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Stockbridge welcomes new cafes and restaurants - we look at the additions to the Edinburgh neighbourhood

This area is booming, when it comes to food businesses

Published: October 15, 2021
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Since lockdown, this neighbourhood has been utterly heaving, so much so that there’s barely room on the pavement for people (and their cute dogs).

They can’t all be visiting for the charity shops, so the area’s popularity must be down to its excellent food businesses, such as Artisan RoastIJ Mellis, Bross BagelsGood BrothersSoderberg, La Barantine, Smith & Gertrude, The Pantry and Rollo.

There are also a few newbies to the scene, which is unusual for Stockbridge, where places seems to stick (for instance, hamburger joint, Bells Diner, has been on St Stephen Street since 1972). Here’s our round-up.

The Kilted Donut, 22 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, www.kilteddonut.com

We were very sad to see the cafe, Love Crumbs, vanish from this basement spot. However, the silver lining (or should that be the sugary icing) was the addition of The Kilted Donut, who also have a four-year-old spot on Great Junction Street in Leith. They call this branch KD2, and both locations are open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am until 5pm.

What’s on the menu?

Expect handmade US-style artisan doughnuts with a Scottish twist and varieties including Maple Bacon, Jammy or Cranachan. Every day there are nine flavours available, including six rotating options and three vegan staples (Cinnamon Sugar, Vanilla and Jammy). Also, every weekend, there’s the addition of cronuts (a croissant/doughnut hybrid) and “bubble bread muffins”. Just call me Homer. 

Earls Sandwich Co, 74 Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, www.earlsedinburgh.com

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There are plenty of places where you can grab a sandwich in Stockbridge, from Cowan & Sons to Cafe Gallo. However, Earls, which is owned by Chris and Charlotte Thompson of nearby business, The Pantry, is the newest and hippest. Earls' manager, Kieran McGuickian, is a big fan of their neighbourhood.

'We love walking past The Pastry Section every morning to ogle their ever changing selection. Try the chocolate Guinness cake (after a big sandwich of course)”, says McGuckian. “There are so many amazing, unique and importantly independent businesses in Stockbridge and each of them has a place in our wee village in the city”.

What’s on the menu?

Earls offers monster doorstoppers of focaccia with crisps on the side, all presented to take-away in logo-emblazoned boxes. We’ve heard good things about the Dirks Diggler, which contains “the Earls 11 secret herbs and spices crispy fried chicken thighs, frickles, Japanese mayo and gherkin ketchup”. We also like the sound of the Ru-Boy with “thick cut salt beef, sweet and sour carrot kraut, Swiss cheese, dill pickled gherkins and thousand island sauce”.

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Earth Works Greengrocer, 63 Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, www.earthworksedinburgh.co.uk

We’re not sure where this grocer sprung up from, but it suddenly appeared on a corner on Raeburn Place. It’s a small independent that’s focused on premium fruit and veg, with around 200 varieties sourced from local farmers and producers.

What do they sell?

Currently, mixed squash are flying out of the door, while customers start to make autumnal soups. They’re also selling lots of their Romanesco broccoli, heirloom carrots and tomatoes of all colours. There are also dried guindilla chillies, Bold Bean Co beans, jams, pasta, smoked garlic and other things that might be harder to source in Stockbridge’s branches of Scotmid Co-op. Some of the produce makes it onto the menu at their restaurant, Michael’s, on Eyre Place.

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Pepe Nero, 1-3 Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, www.pepenerostockbridge.co.uk

Taisteal has moved up to Forth Street and the former premises of Le Roi Fou. The seats were barely cool before this traditional and family-run Italian restaurant opened and installed an optimistic alfresco sun terrace.

What’s on the menu?

They start the day with a breakfast offering of croissants, pastries and buns. Later in the day, there’s pizza, including the Fuoco, with spicy sausage and Jalapenos, or the interesting sounding Americana with smoked sausage and chips on top. There’s also more conventional carbonara, linguine with puttanesca sauce and contadina tagliatelle. Desserts are also classic, with tiramisu or torta della nonna.

Rokko Rokko Desu, 112 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, www.rokkorokkodesu.com

Stockbridge fares pretty well on the Japanese restaurant front. It already has the excellent Kenji on St Stephen Street and Umi on Deanhaugh Street. However, at this newer venue, which opened back in July, they’re all about the Tokyo-style ramen and handmade noodles.

What’s on the menu?

If you’re feeling feisty, try the 3023 Inferno Ramen, which features vegetable broth, Rokko shio tare (the salt seasoning for ramen), market vegetables and fennel chilli oil. That may be a bit too challenging for some, in which case try the comforting Japanese penicillin that is Rokku Ramen, with a chicken broth, 14-hour slow cooked pork, tea-stained egg, leeks, crispy onions and wakame. Slurp.

Grams, 68 Hamilton Place, Edinburgh, www.gramsedinburgh.co.uk

This vegan/vegetarian/healthy eating venue has been around a little longer than the rest of our Stockbridge selection, as they opened their doors in December 2020. Still, if you haven’t discovered them yet and never visited their Haymarket Terrace cafe (now closed), they’re definitely worth a visit, whether you prefer facon or bacon. As well as serving good food, it’s a beautiful space, designed by Edinburgh design company, Splintr.

What’s on the menu?

Smoothie bowls, PB&J Protein Pancakes and Facon Me Crazy vegan waffles, which features vegan yoghurt, plant-based bacon, banana, blueberries, maple syrup and pecan. As well as lots of brunch and lunch options, they do cakes including cashew-based cheesecakes and vegan white chocolate Biscoff buns. If you want coffee try their excellent neighbour, Fortitude.

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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