Apart from a wheel of cheese, my only other souvenir from our holiday to Arran was near scurvy.
My five-a-day routine had tipped into minus territory, dropping to -7 on the day I had a Blackwaterfoot Bakehouse almond croissant for lunch.
Thus, on the day we got back, Old Bae and I decided to hang with the Generation Zs at this health food cafe.
It was originally Grams, whose manifesto is “eat better, not less”. They’ve renamed their small venue, and are opening another bumper-sized Grams in Stockbridge, in the former premises of cycle shop Ronde.
As Plant Bae was fully booked, we took a chance on a walk in, and victoriously bagged window seats.
The space is painted in ice-creamy pink and pistachio, with a Chinese money plant in the window, which could have been procured from the lovely new hipster plant shop, Apercu, ju next door.
For covid combat, there are plastic bank-teller style screens between tables and partitioned booths, staff wear branded face masks and there’s hand gel on entrance.
Smoothies are always a pleasurable way to get vitamin delivery. They’re great here – ice cold, with considered ingredients, so you never get that mouthful that reminds you of when you syphoned your fish tank – so they can be forgiven for serving them in clunky Kilner jar-like glasses.
My green machine (£4.90) was discombobulatingly bright yellow, and contained a sunshiny blend of mango, cucumber, mint, banana and apple juice. The purple haze (£4.90) was a heftier number, thanks to blueberry, banana, peanut butter and almond milk. Am I happy, or in misery? Whatever it is, that juice put a spell on me.
From their Brunch with Bae section on the menu, I went for the take on a Buddha bowl that is the Bae-duh bowl (£8.90). I usually get a bit bored of these, however, there was a lot of interest, texturally and flavour-wise, with this botanical tombola. Yes, the soya chicken is a bit weird. It’s like when you recognise a pal from afar, wave, then get close up and realise it’s a lookalikey with a smaller nose.
Still, I ate it all, and I was keen on the creamy and punchy roasted sesame dressing, which coated everything, including the crushed wasabi peas and every grain of soft rice. There was a crunchy slaw-ish mix, plant bae-o-naise (made from chickpeas), raw kale and a crushed dukkah on top.
I ate it all, and it was never a chore.
Say Cheese (£8.90) consisted of a tile of sourdough, crushed avocado, cogs of red chilli, and a yellow cashew cheese sauce. There were also nibs of “walnut meat”. These were scrawny, presumably because there is little on a skinny tree nut’s bones, and were dusted in a sort of paprika-ish take on Old Bay Seasoning.
All that work to make a quite excellent vegan spread, which was way more interesting than your average avo toast. However, Grandpa Bae cancelled out the plant-based wondrousness by pimping it up with a couple of poached eggs (add £2.20).
We told the waiter we wanted something sweet next, and he offered us various off-the-menu goodies, like vegan cheesecakes, including a blueberry and peanut butter version, or their signature Grams take on a Snickers bar. Instead, we went back to the main list, and chose Vegan Waffles in the Bi-scoff it Down (£9.50) variety. You can also have this as Protein Pancakes.
I’m always a bit repelled when medical equipment is added to a plate, especially otoscopes or speculums.
In this case, it was a hypodermic of caramel sauce. However, it was practical, since you could target the cavities of the vegan waffle, which was sort of like a biscuity banana bread. It also came with loads of blueberries – 38, once I’d done a head count – all topped with caramel biscuit crumbs. On the side, as well a science beaker full of syrup, there was a soft brick of chocolate peanut avocado ganache, which was slick and not too sweet.
Not sure this pudding was full marks healthy, but it Trojan horsed a few fruits into my system.
Indeed, now Plant Bae has help me dodge scurvy, I can go home and polish off that cheese.
16 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh (www.heyplantbae.co.uk)
A version of this article also appears on The Scotsman.
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