One of my last cafe visits had to take place on my home street – Leith Walk. I have abused this area in terms of sourcing my reviews, but like it or not, Leith Walk – and Leith itself – has a huge variety of coffee shops on offer, many of which are definitely worthwhile. I was glad to discover that the Yellow Bench was one of such spots.
The tiny place tucked away in the shadow of the neighbouring Gaia, the Bench got my attention from the first day it got opened, with hand-written posters in the window promising Polish delicacies (and crepes!). As with many other places, I intended to check it out many a time, but the day has come only after a whole morning and afternoon of cleaning the flat before moving out. I thought then that I deserved a coffee and a sweet treat, preferably of the Polish variety (sorry Brits, but our cakes are simply nicer!) and with only half an hour to spare between my chores, I ran to the Bench.
The place was as small as it looked from the outside: just one room and a few big tables leading to two small counters: with cakes and with a till; later I realised there was a kitchen in the back room as well as a pancake hob and an espresso machine behind the till. There were only two customers in when I got there, and I spotted a traditional schabowy (pork cutlet) on their table. It took a quick glance at the cake display to know that I’d be having cheesecake; the coffee was a problem, though, as they didn’t serve mochas, in which case I decided to go for a latte, quite preoccupied inside.
I took the table nearest to the cake display, which made my photo-documentation a bit more tricky. My order was served quickly and my heart rose when I saw the coffee: a lovely layered latte, as one should look like (I had been told and shown by a fellow Italian barista). With that little time to spare, I tucked in: and was left sinking in the tranquillity of the place and the divinity of the moment. The latte did not require sugar, it was lovely on its own; the foam was not too airy and did not collapse as it tends to with badly steamed milk, and the whole thing blended nicely, despite keeping its layering; whilst the cheesecake was the best I tried outside my mum’s kitchen. But the cherry on top was the price: the package cost… £3.60!
I know I might sound biased, since it is a Polish venue after all, but I’d like to assure you I am usually prejudiced against places like that away from home; until I tried the coffee I feared it would be of an inferior quality. And yet, this tiny spot has the charm and the menu to turn not-so-good a day into a brighter one. Believe me or not, that’s one you’d regret passing by without going in.
Verdict justification: A real shame they don’t do mochas – it could have been one of my favourites!
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