Thrive – enticing veggie/vegan restaurant bar in Bruntsfield

Two new vegetarian/vegan places have opened up in Bruntsfield recently. (Well, recently enough that I haven’t been yet.) Always interested to see what the vegetable-loving scene looks like, Christopher and I went for lunch at one of them last week: Thrive.

Thrive, on what I now call Bruntsfield Terrace's veggie corner.

Thrive, on what I now call Bruntsfield Terrace’s veggie corner.

Thrive is a bright and woody restaurant and bar with tables low and high in one of those very long street-level units you get all over Edinburgh. A bright window lets light – and curious gazes – in at the front; the back is where the bar precides over a couple of tall tables. It’s clean, fresh and cheerful. We got a seat in the middle, under the bright gaze of Thrive’s protective saint, a woman painted on the wall who reminds me of the drawing on Idun cider labels.

Brunch, lunch, a la carte

The main menu* consists of burgers, bowl and bites and you can pick and mix. There are also sides and desserts – more on those in a bit.

I decided to go forego small things – soup or antipasti, stuffed courgettes or cauliflower wings – for a bowl, a shared side and dessert. My bowl of choice was caponata, roast aubergine, tomatoes, olives, capers, rocket and Parmesan. The ceviche bowl – a citrussy tofu bowl – sounded good too as did the middle east bowl of falafel, tabbouleh and baba ghanoush. But I havea thing for aubergine, so down the caponata route I went. It was very tasty but I would have liked more aubergine: my bowl was mostly salad.

Caponata bowl. There's lovely aubergine in there, and tender capers.

Caponata bowl. There’s lovely aubergine in there, and tender capers.

Christopher decided to have the beer battered tofush: a fillet-o-tofu in a bun that tasted great but as difficult to eat. Tasty tofy crumbles but I must say it goes well with beer batter. It’s nice with a selection of veggie burgers where not one is an overcooked overgrown mushroom. The black bean sounds good and the aloo tikki potato burger is very intriguing.

Burger! Beer battered tofu - I have a bit of a hankering for one of these, actually.

Burger! Beer battered tofu – I have a bit of a hankering for one of these, actually.

We shared a bowl of dirty chips; chips with splashes of fake cheese sauce and jalapeno sauce. I really liked them. I can live without chips, and am rarely in favour of fake cheese (it smells wrong) but this combination was hot and savoury and potato-y in a very pleasing way.

Dirty, dirty fries.

Dirty, dirty fries.

* There’s also a brunch menu with avocado tast, buddha bowl, eggs on toast, mushrooms on bread and other goodies.

Avocado and what?

We considered going next door for coffee and afters but were enjoying ourselves so had espresso and pudding. I’ve always wanted to try an avocado chocolate mousse so was delighted to see one on the menu. I’ve read recipes that say you can’t taste the avocado: you can. But avocado is delicious so the fact that the silky mousse has a sweet, green character isn’t a problem, it’s an asset. The mousse was served with whipped coconut cream – very yummy – and raspberries. I enjoyed it tremendously.

Should have used a different angle for this... There's glorious mousse underneath that lovely coconut.

Should have used a different angle for this… There’s glorious mousse underneath that lovely coconut.

Christopher had a baked cheesecake with berry compote: creamy vanilla all the way.

If we lived closer I think we’d go to Thrive a lot. The service was friendly, if occasionally absent-minded, the ambiance was relaxed and relaxing, the wine list was good and the cocktail menu has things on it I want to try. (Grapefruit & thyme bourbon smash, anyone? Or their take on the espresso Martini.) The menu is varied and both of us can eat almost everything on it. Win and win and win!


171 Bruntsfield Place
Edinburgh EH10 4DG

Telephone: 0131 623 6885

Instagram: thrivecafebar | Twitter: @thrivecafebar | Facebook: thrivecafebar |

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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.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Seeds for the soul - the vegan force is strong in Bruntsfield | Edinburgh Foody

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