Copper Blossom – cocktails and food off George Street

George Street is a busy place, especially this time of year: tourists and shoppers walking, eating and drinking day and night. Copper Blossom has been in its basement location at the corner or George Street and North Castle Street for a couple of years and has carved out a space for itself. If you’re looking for a bite to eat or a cocktail in calm surroundings, give them a visit.

Asparagus and pea cob salad. Fresh and summery.

Asparagus and pea cob salad. Fresh and summery.

Savoury starts

We visited on a day of bright sunshine and cloudless skies, arriving at half past six, when most offices in the area had already emptied. There’s a lunch/supper menu for the day. After six, the all day menu rules.

We were hungry so decided to share three vegetarian bites as a joint starter: polenta crusted halloumi sticks, hummus and mozzarella arancini balls. They arrived promptly on a sharing-friendly wooden board. The arancini were particularly nice and worked well with a rich tomato basil sauce. I enjoyed the halloumi sticks and the accompanying sweet tomato chutney. The chutney was as sweet as plum jam and that really worked. Christopher is a hummus fiend and always prefers his own to any we buy or order. Saying that, he finished hummus and pita.

Other tempting options on the bites menu are chunky avocado salsa, breaded scampi, haggis bon bons, lamb kofta and haddock goujons. Each comes with a sauce or, in the case of the mackerel paté, bread.

Hummus - one of three bites we shored for our starter.

Hummus – one of three bites we shared for our starter.

Fresh middles

The menu is divided into sandwiches – classics like club and veggie club – salads, mains, burgers and pies. Because of the day’s summer feel I opted for the fresh-sounding asparagus and pea salad. I’m a fan of a poached egg and find it difficult to turn one down. I was tempted by the smoked mackerel and watercress salad too but decided to go all out veggie. This means that I passed on classics like spaghetti & meatballs, half a roast chicken, fish & chips and fish pie. The salad was just what I wanted: full of fresh green flavours, and the potato made it more filling than I expected.

Veggie burger: not so hungry after devouring all of this.

Veggie burger: not so hungry after devouring this big boy.

Christopher chose the vegetarian burger and decided against sides: sweet potato fries are delicious, but we’d had a big starter. The sweet tomato chutney we’d enjoyed so much with the halloumi featured again, adding sweetness to the burger.

Sweet endings

Copper Blossom’s a cocktail bar – we should have had cocktails. I blame the weather on my great thirst which directed me towards tap-water and cider instead of more elegant concoctions. The Peach Iced Tea called my name but I knew I’d down it in two minutes and, well, not a good idea on a school night. The Scottish Summer Time sounded fab with its flavours of cucumber and elderflower. (They also do an aged Negroni. I absolutely love the fact that my favourite cocktail has become ubiquitous. Power to it!)

Instead of cocktails we had dessert in the sign of the strawberry. I had the Eton mess: cream, strawberries, meringue and vanilla ice cream in a delicious muddle. It was served so that every spoonful was differently delicious.

Christopher went with the strawberry mille-feuille: caramelised layers of flaky pastry with creme patisserie and strawberries. Simple, nice.

In front, lovely Eton mess. In back, strawberry mille feuille.

In front, lovely Eton mess. In back, strawberry mille feuille.

Bright and friendly

Copper Blossom manages to be bright despite its cellar setting, especially the bar area at the front. Painted and distressed wood, floral fabrics and rattan says colonial boho to me. A perfect space for G&T and coffee.

When Christopher told the people in his office he was going to Copper Blossom eyebrows were raised. ‘I don’t think it’s your kind of place,’ one person said. ‘A little feminine, isn’t it?’ said another. I found that interesting. It turns out that I don’t think of bars in terms of gender: I go wherever I want to. A quick search on Edinburgh Foody shows that I’ve used ‘masculine’ once in seven years and then to describe a whisky, not an interior. We went early, so there were mostly pairs of women catching up with supper or drinks but that’s usually the case when we’re out early evening. Our servers were women and all night we had great service. Everyone was friendly, relaxed yet attentive and made us feel very welcome.

I rather like the idea that there might be a centre-of-town cocktail bar that appeals to women. A place to meet up with friends, have a bite, a cocktail (or five), maybe a glass of wine at one of the outside tables. We’re going to have to come back one weekend evening to see if the vibe changes. There’s an iced tea (and a Negroni) waiting for me.

Copper Blossom

107 George Street (basement)
Edinburgh, EH2 3ES

Telephone: 0131 297 2630
Book by email: reservations@copperblossom.com

Instagram: Copper_Blossom | Twitter: @Copper_Blossom | Facebook: CopperBlossomEdinburgh

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About Caroline von Schmalensee

Cooking, eating and drinking is fun as well as necessary. I do food for fun and I write for a living. Good food makes the world a more delicious and satisfying place. Good writing, meanwhile, can make the world a less confusing place.

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