Edinburgh's Cafe Modern One has reopened with a new look and menu

One of our favourite cafe spaces in Edinburgh has re-opened, after a lockdown makeover.

Published 20th May 2021
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

Cafe Modern One, which is operated by Heritage Portfolio, has refreshed the space with a new colour scheme, which echoes the Joan Eardley landscapes hung on their walls.

As well as a teal and white paint job, there’s new socially-distanced seating in the ochre of Eardley’s Summer Fields and Catterline sky grey, as well as Art Deco-esque lighting and swags of dried flowers, which pay tribute to their garden (including the cafe’s own herb garden) and terrace.

There is no need to book in advance or have a ticket to the gallery to visit the cafe.

However, admission to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One), where there’s currently a two room display, Joane Eardley & Catterline, marking 100 years since this artist’s birth, is free, but ticketed.

“We took great care to ensure that the refurbishment of Café Modern One complements the environment of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, appealing to both gallery visitors and the local community alike”, says Yvonne Stirling, operations manager at Heritage Portfolio, who also look after the newly reopened Colonnades at the Signet Library and Tatha Bar & Kitchen at the V&A in Dundee, among others.

“The café is enticing and I’m sure will attract people back to enjoy the surroundings, exhibits and of course our carefully crafted and locally sourced food.”

For those who loved their cake counter, which was always piled high, they’re continuing to offer a huge selection, except behind glass.

Scott Clark Photography

Their new repertoire includes chocolate, orange and banana loaf, apple and almond muffins and salted caramel miso blondie, though we’re relieved to see they’ve kept the ever popular ginger and oat slice on the list.

There’s also an extension of their salad range, with new options including tabbouleh with feta, pistachio, cucumber, peppers and red onion, as well as gourmet sausage rolls and open sandwiches.

Scott Clark Photography

This follows the pre-lockdown makeover of Modern Two’s cafe, just across the road at what was formerly the Dean Gallery. In tribute to artist Eduardo Paolozzi, it was transformed into Paolozzi’s Kitchen at the end of 2019.

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Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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