Enjoyable afternoon at the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro

After a few unsuccessful predecessors it would seem the husband and wife team of Ana and Mickael Mesle have finally cracked 52 Coburg St, with the opening of the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro. Local artwork for sale hangs on the walls and there is a laid-back, welcoming ambience which comes as naturally as the sunshine through the windows. Instead of concentrating on the dinner market, the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro has focused on the daytime dining crowd; infact the bistro only opens in the evening when a group of 10 or more book in advance. The Water of Leith Cafe Bistro is a place you can linger over a three course lunch, enjoy a coffee and cake or call in and grab something to go.

Croque Madame at Edinburgh's the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro Salmon and haddock fishcakes at the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro

A modest “regulars” menu with all mains apart from the steak under ¬£8, is accompanied by a lively specials board which offers two courses for ¬£10 or three for an extra ¬£2.50. The pollock and pork chop from the latter were flying out of the kitchen. There is a special “kids menu” and the abundance of high chairs and an informal sofa dining area, demonstrate the daytime family appeal of the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro. My starter of cullen skink was larger than I was expecting and, as you’d expect from a Parisean inspired Bistro, came with deliciously fresh bread. Personally I would have liked it thicker, but the taste did not disappoint.

We had read elsewhere that the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro’s fish cakes were somewhat of a speciality. Two huge fishcakes packed with salmon and haddock (¬£6.70) served with a superb home made tartare sauce in no way formed any grounds for disagreement. I can’t believe the wonders of Croque Madame (¬£7.65) have eluded me for so many years. After trying this dish for the first time in Glasgow a few weeks ago, I am hooked. So while I am hardly the expert on this most French of dishes I will happily give the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro’s version my seal of approval - perfectly cooked fried egg, ample ham filling, nice cheese and perfect french fries. The fresh salad and coleslaw, also served with the fishcakes, were lovely too.

It’s clear Ana, who runs the front of house, does a great job to keep the service and smiles flowing. However, given the success of the bistro it’s also clear further help is needed; we weren’t alone in waiting a long time for our plates to be cleared and desserts to be offered. It would be a shame to miss out on desserts, because my slice of vanilla cheesecake (¬£3.50) was a super way to end any meal. Unfortunately the strawberry tarts had succumbed to their popularity, so we chose a lemon cupcake (¬£2.60) instead. This may have been better not served direct from the chiller, but was pleasant on the eye and belly nonetheless.

I’m pleased by the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro’s success. Not every business ‘off the beaten track’ in Leith succeeds, but ventures like this prove you can gain appeal irrespective of location. Recommended, especially for a late Sunday lunch, after a walk along the Water of Leith.

The Water of Leith Cafe Bistro is located at 52 Coburg Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6HJ
Telephone: 0131 555 2613

One Response to “Enjoyable afternoon at the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro”

  1. I love this bistro.
    The soups are wonderful - and be warned -
    much bigger portions than you’d normally expect.
    My first visit I ordered a soup and Croq Monsieur.
    I could hardly finish my soup (a hearty Cullen Skink which is the best I’ve ever had) -
    let alone a massive main course.
    Make sure you order a small soup if you want to try other things too.

    It’s a regular fixture for a lot of locals - and I am beginning to become acquainted with other regulars.

    The service is excellent, and so friendly and accommodating.

    It’s a child freindly place with a fine wee play area for the kids.

    I don’t have any young ‘uns myself anymore -
    but enjoy the offspring of others vicariously.

    Highly recommended.

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