From ice cream sundaes to child-pleasing chocolate fondues, brownies to bitter chocolate concoctions strictly for grown-ups, Scotland's capital has an excellent range of dessert options.
Paying homage to the government-sponsored National Milk Bars of the mid-twentieth century, Mary's Milk Bar is gelato heaven in a pastel-toned Art Deco package. Flavours that have to be tasted to be believed include tea and biscuits; fig sorbet; goat's cheese and honey; rose; cardamom and thyme; salted caramel and rosemary and lemon curd – all of which can be served by the scoop, sandwiched into a donut oyster, piled up in a sundae or bobbing in a hot chocolate float. Mary's is open till 7 so ideal for after lunch or an early tea, or taken home for a post-supper treat.
Garnering rave reviews since opening in 2012, Love Crumbs is proud to serve cake and cake alone – and in their cosy living room-type space on the West Port you'll find wooden dressers full of them: chocolate tarts flavoured with lavender or pistachio and orange; seasonal offerings like pumpkin peanut butter or bramble, rosemary and cardamom cake; concoctions of plum and polenta, salted caramel and rosemary; coffee and rose cake and smoked salt rye brownies – all baked by hand fresh each day using as many local, seasonal ingredients as possible. Only open till 6pm, this is where to head for your third course post-lunch or take your treats to go to serve after dinner at home.
Calling its all-too-tempting conveyor belt set-up a “catwalk for chocolate”, the Chocolate Lounge at Harvey Nichols has proved a hit with kids and grown-ups alike. The menu includes chocolate sandwiches of brioche and marshmallows, four types of chocolate fondue, chocolate and popcorn sundaes, chocolate brownie s'mores and a chocolate tasting plate comprising white chocolate raspberry brulée, caramel pecan brownie, toffee crunch blondie, while for the adults there are “Choctails” including cocoa-themed Martinis and White Russians.
The pudding menu at the North Bridge Brasserie at the glamorous and entirely grown-up five-star Scotsman Hotel is served till 10pm and offers up decidedly sophisticated desserts such as apple tarte tatin with juniper ice cream; bitter chocolate delice and black cherries and raspberry parfait with white chocolate and lemon, each accompanied by suggestions of which wine to pair them with. There are even dessert-themed cocktails, like the Sticky Toffee Pudding or the Lemon Tart.
For something a little different, head to Fleur de Sel. This New Town crêperie uses flour imported from Brittany to dish up crêpes filled with homemade Chantilly cream and chocolate sauce; apple and salted caramel with Calvados; vanilla ice cream and chestnut spread or banana, dried grape and ice cream flambéed in rum. There's also a hand-picked selection of Breton ciders on offer, including some especially for pairing with desserts. Open till 9.30pm Monday to Friday and 10pm on Saturdays.