With MJ on the happy trail to her Alabamian homestead, I must admit to having been slightly tempted to head for an overly fussy French restaurant, or (worse yet) pop along to a steakhouse and order a steak with sauce, today. But once I divested myself of the notion of indulging in these acts of defiance, I headed down the road to the subterranean confines of the Elderberry Café. Previously the Underground Café, the place retains all its quirky charm, and offers a nice little hideaway from the traffic of York Place or the retail therapy heaven of Multrees Walk.


Today, I was calling in for takeaway, with soup and a sandwich my somewhat predictable requirement. I chose the roasted butternut squash over the carrot and parsnip, and added a ham and egg mayo roll.


As I waited for things to be freshly prepared, I took in the little café, which comes complete with upright piano, presumably for impromptu knees-up numbers. It’s the kind of place that would play well in student land. It’s somewhere between a greasy spoon and an “eco café”, very reminiscent of the little basement place on George Square where I misspent my student days.

The weather outside was lacking in the requisite festive spirit, simply raining in a slightly disinterested fashion, so I opted to take a shortcut to my office through St James’ Centre. It was a considerable obstacle course, but I managed the way back to my desk without unduly soggifying my lunch items.

Returned to my sauna-like basement work abode, I contemplated my soup, and the accompanying roll, with which it came.

Soup and Roll

I’m confident that the soup did contain roasted butternut squash to some degree, but this lovely item was totally overpowered by roasted red pepper. The soup was also too thin, lacking the real body that you’d expect of a winter soup. A roast red pepper soup of this type would make a nice spring/summer option, but didn’t meet my expectations of a seasonal warmer.

Egg Mayo Roll

There was a little mix-up with my roll, very possibly due to my somewhat indistinct speech, resulting in my ham and egg mayo roll arriving without the ham. Of course, I didn’t discover this until back at my desk. The egg salad roll was alright, but far from spectacular.

Overall, the Elderberry Café was a little disappointing. I think the place is full of charm, and the quiche of the day, which was being freshly baked before my very eyes, looked extremely tasty. But the service took a long time, they didn’t quite get either part of my order correct, their price-point is a little high, and their food wasn’t that memorable. Strangely, even with all of those caveats, I can still imagine myself paying it a return visit, to sit-in and sample some other items from their menu, as I have a nagging suspicion that this place is a rough diamond just looking for the correct application of polish.

Blythe scores the Elderberry Cafe:
2/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
2/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 11/20

Today’s lunch quester was: Blythe

I ate: roasted butternut squash soup, egg mayo roll

I drank: nothing

I wore: lemon shirt

Total bill: £4.50

Elderberry Cafe on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR