Over the last 12 months, I have visited cafes, restaurants and coffee shops of every shape and size in my quest for the perfect plump scone.
I’ve been surprised to stumble upon warm, drool-inducing bakes while sheltering from the rain, hearty homemade treats in the smallest back-street cafes, and deliciously decadent desserts in some of Scotland’s biggest chains.
And while each eatery has been unique in its own right, there is one common thread running through every cosy café – Scotland’s world-renowned hospitality.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of stepping into a new local only to receive a warm welcome, followed by a pleasant natter about everything from the weather to the best way to ensure a crumbly texture to your scone.
On a recent visit to the capital, I was lucky enough to experience just such an enthusiastic embrace when I popped into the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro, nestled just above the slow-flowing river that provides its name.
Alongside a friend, I had actually ventured to the Canonmills neighbourhood to visit a nearby café, but faced with a 40-minute wait (apparently Edinburgh’s population really loves brunch) we decided to try our luck elsewhere. And I’ve never been happier to have made a last-minute change of plans.
As soon as we walked into the charming, simply-decorated dining room, we felt right at home and took a seat by the window to watch the world go by over a few cappuccinos. Our order was soon taken by a lovely waitress who was, quite simply, one of the friendliest servers I have ever encountered during my Scone Spy career.
Warm, smiley and happy to accommodate my picky companion’s dietary requirements, she brought back fond memories of a great aunt, who would call everyone “m’love” and patted your arm when you brought over a cup of tea. Simply wonderful.
And I’m pleased to report the food was just as delightful as the service. We each opted for a classic full breakfast, including sausages, potato scone, beans, mushrooms and a side of well-buttered toast. Well, what more could you want on a cold winter’s day?
To finish our savoury feast, naturally we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample one of the home baked scones, served alongside a steaming hot cup of tea. Arriving warm with sweet runny jam, it wasn’t long before every crumb was hoovered up with gusto, and we were left patting our full, round bellies.
If I could sum up this lovely bistro in just one sentence it would be, “Simply scrumptious.”
See you in 2020 for more brilliant bakes!
Like walking into an old friend’s house for a cup of tea. 10/10
Nestled above the water just five minutes from the Royal Botanic Garden. 8/10
Warm, crumbly and served with delicious jam. 8/10