Whilst we were in Edinburgh we spent a lot of time hanging out with the cats we were cat sitting for and cooking meals at my friend Imogen's place but we did manage to eat out a fair few times. Henderson's has been a favourite spot of mine since I first visited Edinburgh six years ago and now my favourite bistro is 100% vegan. How cool! Their shop, located just next door to the bistro and above their salad bar, seems to have become far more vegan friendly too. When we popped in they had cupcakes, cakes, flapjack style bars, and chocolate dipped shortbread biscuits which were only £1. As soon as I bit into them I wished that we'd bought more than three pieces.
I don't remember Henderson's having a particularly interesting breakfast menu but now it's seriously great. I wanted to order everything. In the end I settled on the tofu benedict which was a most excellent choice.
Flavour wise it was spot on, I loved the mustardy vegan hollandaise and I am a big asparagus fan so getting to eat it at breakfast is always a treat. My only slight complaint is that I could have done with a little more food - perhaps a bigger slab of tofu would be nice. One breakfast that was definitely a good size was the full Scottish breakfast which came with sausage, haggis, baked beans, tofu scramble, mushrooms, tomatoes, toast, and a tattie scone.
Potato scones are a truly excellent addition to a cooked breakfast and I love that the Scottish breakfast contains haggis. I think my favourite part of breakfast was when 11:30 rolled around and we were offered desserts from the lunch / dinner menu as it was nearing that time of day. Genius. I feel very good about breakfast dessert. I ordered the lemon and thyme cheesecake which wasn't my favourite (too much coconut) but it turned out that one of my dining companions didn't like her avocado chocolate cheesecake and was happy for me to eat the whole thing. I would totally order it again, I'm quite the fan of the combo of avocado and chocolate but apparently it's not to everyone's taste.
I love the Edinburgh and Bruntsfield is one of my favourite areas to walk around. There are loads of cute independent shops to peek into there including Dig In, which is a great little community owned, not for profit green grocers. There's a Real Foods close by in Tolcross too for all of your mock meat, vegan cheese, and fancy tea needs. One must visit spot in Bruntsfield is The Chocolate Tree which is another old favourite of mine and whenever I'm in Edinburgh I pop in for a chocolate overload. They always have one vegan cake as well as both Spanish style and regular hot chocolate.
I'm a huge chocolate fiend so I went for a piece of chocolate mousse cake and a Spanish style single origin hot chocolate. This is basically just melted chocolate and it's seriously epic. I couldn't finish both but that meant that I had leftover cake for breakfast a couple of days later.
Edinburgh has become a whole lot more vegan friendly since the last time I visited in 2013 and as far as new fave's go Nova Pizza is the best of the best. They're a vegetarian place but their vegan menu is epic and includes pizzas, calzones, and pasta dishes as well as a wide range of speciality desserts.
I tried quite a few pizzas during our sojourn in the city but by far the best combo was one that Nick made from the create your own section of the menu. Alongside the tomato base and melted cheese it had Bolognese sauce, potatoes, and vegan ham. It was seriously great and I would definitely recommend it to anyone willing to step out of the box with their order. Another unusual offering from Nova Pizza is their dessert pizza which is super thin crust pizza topped with a creamy hazelnut chocolate spread and a little icing sugar.
I was stuffed when I ate it but it was seriously good and I would have ordered it again had this next dessert not existed. The Oreo cheesecake is the stuff that my dessert dreams are made of. I usually hate cheesecake, like serious hatred. I've never enjoyed cheesecake outside of Japan before (it's much less sweet there and tofu based rather than vegan cream cheese based) but this was so great that I had to order a second slice immediately.
It was creamy without having an overpoweringly cheesy tang and sweet without being sickly which is impressive when something involved Oreos. I was beyond impressed and would urge you to order this when you visit. Whilst the food at Nova Pizza was seriously great the service really stood out as some of the best in the world, there was only one waitress working the packed out restaurant both times we visited and she was efficient, friendly, and chatty at all times.
On one of our last days in the city Nick and I met up with some Instagram buddies for lunch at The Caffeine Drip, a central sandwich spot serving a decent range of vegan options. I wasn't stoked on their options when I looked at the menu, they all seemed rather roasted veg heavy, but the vegan club sandwich I ordered was more than the sum of it's parts and they were more than happy to leave off the roasted red peppers.
The vegan club was a massive sandwich on seeded bread stuffed full of grilled veggies, caramelised onion hummus, tomatoes, and avocado and I would totally order it again. The breakfast menu at The Caffeine Drip looks pretty great and I was sad not to have been able to try it - options include a make your own breakfast featuring such delights as tofu or chickpea scramble, vegan haggis, and roasted tomatoes, as well as vegan French toast - sweet or savoury. I'll be back! The other cool thing about The Caffeine Drip, just in case you need another reason to go there, is that it's just down the street from both Affogato Gelato and a great little health food store called Jan de Vries. Nick and I managed to share a small cup full of peanut butter and chocolate ice cream and a slice of millionaire's shortbread.
If you read my blog often, or even if you just caught my post about Glasgow last week, you'll know that I have some pretty strong feelings about raw desserts. It's very easy to screw them up and so often they just taste like coconut and leave you with a horrible aftertaste and a general sense of dissatisfaction. This particular raw dessert was excellent though, not the best ever but truly great and definitely something I'd order again. There was a lot of caramel and no detectable desiccated coconut. The base had a nice crunch to it and the chocolate topping was nice and thick. The ice creams were great too, you can't really go wrong with the combo of peanut butter and chocolate, and I loved how many vegan options they had.
I've been back down south for almost a week now and I'll be making a trip to Brighton tomorrow. My to-eat list is long and I have posters to print and things to organise for my collection for Calais donation drive. In case you missed my post on Friday I'm going to volunteer at the refugee camp at the end of the month and I want to fill the van with food donations. Collections will be taking place from 10:30 - 6 at Punktured on Gardner Street on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th and at The Hope and Ruin from 6pm until close on Thursday 25th. I'll post more about what to bring nearer the time and posters will be going up all over town in the next few days. Hopefully I'll get to meet loads of my Brighton based readers and see some old faces at the collection points!