This post was written by resident Roamaroo writer, Keith Bohan.
Anyone who knows me knows this: I talk a lot. Two sentences I say perpetually are:
“Brunch is the best”
“Man…. Edinburgh is the best”.
What if I could marry these two sentiments in one whole month of brunching my face off in Edinburgh? Wouldn’t that just be… The best?
Spoiler alert: It was.
Over the past month living in Edinburgh, I made it my personal mission to overindulge as much as humanly possible between the hours of 11 and 1. In fact, I overindulged so much that my final brunch was nothing short of treasonous. But more about that later.
Here are my favorite brunch spots in the Scotland’s hilly little capital.
You know when people that are younger than you refer to their friends as their ‘dawgs’? Well, in Edinburgh, you can literally brunch with your dogs. It’s the most dog-friendly city I’ve ever been to.
A disproportionately large number of restaurant doors will be festooned with a little ‘Dogs Welcome!’ sticker. One of these was Treacle.
I met my old Creative Director here with his two dogs for a beautiful brunch and a barrage of Bloody Marys. To continue the animal theme, Treacle’s sign features a monkey. From their website:
Most asked question:
“Why is there a Monkey on your sign?”
“Does a Monkey need a reason?”
Touche. Treacle is a high-energy place with fun servers and delicious, diverse grub: From traditional Eggs Benedict to Vietnamese Bahn Mih sandwiches. There’s something for everyone and the age of the diners ranged from 20-60, which is always a good sign. Especially now that I am a stately 32-years old.
This is my favorite cafe/ brunch/ wine spot in Edinburgh. I’ve been known to enjoy a glass of wine while I work (you don’t?!) and Salt was the perfect venue to indulge my ‘drinker with a writing problem’ ways.
When a bunch of mates arrived over from Ireland to visit, we decided to see what the brunch was like in Morningside’s favorite family-run spot. It was a great shout.
Now, I wouldn’t claim to have the most intelligent friends. And one of these les incompetents gave his number to our friendly waiter who promised to call us when a table freed up (heads up: they don’t take brunch reservations).
He gave the wrong number, of course. There was no need to be worried though: The server remembered us from the week before—and that my wife, Rachael, had tagged them in a picture —so they informed us through Instagram that our table was ready. I don’t care who you are, that’s some next level service!
Their menu is a scrumptious mix of locally-sourced grub. Although my friend was unable to remember his own phone number, he did manage to order a decadent duck dish. His girlfriend ordered a fancy bowl of oatmeal. I got the vegetarian breakfast—including veggie haggis!—and it was dreamy.
Like its name, this place is definitely worth its salt. And you don’t even need to know your phone number.
In Ireland, the word ‘grand’ is used to describe any life experience ranging from 2 out of 10 to, say, an 8.5.
“Keith, is your nose bleeding?”
“Ah, it’s grand,”
“How was your wedding day?”
Imagine the added expectation brought about by Cafe Grande’s extra ‘e’ for an Irish person? Presumably, they’re telling me that their place is consistently between an 8.5 and a 10? They weren’t far off.
We popped in on Valentine’s Day and adored their love-themed menu over a couple of glasses of bubbly. There were doe-eyed couples of all ages around us; including many Bruntsfield regulars (which is also always a good sign).
Although I travel to a new country every month, there’s a lot to be said for a little bit of consistency. Ordering Vegetarian Breakfasts at Brunch is about the only consistent thing in my life. Well, that and, y’know… My wife.
The food was delicious—they made a lifetime grilled halloumi fan out of me—and we left feeling full up and loved up. Truly, grande with an ‘e’.
If you really think about it, High Tea, is basically Royal Brunch. So, in what is almost high treason as an Irish man, Rach and I brunched like a couple of British monarchs in Edinburgh’s esteemed Signet Library. This gorgeous Georgian building is nestled beside St. Giles’ Cathedral.
To make this meal even more memorable, it happened in the midst of March’s ‘Beast from the East’ blizzard. (To see our treacherous, treasonous trip, I have it pinned to my Instagram Story highlights.) https://www.instagram.com/keithbohan/
Once we pushed through the doors, escaping the whipping wind and snow like a couple of Arctic explorers, it felt like we were stepping back in time.
Sitting in this mesmerizing library, we perused the Afternoon Tea menu. It features bites like braised ox cheek and port pie, goat’s cheese and onion marmalade quiche, and, of course, fresh fruit scones served with clotted cream and jam.
The servers treat you like royalty—without all the stuffiness—and you leave feeling like a million bucks. I can’t recommend this experience enough if you’re in Edinburgh. Make a reservation, put on your gladrags, and get treasonous!
Winding up our time dining
Whatever neighborhood the wind takes you to in Edinburgh, you won’t be short of restaurants to choose from. Whether you’re ambling around the medieval Old Town or swanning around the elegant Georgian New Town, when the clock strikes 11, you can eat like a king.