An impromptu visit to Edinburgh was not only a great occasion to catch up with friends but also – with the livelier than ever local coffee scene. I didn’t think it possible, but new cafes appeared in the capital in the good few months that I’d been away, and I hardly got a chance to scratch the surface of the newcomers’ elite. But the proximity to the town centre is always a welcome bonus that makes it more likely for a busy traveller to take a break at a food establishment – and Curious Tea Rooms checked that box.
Quite frankly, on that Saturday brunch-time I was not so keen on a place portraying itself as a tea shop – my Festival hangover needed curing with some decent savoury food and by the modest outdoor looks of this new Fredrick Street eatery I very much doubted that my needs would be satisfied. And yet, I was wrong! I learnt that as soon as I stepped through the door which felt a bit like falling down a rabbit hole into a parallel world – the place was styled in an Alice in Wonderland theme: from leafy 3D wallpaper, through wonky cake displays to a table and chair set hanging from the ceiling.
They didn’t, indeed, serve cooked breakfast, which I was most keen on, but their extensive tea menu also featured a few pages of sandwiches, paninis and salads, including a sundried tomato and chorizo stromboli which me and my host of the weekend opted for.
The flatbread was tasty and nicely presented, if not too big for me to consume in one go (the other half made for a great late-lunch, however). I had made the mistake of drinking before eating too many times berfore, and that’s why I waited with ordering my coffee after I decided I had enough of my sandwich.
And again I was pleasantly surprised to learn that all the coffees a coffee-lover might need are there, before the long list of leafy teas. I ordered my mocha while watching my friend pour herself a dainty cup of green tea through a little sif. When the coffee arrived, my smile widened: it looked as tasty as the offerings of Wellington Coffee and the likes.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t as amazing – but it wasn’t far off either. Firstly, the temperature was just a bit too high for comfortable drinking – and since it was a fairly small cup, it should have been a quick-sip brew. Secondly, it wasn’t as sweet as I’d like until half-way through; but, as my friend kindly pointed out “you should have stirred it” – she might have had a point there, and yet, it a perfect brew does not require any adjustments.
Apart from that, the texture was pleasant and the overall feel was very enjoyable. Although having skipped the second half of my flatbread, I was very tempted to go for one of their tasty looking cakes.
Maybe next time.
Verdict justification: Some minuses on the preparation side, but a lovely eating and admiring experience overall.