With the number of cafés on Leith Walk one who lives there should feel safe in case of a coffee and food emergency; but last Sunday morning has exposed the flaw of this reasoning… at least since one was looking for a hangover cure before 10am.
Walking towards Leith with my equally needy friend, the first place we found open was Qupi. I have been meaning to visit it for a while now, although I didn’t bet on it as the right place to get some breakfast; also, my friend seemed to have been prejudiced against Turkish food, which would extend over the whole Middle East, I figured, and Qupi – by name and the usual clientele that I had seen sitting by the outside tables seemed to be serving that kind of cuisine (only now after some research I understand it is Greek).
Therefore it came as a surprise to be greeted by some hippy style French (or Greek?) sounding waitress. The indoor was even more striking: bigger than I ever imagined, the café, which looked rather etno-eclectic in the first room, had a back section which looked like a theatre set from an eccentric play: there were mismatched burlesque style chairs, odd tables (one being actually a wooden chest) and over a dozen of hats hanging from the ceiling. My friend seemed a bit weary, but I thought it was an interesting concept that stamped the venue’s originality – even if that was the only thing worth remembering.
We started by ordering our coffees, gagging for caffeine, and asked for the food when those arrived. My mocha looked suspiciously big, although I had asked for a small one. It didn’t look very appealing either, with a thick layer of foam on top – and my suspicion was proved right after the first sip. The coffee tasted bland, not sweet and not very strong either, with the taste of warm milk overwhelming the beverage. Desperately I added some sugar, but that only made things worse, as it added awkward sweetness to the drink in which the flavours simply didn’t blend. I finished it, however, as I had nothing else to fill my stomach with – our food got delayed, as the girl forgot to put down the order to her friend who was cooking, she admitted all apologetic. We did not receive any form of compensation – taking the coffees off the bill, perhaps? – and although I tend to be understanding in these situations, I wasn’t happy as I saw the girls casually chatting away before our waitress realised her mistake – and after also.
Unfortunately, this place with potential for being a lovely local café has not got the coffee or the staff commitment to meet those expectations. Additionally, if I ever come up with a Hangover-destination Guide to Edinburgh, this one would definitely not make the list.
Small mocha: £2.30 tbc
Verdict justification: Coffee to forget about – might spoil your Sunday, although the staff seem friendly enough