Posts Tagged With: Leith Walk

Yellow Bench

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.

Latte and Cheesecake at Yellow Bench

Latte and Cheesecake at Yellow Bench

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.

Coffee: £2.50

Verdict justification: A real shame they don’t do mochas – it could have been one of my favourites!

Categories: Cafes, Edinburgh, Local, UK | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Cafe Nemrut



Whatever might be the general opinion of Leith and Leith Walk, speaking from a personal experience I have to say that it’s actually a good place to live. The rent is reasonable, communication routes are numerous and there’s plenty of food and drink venues on each side of the long street. I have already reviewed a fair amount of those, but there are still a few that I have been wanting to visit for their very welcoming appearance – and the proximity to my own home, which is always a bonus.

Café Nemrut is a fairly new establishment towards the Foot of the Walk; from the outside it looks rather cosy, with comfy sofas and often a pair of Arab-looking men playing chess, drinking Turkish tea – certainly something to my liking (the atmosphere, rather than the sickly sweet brew). If I hadn’t visited before, it was because of another Arab-style café (Moroccan to be precise) towards the other end of the street, opened sometime before this one – Ecos Café. Once a furniture shop, it kept some of the beautiful cabinets and tables, lamps and pictures still on sale when it was turned into a deli, which worked as a magnet for me one rainy summer morning about two years ago. At the time I had a mocha and some coconut cake; it was an OK start to the day, but the coffee didn’t wow me – hence my skepticism towards Café Nemrut.

Funny enough, this was another rainy morning and yet again I didn’t feel like cooking breakfast at home so I convinced my partner to take a short walk to the nearest deli that would appeal to both of us – which meant the choice was down to me, as I am the more picky one in terms of food. This was a perfect opportunity to visit Nemrut who serve all-day breakfast (OK, it wasn’t exactly morning any more…).

Mocha at Cafe Nemrut

Of course, keeping in mind my experience of Ecos, I wasn’t expecting an amazing coffee, but I was slightly excited to try a Turkish-style breakfast, with feta cheese, salad and – because I forgot to ask for it to be taken off – salami. I really didn’t want to spoil the food by filling up on the brew that arrived early, but I was starving at the point and couldn’t help myself: starting with indulging in the whipped cream, which crowned the coffees because, yet again, I forgot to order them ‘without the cream’; I then took a careful sip of the mocha beneath it, in case it was scalding hot. Not at all – the temperature was perfect, the strength of the coffee just right, and most importantly – the sweetness was just divine. Whether the cream had worked its magic or whether they were using very sweet cocoa, I couldn’t tell – but neither could I stop myself from drinking most of the coffee before the food got served.  It might not have had a creamy consistency but it was still smooth and easy on the tongue.

Although the staff are not all Arabic – the waitress seemed more Eastern-European to be frank – and the venue is not as richly decorated as the furniture-shop-tunred-café: Ecos, it still is a lovely place to come in for good food at reasonable prices, or a game of chess over a delicious cup of coffee – although you might need that whipped cream to prove my words true!

Mocha: £2.25

Verdict justification: Peaceful and atmospheric venue with a really good coffee. The place to visit when you’re strolling down Leith Walk!

Categories: Cafes, Edinburgh, Local | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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