Another day, another lunch, another soaking. Isn’t Edinburgh grand at this time of year?!


To be fair, I’d merely been gently drizzled upon for a couple of hours, when I arrived at Urban Angel on Forth Street, today. The wind was suspiciously quiet, too, presumably preparing to roar in the New Year.

I was joined today by the excellent Jane, who previously quested at Cafe Marlayne and Leith Lynx.


Urban Angel has a reputation for healthy dishes, served in chic surroundings, and is a popular brunch and lunch spot with the discerning New Town crowd. Previously, I’ve visited their Hanover Street branch, but have to admit to being a little worse for wear on that occasion, so can’t recall things with my usual rapier clarity.

When I arrived, I was shown to a table for two in a tucked away corner of the place. The staff were pretty standoffish, to the extent that it was a good ten minutes before I was even offered water for the table.

Towering Blackboard

Jane arrived soon after, and we turned our attention to the menu. The Angel serves from a range of different menu options. In our case, we were working with the 12-5pm brunch menu, the lunch menu, and the all-day specials from the blackboard that towered directly above us.

As with the West Room, I found the menus a little difficult to navigate, and lacking a really cogent idea of what they were trying to sell you.

Excellent Soup

Eventually, we both decided to start with the soup, opting for the leek, potato and fennel over the tomato and lentil. Jane took the brunch route with eggs Benedict, with additions of smoked salmon and spinach, while I ordered from the board with the mussels, served with a bacon, leek and cider broth.

We had opted for small bowls of soup, and when they swiftly arrived we were both thankful for that, as they were the size of what I would expect to be served for a soup portion in a place that didn’t specify two sizes (ie most other places). The large bowls, which we caught sight of subsequently, were just way too big, rather like the soup portions in Loudons.

The soup itself was really good, with the ingredients blended to a smooth puree, with a soft, velvety texture. The bread that accompanied it was excellent, as well. I was very pleased indeed with this, and it will be added to the “very good” category in Soup Quest.

Poor Mussels

Sadly, this is where things took a turn for the worse, as the mussels were nowhere near as good. It was a large portion of poor quality mussels, cooked poorly. Many weren’t opened, so I left at least a third of the plate.

For me, this was just another symptom of a very confused menu, lacking a clear vision and direction. I’m all for locally sourced, seasonal menus, and would greatly prefer to eat in places that espoused those values, all of the time. But way too many times, places take adhering to laudable principles as a free-pass for the production of sloppy dishes.

Eggs Benedict

To further compound this impression, they’d overcooked the poached eggs on Jane’s egg’s Benedict. I mean, come on guys!

This was incredibly disappointing, as Urban Angel has good principles at its heart, and there’s a fantastic cafe/restaurant just waiting to emerge, but the thinking behind the elegantly minimalist decor desperately needs to be applied to their menu, at the earliest possible opportunity.

Blythe scores Urban Angel:
3/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
2/5 for service
3/5 for setting
giving an overall 11/20

Today’s lunch questers were: Jane, Blythe

We ate: leek, potato and fennel soup, eggs Benedict, mussels

We drank: water, espresso

We wore: lovely tan leather jacket, navy jumper

Total bill: c.£30

Urban Angel on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR