There’s a new hipster haircut.
It’s sort of like someone has stuck a tiny cereal bowl on top of someone’s head, then shaved around it.
There were a couple of people – a man and a woman – at this cafe sporting the latest style, along with tattoos and half mast trousers.
As someone who likes a directional do, I am admiring, though you have to own the right face to carry it off – a bonnie and youthful one, as oppose to the visage of a bitter old raisin.
Anyway, this cafe, in the former premises of Annabelle’s, is styled within an inch of its life.
The owner, Jess Elliott Dennison, has a background in food as well as marketing, prop styling and product and brand development.
She’s written a pretty cookbook called Salad Feasts (we featured recipes in The Scotsman Magazine a few weeks ago). Along with some Kinfolk-esque trendy lifestyle magazines, her latest read was on our table when we visited on a Sunday lunchtime, but was quickly half-inched by other diners.
There’s a perfect sage green interior, seasonal coasters printed with graphic botanicals, Anthropologie products in the loo, teasels and eucalyptus threaded into the light fitting and a woven tote of dried flowers – a “floral installation” – placed just so, as if the owner had just got back from harvesting them on the Meadows, tra-la-la.
There aren’t any printed menus, but the breakfast and light lunch menu is chalked up on a board.
Apart from oodles of sourdough (from Edinburgh’s excellent Company Bakery), the food offerings are quite low on the old carbs, or traditional meat and two veg, preferring vegetable heavy assemblages.
Although I didn’t exactly feel stoked at the idea of “cumin and dill, braised lentils, garlic yogurt” (£7.40), it was banging, as the kids might say, with wet and meaty lentils threaded with onion and spinach, cumin seeds stuck to a dollop of yogurt, a drift of lemon zest, and drizzle of olive oil.
There was a similar citrus hit when it came to our breakfast option of sage fried egg (£7), which featured leaves of the billed herb on top of an oeuf (perfectly browned along its perimeter, but with a hard yolk, dammit), as well as garlicky spinach, all served on a tombstone thick slice of sourdough, robust enough not to absorb all the liquid.
I’d also ordered their apricot pickle (£2.10) – a sort of take on umeboshi – and strangely moreish.
While this experiment worked, I’m not sure about the cherry and tarragon (£2.20) soda. I enjoyed it as an eminently Instagrammable experience, but it was more of a dessert than a drink, with tons of solids in the form of maraschino cherries, giant ice-cubes and herb leaves that made rehydration rather clunky and potentially unattractive.
The only non-veg dish on offer was the smoked mackerel and horseradish pâté (£9.80), which had a fresh tang and a whisper of heat, and came with two hoof-print-sized slices of nutty crusted sourdough and ribbons of shrimp pink sweet pickled radish. Lush, bit pricey maybe, though every element had been preened to full potential.
As well as a couple of cakes, we tried another breakfasty thing for pudding. It consisted of a wet compote of cherries roasted with bay, thick strained yogurt, toasted almonds and a flick of honey.
Because there are no prices listed on the receipt, and I had to photograph the blackboard, I’m not sure how much this cost, since the (very nice) waiter’s head was covering it up. Let’s say £5.50, and worth every penny.
We also enjoyed the rich and cocoa dusted flourless chocolate cake (£3.50), though the gluten free orange and almond cake (£3.50) was a bit too rind-y and grainy textured for our gluten loving tastes. Good brown sugar meringue though (£4) –a kinetic looking whirl of sugar, with a slightly gooey centre.
Though I had been worried that this place might be style over substance, the food is as considered as the interior. If I want to be as hip as their other regulars, I better lick my bowl clean, then get along to the hairdresser.
27 Sciennes Road, Edinburgh (www.27elliotts.com)