Leith: a foody day out

We had a friend staying for the bank holiday weekend. C. and I like to show Edinburgh off and wondered where to take Nina: it’s not her first time and we have ranged widely already. Then C. had a brainwave: we haven’t been to Leith together. Saturday dawned sunny and we had a plan.

Leith Farmers Market. #nofilter on that sky.

Leith Farmers Market. #nofilter on that sky.

First stop: The Pitt Market

We started at The Pitt Market for food and a drink. Note to self: remember to bring cash. Luckily, we had some from the previous night but we would have stayed longer if we’d had more. We listened to live music in the dappled shade of a parasol, C. and N. sitting on pallets and me hovering and bopping gently to the music. Nina and I had flank steak, chips and chimichurri sauce – the steak was falvoursome, the sauce deliciously oily, rich with garlic, parsley and coriander – from Barnacles & Bones. It was epic in size and reasonable in price. Very tasty and demanding of chewing effort. Christopher had a mushreuben crépe and was reminded how difficult they can be too eat. When we’d wiped our chins down and finished our beers we wandered on.

I see that an my I'm immediately thinking of ways to get more chimmichurri into my diet.

I see that an my I’m immediately thinking of ways to get more chimmichurri into my diet.

Second stop: Leith Farmer’s Market

We followed the Water of Leith down to the shore, took a left, crossed over to Commercial Quay and went to Leith Farmers Market. Here we looked at bread and gawped over cheese and olives, spoke about tea, sniffed soaps and watched a man cut intricate designs in coins. It was a busy and fun market. Two avenues of stands, ranging from food to jewellery, were busy with shoppers. We all basked in the good weather and took our time browsing.

Tired from shopping and wanting we decided we needed a coffee.

Third stop: Quay Commons

I hadn’t been to Quay Commons but all I’ve heard has been positive. So we sauntered past the restaurants at the start of Commercial Quay – a wedding reception was in progress at La Tartine, and the late lunchers were relaxing at Kitchin – edifying our guest with stories of the time before the Scottish Parliament buildings. (We probably told too many pointless ‘when I was [much younger] this was a [pub/restaurant/car park/bush] and I remember [ridiculous event]’ stories. What can I say: it was sunny and we were giddy with food.)

Target acquired we ordered coffees and cake and sat outside, enjoying the afternoon warmth. Unfortunately we were a little late in the day so there weren’t many cake options available but that was OK since they had lemon drizzle cake and purple carrot cake.

Why didn't I photograph the purple carrot cake, you ask? No idea. Here, have some coffee.

Why didn’t I photograph the purple carrot cake, you ask? No idea. Here, have some coffee.

Fourth stop: The Greenhouse

Enlivened by cake and caffeine we bounced off to experience more of Leith. Now a discussion ensued: whether to go with my favourite combo of Sofi’s and Harmonium or whether to try something entirely new. It didn’t take me long to be convinced that actually, yes, we should check out the new vegan-friendly bar/restaurant that used to be The Constitution and is now The Greenhouse.  We’d decide whether to eat after a drink or two.

I really liked the look of The Greenhouse. The brick and wood walls lend the interior a warm golden glow. Service was friendly and the drinks menu enticing. I had a blood orange and mandarin spritz, a tangy concoction of gin, flavour syrup and prosecco. I followed it with my new favourite stout, the Pilot Mochaccino. (It does exactly what it suggests, flavour-wise.)  We’ll come back for food.

Blood orange and mandarin spritz: as orange as an Aperol spritz but classier.

Blood orange and mandarin spritz: as orange as an Aperol spritz but classier.

At this point, we decided against a fifth stop and wandered up to the Foot o’ the Walk to catch a bus home. We’d had a great day of strolling, eating, drinking and chatting and were pleasantly tired and ready to return home, pet the cat and put our feet up.

There was just the tiny question of dinner to resolve.

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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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