The Manna House Bakery – a slice of bakery heaven

The Manna House Bakery will be well known to people who enjoy the café life in Edinburgh. They make bread and pastries for cafés around town. To me, their brand is a selling point: a place with Union of Genius soup and Manna House bread is a place where I want to eat lunch. But what about the café itself? Christopher and I went to investigate.

Crrrunchy greens and sweet potato salads (the other are hiding) topped with feta. So good!

Crrrunchy greens and sweet potato salads (the other are hiding) topped with feta. So good!

It was a sunny morning and our second attempt at going to the Manna House. The first time I’d mixed up the days (gah!) so we arrived late on a Sunday when shelves and coolers were more or less empty. We suggested we’d come back when things weren’t so hectic. The Manna House makes brisk business at the weekend. There’s a steady stream of people in for loaves, or pastries, take-away salads and coffees, as well as people taking seats.

We sat towards the back where we had a good view of the sunny street and – more importantly – the coolers and the goodies behind their shining glass. Everything looked fresh and tempting.

Brunch part 1: savouries

We hadn’t had breakfast – sometimes the instinct not to eat is correct – so were very hungry when we arrived. We settled in with a coffee and I decided to have a salad plate to break my fast. I love fresh salads and the ones at the Manna House sounded so good. Crrrunchy Greens had peas and broccoli, Spicy Sweet Potato involved not just bright orange wedges of roast sweet potato but maple syrup, nuts and warming hint of chilli. The egg and potato salad was a deliciously healthy version of a familiar classic and the fregola was rich with mushrooms and scented with truffle oil. All different from each other, all very good.

Spanish chorizo torilla with salsa. Utterly delicious!

Spanish chorizo torilla with salsa. Utterly delicious!

Christopher went for the hummus roll with a side of sweet potatoes. He really enjoyed the bread: structured with a chewy crust and great flavour.

Sam, the manager, also brought us a chorizo tortilla and a corn fritter popadom. Now, watch me go into raptures. The tortilla was the perfect Spanish omelette layered with thin slices of chorizo, served with a garnish of salsa. It was rich and smokey and so very satisfying. I devoured it, there’s no other word for what happened.

This was such a clever, fresh and delicious idea: a popado, basket with salad and a lovely curried corn fritter with chutney.

This was such a clever, fresh and delicious idea: a popado, basket with salad and a lovely curried corn fritter with chutney.

The corn fritter popadom tasted as good as it looked: crunchy and soft, cumin scented and well matched with a sweet chutney. The popadum added drama and crunchy fun. I was really impressed by the breadth of flavours we tasted. Everything was very good and had its own distinct personality.

We couldn’t eat everything so it was with some sadness I left the goats cheese pizza and the pastrami sandwich in the cooler.

Brunch part 2: sweets

Refreshed with a second cup of coffee, we were ready to tuck into the sweets. We told Sam to surprise us and he did. I got two gorgeous mousse cakes: blueberry and white chocolate, and peach and raspberry. The peach was a shiny hemisphere with creamy peach mousse nestled around a raspberry centre. Sweet, but not too sweet, refreshing and delicate. The blueberry and white chocolate cake had a crumbly chocolate base and berries in the mousse. Again, it was fresh and lovely. I have a soft spot for blueberries and I think they match very well with dark chocolate.

All the cake. In front, peach and raspberry mousse, blueberry and white chocolate, sacher on a crunchy base and, closest to Christopher, heavenly orange and polenta.

All the cake. In front, peach and raspberry mousse, blueberry and white chocolate, sacher on a crunchy base and, closest to Christopher, heavenly orange and polenta.

Christopher avoided the gelatin of the mousse cakes and had an orange polenta cake that was perfectly moist and huge on orange flavour, and a Sacher torte on a crumble base. The team has worked a long time to perfect the polenta cake. The result is perfection.

Bread and croissants

We didn’t eat again until the evening and then I had a slice of salt and peper bread. The next day, we had tomatoes on salt and pepper bread for dinner (the bread was perfect with the tomatoes: extra seasoning was unnecessary because this is a bread that stands by its name). For breakfast, we had almond croissants – a little squashed after their journey to and from Glasgow ComicCon in Christopher’s back pack but still delicious. A lovely Sunday morning luxury.

The salad counter and the bread library. The walnut loaf went in a thrice and I was lucky to get my hands on the salt and pepper bread.

The sandwich counter and the bread library. The walnut loaf went in a thrice and I was lucky to get my hands on the salt and pepper bread. See the basket of croissants on top of the counter? Yum!

Manna House Bakery has two locations: Easter Road and South Queensferry. We went to Easter Road and have friends who go to the one in South Queensferry. Both serve the same excellent cakes, bread and lunches. It’s a delight sitting in the bakery and see things be brought out: there’s constant activity in the kitchen. If you haven’t visited yet, do! Magic happens here.

Manna House Bakery

22-24 Easter Road
Edinburgh EH7 5RG

Telephone: 0131 652 2349

Instagram: themannahousebakery | Twitter: mannahousebaker

Caroline was invited to visit by the Manna House Bakery.

Last updated by at .

mm

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *