The staff at Russian Passion in Canonmills are, to say the least, keen to encourage custom. Our decision to visit this Russian cafe was influenced by thumbs up signs and other gestures beckoning us to come inside, from the two Russian ladies who were holding the fort. We had only stopped to read the menu stuck on the window! Inside the sales pitch continued; we were given business cards, told we could order freshly baked pasties for private parties and were asked to smell some, admittedly delicious smelling, chocolate potatoes. It won’t be long before I’m back to try some of them! The enthusiasm the ladies had for their Russian cafe in Edinburgh was infectious.
Russian Passion’s lunch menu is large, but only certain dishes from it are prepared each day. Any dish can be ordered in advance though. The cafe only opens in the evening by exception. Each day a selection of vegetable or meat piroshkys are prepared, which are excellent accompaniments to Russian Passion’s soups. The piroshkys are deliciously soft and fresh baked bread, filled with ingredients such as ‘bacon, potato and onion’ or ‘pumpkin and cheese’.
In another statement of self promotion we were told Russian Passion is the only outfit in Scotland who bake fresh piroshkys. It’s clearly not a case of Russian Passion just churning them out either. They bake them well. So well, that I’m now a complete convert to the Russian world of piroshky. Ours were absolute delicious (Â£2.20 - Â£2.80 each, 20 pence less if you don’t eat in). A large bowl of borsch (Â£3) is just what’s needed to add hairs to your chest - beatroot and cabbage soup, with a mixture of herbs. Borsh could be just what’s needed to get Edinburgh folk through the cold Winter season. The rassolnik soup (pearl barley and sour gherkins) was good too.
Russian Passion have become somewhat synonymous with excellent desserts. Our expectations were high, as each serving costs Â£3. Thankfully the cafe proved equally adept with fanciful tortes, as they did with hearty soups. I thought the chocolate truffle torte would have been my favourite, but the honey torte (aka Medovik) just triumphed.
The ladies at Russian Passion have created a charming cafe serving fautlessly authentic Russian fayre. It’s a very different culinary experience from the norm, but the cakes speak a common language. Start with the excellent piroshky and experiment from there. Recommended.
Russian Passion is located at 5 Canonmills, Edinburgh, EH3 5HA
Telephone: 0131 5569042