In case you didn’t notice, it was a beautifully icy, crisp and clear morning today, in Edinburgh. These are the type of winter mornings that we’ve grown used to, over the years, but have been curiously absent over the wild and windy season we’re experiencing, this year.
It was example of charming synchronicity that this bitingly cold morning heralded the arrival of Union of Genius’ first breakfast service. For those of you not acquainted with the delights of Union of Genius, it’s a little soup café on Forrest Road, which offers a lunchtime menu of six soups for you to choose from, daily. Their soups are of routinely excellent quality, with flavour combinations to make your taste-buds chuckle with warming delight.
So what does a soup café serve for breakfast, I hear you ask? Croissants, porridge, and…breakfast soup!
I have plans for much porridge intake, over the next few weeks, but that will start at the Hula Juice Bar, so the breakfast soup was definitely my route to success, today. A true devotee had called in at the ungodly hour of 7:50am to secure the honour of being the first customer to sample it, but I was happy to be the second, at a slightly more social hour.
I can report that it was an absolute triumph of a dish. Described as containing “everything”, the description wasn’t far off. With a base of onion, potato and tomato, there were beans, bacon and beautiful sausages to round out the flavour-packed sensation. The sausages, which tasted very much like the excellent buffalo ones you get at the Farmer’s Market, were particularly satisfying morsels of goodness.
With excellent onion bread, from Dough Re Mi, to accompany it, this really was a completely delightful way to start a freezing cold Monday.
I’d recommend you tootle along to Forrest Road to sample this new Edinburgh delicacy. I have a feeling it will become a firm winter favourite, and I dare say it may well find a niche chasing away the odd hangover or two, come festival time.
I know that I should have joined B when he went right on the opening day back on the 16th, but I had a few other things on my mind for that afternoon so stayed home to prepare. Subsequently, I’ve popped by UoG on the two following Fridays to have a taste of their porridge.
I grabbed my porridge that first day and was over the moon to say ‘I need oats’ to get my £1.00 pot of porridge, which is a promotion that sadly ends with January. I opted for the blueberry jus and then headed around the corner to DHT to prepare to teach undergrads.
I like to use my hour before students arrive as a time to mentally prepare to teach and to fortify myself for the hours ahead, and nothing sets my day going in the correct form as a bit o’ porridge.
The UoG porridge was unlike any I have ever had! They use oats and oatmeal (please correct me if I misheard) and toast some of it to give it that deeper flavour. They also go the traditional, Scottish route of salted porridge, which is something that is so unfamiliar to me that I stopped and had to reassess the way I’ve been eating porridge all these years!
The blueberry jus was not too sweet and was a perfect accompaniment to mix in. Once I got my head around the idea of the salt, I agree that it does really bring out and highlight the individual flavour contrasts between the topping and porridge itself.
Then today I dropped by again and still ‘needed oats’ and opted for the strawberry jam topping. The good quality of the jam showed through and the porridge was as good as I remembered.
Yes, breakfast at UoG is a great idea, I’m glad they’ve begun it and helped me sort out my Friday morning feeding.
The various dates’ questers were: Blythe, MJ
We ate: all-day breakfast soup, onion bread; Porridge with blueberry jus and strawberry Jam
I wore: red, white and blue checked tie, by www.tieclub.co.uk, sweaters and the look of a rushed pseudo-academic
Total bill: £4; £1.00 (per pot of porridge)