It was one of the last glorious May days in Edinburgh which I spent sunbathing on Calton Hill, learning German and listening to a Swedish band on my iPod; this was bound to be a multi-cultural day and I had been planning a cheeky cup of coffee at the recommended French patisserie for a while, so it was a natural conclusion to the gorgeous afternoon to end up in The Manna House.
I was pleased to see tables outside, out of which one was free; there were some seats in the small interior too, but I wouldn’t miss any precious rays of sunshine in this city, so after making the difficult decision of choosing a bite to eat out of the tempting array of elegant French tortes and cakes (I figured it was just one of those happy days when everything would have been forgiven), I sat myself on busy Easter Road and watched the life go by from this new perspective (when it comes to this part of Leith, I tend to pick up the pace wherever I’m heading).
Shortly after the waitress brought round my blueberry and lemon madeleine and the chocolate and almond bake (not being even remotely capable in French, I do not recall its actual name) and, of course, my mocha, which looked rather appetising. My opinion would have been probably biased on any aspect of that experience, as I was full of vitamin D and endorphins; so, as I tried my coffee, I loved it. It was smooth and sweet as it should be, and it was of the right drinking temperature. But, the more I drank, the more the foam split from the milky beverage and mid-way through the drink I had to eat up the froth with a spoon; interesting, as usually it’s the other way around. Although this wasn’t the greatest mocha ever, it certainly wasn’t disastrous, and despite the splitting of foam it still kept its flavour qualities. As to the cakes, they were not fabulous, but enjoyable for that time of day, and especially for the price (I paid less than £2 for both).
Considering Easter Road’s profile, The Manna House is a nice surprise, and a very friendly and warm place to end up in – and that not only on some scarce summery days in Scotland. Certainly the best cafe I know of on this street, and a pleasant contrast to staggered pubs and supermarkets in the neighbourhood. And as far as I understand it (guessing by the accents of the staff), it’s thoroughly authentic (Frenchmen in Leith? Who would have thought?…).
Verdict justification: A lovely place in this part of town, but surely not the best French place in terms of coffee; although the best out of the ones I visited so far