Alandas opens gelato shop in historic Edinburgh building that was once Greyfriars Bobby's lunch spot

They’re not dog-friendly yet, though they do sell takeaway scoops for your canine pal

Published 20th Oct 2021
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

“One of the most noticeable and arguably most challenging differences between ice-cream and gelato is the way it is served”, says Carla Black, head of marketing and design at Alandas. “We proudly promote that ‘we don’t scoop, we sculpt’ meaning that each and every one of our servings is beautifully sculpted by a member of our team using a spatula”.

It may seem like an odd time of year for a gelato parlour to be opening, but Edinburgh’s first branch of Alandas hopes to launch at 1 Forrest Road this Friday, October 22, and will be open for takeaway from 10am until 10pm daily.

This family venture’s North Berwick Quality Street gelato premises opened in 2014. However, they were originally established in 1991, with a mobile fish and chip offering, and now have a chippy in Prestonpans, a van at Longniddry Bents and pop-up at various events.

 As well as marshmallow-topped hot chocolate, the capital’s new gelateria will serve, or sculpt, various flavours of authentic Italian gelato including cranachan, Scottish strawberry, Champagne truffle, banoffee pie, Belgian chocolate and salted caramel, and sorbet, with flavours ranging from pink grapefruit to poached pear. For vegans they make soya-based gelatos in flavours such as peanut butter and Oreo, or dark chocolate and ginger.

“We hold the current title of the Royal Highland Show Scottish Ice-cream Champion for our apple strudel flavour. We were particularly commended for our thick smooth and creamy textures”, says Black. “This is all down to our sister and head gelato chef Valentina Black, who single-handedly develops all of our flavours through tedious trials and pure craftsmanship”.

In the new Edinburgh branch, these scoops will be served in a themed space.

“For the design of our shop we really wanted to immerse our customers,” says Black. “It features a waffle wall, cone pendant lights, flowing chocolate taps and illustrated walls. We’ve also kept it chic with monochrome accents and expertly designed lighting features”.

The property was most recently a laptop repair centre but it’s had a more interesting past.

After some research, the team at Alandas discovered that it was once Trail’s Temperance Coffee House - the 19th-century cafe that fed and watered local legend, Greyfriars Bobby, after his master passed on and up until Bobby died in 1872.

Apparently, the Skye terrier would come in every day, at the sound of the one o’clock gun, before returning to his vigil at his owner’s grave. While refurbishing, they also discovered an old sandstone arch that they believe may have been part of the original premises.

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“That means Bobby was brushing by these very walls as he was given his lunch by John Trial from 1858 until 1872”, says Black. “Once we became aware of this discovery we thought we must showcase this amazing piece of history to our customers and decided to change our designs and focus on having it expertly restored - using it as a focal point of the shop”.

For that reason, though dogs are not allowed inside at the moment, they will be serving up a special dog-friendly gelato.

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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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