Chris and I went to Scotland earlier this year with one real goal: eat the tasty things. And while this visit we only got to check out Edinburgh and Glasgow, we still managed to get a fair number of treats in.
Notes on Glasgow/Edinburgh:
- It is so worth ignoring the reviews and seeing what looks good. Yes, reviews help, but we found the awesome Kember & Jones by accident. (Its reviews weren’t even popping up in my searches.)
- A lot of stuff closes early in the winter. As in, the conservatories in the Glasgow Royal gardens close at 4 pm.
- Weather definitely varies. I think we experienced the calmest visit ever, with only some light drizzling, but the wind chill is very, very real. Be prepared.
- It is super easy to train hop between Glasgow and Edinburgh. So do it!
- It’s not the most friendly walking if you’re dealing with limited mobility. I resprained my ankle in a too conveniently foot-sized ditch in Glasgow. If you’re dealing with limited mobility, the main/High streets are pretty good, but walking about can be steep/not under the greatest maintenance.
Want to know what we ate? Read on.
Kember & Jones
134 Byres Road, Glasgow
This place wasn’t even on my radar; we passed it by accident when we were going to the Royal Gardens. Which is good, because it’s what Seattle hipster tea shop/bakery/cafe dreams are made of.
It’s what you’d get if Columbia City Bakery upped their savory menu, Coyle’s Bake Shop designed the space, and someone got Book Larder to lend them a chunk of the library. It’s twee. There are books. And there are so many things you know you should come back for.
I wish it had more ADA-friendly sitting room, since most of their tables are up a narrow flight of stairs. But it has granola and tea made of mint leaves and So. Much. Bread.
Unit 232, St. Enoch Centre, 55 St. Enoch Square, Glasgow
This is a London-based chocolate chain, but it’s awesome.
Most of their stuff is out to be eclectic – I mean, white chocolate Eton Mess bars and fake egg on toast pieces? Yes. But then they have this dainty pile of single origin bars, and for me that was where the fun began.
If you’re a chocolate geek who also likes whisk(e)y, get the 100% Honduras bar. It is truly the strangest piece of chocolate I’ve ever eaten. Get this: tasting notes of raisins, old rubber bike tires, and tobacco. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
They also have more reasonably flavored bars, for people not out to be confused by what their tongue is relaying to them. I still think you should at least try the 100% Honduras bar if it’s offered to you, because why not live on the edge once in a while?
27b Raeburn Place, Edinburgh
I want to see their chef face off against the owner of Bakery Nouveau, because I’m not sure who would win.
As in, they sold us one of the best eclairs I’ve ever had. It wasn’t photographed because Chris and I inhaled it. We went back for a round two and I got that lemon cremeux you see above and below. It was also one of the best meringues I’ve had, with a texture best described as ‘so soft and fluffy and gone.’
I feel like as a food media-type person I should explain more, but in this case just go and eat things. Be happy. Rejoice. Possibly get some of the tea; it makes for an even better experience because look at those tiny cute teapots! Oh my goodness, the sheer preciousness of it all. I think there are tea shops having jealousy issues over these teapots, and they’re just randomly in the shop with those lovely tea cups. Because of course they are.
I did confirm from the chef that they’re using Belgian chocolate, though I wasn’t told which brand. Doesn’t matter, still tasty.
(Note: since I tried everything once, these count as First Impressions posts.)