bacon, sausage, Stornaway black pudding, eggs, tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, sourdough and a smattering of rocket on top. I had asked for my eggs fried but they came poached but I was actually so glad they did as this worked better with the rest of the food and oozed golden yolk. It was clear the foodie cosmos was on my side. I couldn’t fault anything on the dish. I was most amazed by the portobello mushrooms. They had so much intensity that I could have eaten a plateful of those alone. The bacon was crispy without being overdone. The eggs, as I mentioned before, were cooked to perfection.

Eggs Royale - Aurora

Eggs Royale – Aurora

Across from me, my friend was delighted by her eggs royale. The Loch Fyne hot smoked salmon was generous in portion and tasted delicious. The poached eggs were just as good as mine has been. They were sat on top of sourdough and accompanied by wilted spinach. The hollandaise was very clever though. Laced with truffle, the sauce was sparse on the plate. My friend was a little worried there wasn’t enough but with the yolk of the egg, the dish was perfectly balanced. Licking the plate clean was discussed.

We were mightily impressed by Aurora’s offering and was reasonably priced for the quality of the food. It’s worth seeking out that small shop front for the big flavours hidden inside.

Food – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Yes as I have already got my eye on other dishes on the menu.

Cost – this meal was complimentary but would have likely cost just under £20 for a full breakfast, eggs royale and a coffee.

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views are my own. Thank you to Margherita for organising.

Toulouse Sausage - Spoon


3rd November 2016 12.45pm

A group of colleagues decided last minute to nip here for lunch. Spoon can easily be missed from street level but its reputation means many people seek it out. Set upstairs, Spoon is a mismatch of furniture, giving it that relaxed, lived in feel. After a bit of back and forth between a couple of members of staff, we were seated. Three of us opted for dishes from the specials board, with two of us choosing the Toulouse sausage dish and another picking the salmon fish cake. My remaining dining companion opted for the mixed grill from the all day breakfast menu.

Toulouse Sauage - Spoon

Toulouse Sauage – Spoon

I have to say I felt pleased and disappointed at the same time when my dish arrived. It was beautifully presented but the greedy guts in me was sad it was just one sausage. However, I should have trusted Spoon’s judgement as it ended up being just the right size for lunch. The sausage was juicy and full of flavour. It sat on a bed of chicory and rocket salad which was great. Chunky sliced potatoes completed the elements, which were delicious and topped off with a tasty mustard mayo. My other dining companion eating the same dish also enjoyed it as much as me. As for the salmon fish cake, this also contained chilli and garlic and was accompanied by a poached egg and pea shoots. This was also enjoyed. The mixed grill my other dining companion had was deemed of a decent standard but nothing stand out. Without spotting it on the menu I thought it was an actual mixed grill, rather than a pimped up breakfast.

Overall we had a decent meal. Spoon is certainly worth checking out for lunch.

Food – 8/10
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Yes, probably for lunch or brunch

Cost £38 for four main courses.

Chop House

Chop House

13th August 2016 11.30am

Newly opened Chop House’s East Market Street branch had only been going a few days when we came to visit for brunch. This, and the fact we were there for brunch rather than lunch or dinner, means that I will be taking this into account in my review .

Bloody Mary - Chop House

Bloody Mary – Chop House

Settled into the recently renovated Arches, I met my friends and climbed (yes climbed) into the booth we were allocated. Two of us already knew we’d be trying the bloody mary on offer but we also accompanied this with eggs benedict with bacon (salmon and spinach are other options). My other friend stuck to an orange juice with a full cooked breakfast. I was pleased that we were asked how spicy we liked our bloody marys on a scale on 1-10. We both went for an 8. When they arrived, we were suitably impressed. Not too big but with attention to detail, spiced just as we’d asked and garnished with some small pickled onions. We enjoyed them a lot. So much so my friend ordered another.

Eggs Benedict - Chop House

Eggs Benedict – Chop House

The food arrived, although one of the eggs benedict was a little slower to arrive but they were still ironing out kitchen glitches. I really wasn’t waiting more than a minute or two. The eggs benedict was great. The eggs were cooked well, the bacon full of flavour and just the right amount of hollandaise. The edge of the toast was a little difficult to cut but I think this was to do with the crust of the sourdough. I just got stuck in with my fingers for those bits instead. The full breakfast was asked for without the tomato but the tomato was there. We also realised several hours later that the tea also did not arrive but it clearly wasn’t missed by my friend! The quality of the ingredients was clear. I think a little tweaking and settling in and this place will do well. It certainly was getting good trade, whilst we were there. Upon getting the bill, we noticed they’d missed one of the cocktails and we were honest and pointed it out. What appeared to be the manager said not to worry as it would be on him as they work through their opening gremlins. This was good PR which means that I am likely to be back to try something from the main menu.

Full breakfast - Chop House

Full breakfast – Chop House

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 7.5/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Yes, if only to try to roast they do

Cost £45 for one full breakfast, two eggs benedict, two (of the three) bloody marys and an orange juice


30th August 2015 10am

Scottish Breakfast - Treacle

Scottish Breakfast – Treacle

We decided to go to Treacle for breakfast to get us set up for another day of festival-ing. We had been here before and thought the breakfasts were decent and have also had some good cocktails here (not at the same time as the breakfasts though!). The funky décor means that this place is often popular with the trendy set of an evening. Upon arrival, we were disappointed to find that the revamped menu did not include a full Scottish veggie breakfast, which they used to offer. This, therefore, slightly disappointed my veggie friend. However, we decided to persevere. There was an alternative of sweet potato and quinoa hash browns, poached eggs and avocado, which my friend opted for. No toast or drink came with this though. I went for a full Scottish breakfast. Whilst I ordered a diet Coke on arrival, I was not offered a tea or coffee with my full Scottish breakfast. Whilst I didn’t want one, the coke price was added into the bill and the coffee my friend had ordered wasn’t discounted either which could have been done as part of my meal. We thought this was a bit cheeky but not enough for us to complain.

Vegetarian option (with added toast and tomato) - Treacle

Vegetarian option (with added toast and tomato) – Treacle

We waited a little while to order food but other than that, the service was relatively quick. Once the breakfasts arrived, they looked good. I handed over the toast and one of the two halves of tomato to my friend so his breakfast seemed more substantial. My plate consisted of a slice of toast with butter (now on my friend’s plate), two tomato halves, bacon, a sausage, hash brown, potato scone, mushroom, beans, egg, haggis and black pudding. Most of my breakfast was nice. The mushroom in particular was excellent and had a surprisingly large amount of flavour. However, the sausage was a bit non-descript. The potato scone was a little soggy but still tasted good. The haggis had excellent spicing, which almost made up for the sausage. On the other side of the table, my friend enjoyed his boosted up breakfast but still could help feeling a bit robbed over his meal, claiming “it needed to have breakfast with it”. He also said he wished he’d ordered the full Scottish breakfast and asked them to leave off all the meat.

This did the job but didn’t impress me as much as previous visits.

Food – 7/10
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 7/10

Overall – 28/40

Cost £23 for two breakfasts, a coffee and a diet coke

Treacle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mimi’s Bakehouse

31st May 2015 – 10.30am



I have been to Mimi’s a few times but this was a purposeful visit to try the before noon tea (like afternoon tea but with more breakfast items). I was really looking forward to this as I already know they do a mean French toast for breakfast and their cakes are out of this world.

Before Noon Tea - Mimis

Before Noon Tea – Mimis

The food comes on a cake stand and diners are offered a selection of teas. My friends went for tea but as someone who does not drink tea or coffee, I opted for a fruit juice. The cake stand consisted of lots (and I mean lots) of tasty treats. To start, we had small bacon rolls, with a choice of sauces. There was a generous portion of these, enough for two rolls each. The bacon has great flavour and it was an excellent start. We then moved onto their award winning cheese scones with a cream cheese and chive spread. The scones were of the mini variety and again we had two each. They were warm and soft – no doughy texture here. The cheese flavour was delicious and moreish. The spread was nice and light, which was a good thing as we still had plenty of other things to sample. We then moved onto the granola. There was a nice mix of seeds within the granola and the fruit was sweet without being sickly. It provided a nice transition from the savoury elements to the more sweet parts. Next we tucked into the cinnamon rolls which had the perfect balance of cinnamon and sweet topping. Our penultimate item was a mini pancake stack dusted generously with icing sugar. This seemed a little dry and might have worked better with a compote type filling to moisten the stack rather than the sticky dulce de leche filling. Lastly, the mini toffee muffin was a good bite sized treat to finish off with and disappeared in a couple of mouthfuls. It had a lovely depth of toffee flavour with a surprising toffee crunch on top.

At the start of the tea we had contemplated getting cake to take away with us after but we were so full it was too difficult to make a decision on cake, so we’ll perhaps pop to the Picnic Parlour shop on the Royal Mile another day instead. Overall, the before noon tea was a delight. Surprisingly I enjoyed the savoury items more than the sweet but this is certainly this is an experience everyone should spoil themselves with.

Food – 8/10

Service – 8/10

Atmosphere – 8/10

Value – 9/10

Overall – 33/40

Cost – £40 for three before noon teas.