It wasn’t planned, but my second, and – sadly – last coffee stop during my one day visit to Edinburgh was also a French place. I was meeting a (French, naturally) friend for lunch and his suggestion was L’Echoppe – tucked away at the top of an unassuming residential street behind the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, it was a place to walk past and miss, if I hadn’t got exact directions of how to get there (after taking the wrong turn behind the Sheraton and ending up under Morrison Street, not on it).
I was glad my friend had arrived to the place on time (while I was late trying to find my way back up to the correct ground level), as we risked not having a seat in the compact shop which looked like a popular lunch break stop. With a seat reserved by the window, I saw just how many people didn’t simply walk past this inconspicuous place, but stopped at the entrance to look at the menu, and then walk in for a carry-out sandwich or coffee.
We, too, went for a couple of toasties over which we talked about what had happened since we last spoke; once we finished those, we ordered our coffees.
When I noticed my mocha was served in a Matthew Algie cup, I took that as a good sign – I remember having good memories of these coffee roasters from other Edinburgh cafes back in the day. But even without that giveaway detail, the overall presentation was very enticing and I was eager to dive into it.
The L’Echoppe mocha lived up to old expectations: the drink was smooth and wholesome, sweet but not overpowering. I can’t exactly explain why I’m not scoring it full marks – it was a lovely cup of coffee, but it lacked a secret element that would make it unforgettable. Still, it was very moreish, and completely satisfying after a toastie.
L’Echoppe is a pleasant, quaint coffee shop with a somewhat limited food offering, but good enough for a lunch break; and no matter how filling (or not) the food ends up, their coffee will be the perfect round up, powering the drinker for the rest of the afternoon – it certainly worked for me. So, if you’re ever in the area – definitely worth a visit.
Verdict justification: Very nice coffee and a pleasant (albeit small) venue