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We try challah French toast from the new Bross Deli at Edinburgh's St James Quarter

It’s a limited edition special that you won’t find anywhere else in the city

Published: January 11, 2022

For those not au fait, challah is a pleated yeast bread that’s enriched with eggs.

It’s one of the Jewish food additions to the menu at the new Bross Deli, which has had a soft opening, with current hours 9-4pm daily, at its spot on the Little King Street side of St James Quarter.

As part of this, they’re trialing limited-edition dishes, so that the final menu will be “community created”.

The aforementioned bread also makes a very good French toast, it turns out. I’m sampling this as it’s the first special to be tested out at the new deli, which they say is “not just a bagel shop”. There’s about five door-stoppers with a crunchy sesame seed crust, ten slices of crispy bacon, and a huge jug of maple syrup. It’s fantastic, though I only manage about half of the monolithic portion.

There will be other limited dishes on the run up to the proper opening date, which will be some time in February. The next week-long special, to replace the challah French toast on January 14 is Bross' Holey Macaroni, with pulled salt beef, pickle pieces, bagel crumb and sriracha sauce. Pastry snacks, knishes, will be popping up soon too. 

Depending on the reception they get on social media, some will return permanently. In the meantime, there’s always matzah ball soup, sandwiches on rye and challah, and poppy-seed sprinkled bagel dogs, among other things. They also have a new kids menu.

On my visit to this dog-friendly place, which features squishy orange banquettes, a playlist that includes Bronski Beat and The Shangri-Las, and a pink neon bagel on the wall, owner Larah Bross is on the pass.

“Order up!”, she shouts every few minutes. Lots of customers are going for their all-day breakfast bagel, The Goy, which contains bacon, fried egg, latke, smoked applewood and Mama Bross’ Rock Sauce. I make a note to try that next time I'm here, or at one of their Bross Bagels branches in Bruntsfield, Stockbridge and Portobello. I’ll also return for another round of challah French toast if it makes it to the permanent menu. My vote is cast.

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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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