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Flavour Profile Q&A: Michelle Phillips, owner of one of Edinburgh's most loved cafes, Mimi's Bakehouse

Michelle Phillips owns six bakeries in Edinburgh, including a new Comely Bank branch

Published: August 30, 2021

What is your favourite ingredient?

Butter. You can never have too much. It is a staple baking ingredient, of course, but I also cannot look past it in savoury sauces and pastries or even on its own spread across a slice of freshly baked bread.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

Now this bodes the question, is a pleasure ever guilty? But that is a different conversation. My simple pleasures are medjool dates, Mr Kipling’s French Fancies, a warm cinnamon bun with cream cheese icing and Percy Pigs from Marks & Spencer. I also can’t resist a classic dessert like tiramisu or queen of puddings. At Mimi’s, I’ll never say no to a slice of our ultimate birthday cake or a freshly baked fruit scone.

Tell us about your first food memory

Back in the Eighties when we had a family restaurant on Clerk Street, I remember being taken to a Chinese restaurant for the first time and it blew my mind. These days, good Chinese food is readily available but back then it was unlike anything I had ever tasted before. I still have a love for Chinese food to this day – Loon Fung in Canonmills is a firm family favourite.

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or cafe?

The Ship on the Shore. They have a fabulous spot beside the water, which makes it perfect for a bite to eat and some drinks in the sunshine. The selection of fresh seafood they serve is second to none, always delicious and cooked to perfection. I always order an Old Fashioned cocktail – it would be rude not to.

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What would be your last supper?

I’d have ceviche for starters, a main of lobster thermidor with a crisp salad and, for pudding, tiramisu with a lovely glass of Tokaji wine. 

Starter or pudding?

Pudding. Every time.

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Do you have any food hates?

Over-seasoned food. Good food is all about balanced seasoning with a careful hand. Throwing too much salt at something isn’t always the answer as it can ruin a perfectly good dish and can be almost impossible to correct.

What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?

My perfect dinner party meal would be fillet of salmon and prawn parcel with Marie Rose sauce, then roast lamb with a redcurrant jus, crispy roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Dessert would be homemade sticky toffee pudding with lashing of double cream and a scoop of good quality ice-cream (don’t choose, just have both). We love S. Luca’s ice-cream in our house.

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I’d invite Billy Connolly, Judi Dench, Robin Williams, Dawn French and Miriam Margolyes. I’m known to have a good sense of humour and I think we would laugh all night with this bunch.

What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

Hong Kong is such an exciting place to eat as there are so many amazing restaurants and it is a super vibrant place. My favourite food to eat in Hong Kong is at restaurant Dim Sum. I have been multiple times over the years and look forward to my next trip, once travel restrictions are lifted.

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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