Freshly opened around a fortnight ago, Café Musa is the latest place (following on from the Whiski Rooms and Porto & Fi’s new branch) to take up residency along the North Bank Street stretch of the Mound. I’d noticed a tweet from them, earlier in the day, so decided to pop along and see how they were bedding in.
The café sits in the same building as the Christian bookshop. This information is very pertinent, as the bookshop has much clearer signage; I walked clean past Musa on my first pass.
Once I’d located the place, I was welcomed in to the stylish surroundings by a friendly chap serving behind the counter. We had a nice chat about how their first couple of weeks had been going, a little about the origins of the name (a convenient mix of the Gaelic musa, meaning “from the water”, which relates to their proximity to the site of the old Nor Loch (which used to fill the expanse that is now graced by Princes Street Gardens), and the Hebrew for Moses (reflecting their ecclesiastical links)), and managed across this conversation to agree that my order would be some of their minted green pea soup and a sandwich from the cabinet of ready-made offerings.
I strolled my merry way back towards my office, and was soon contemplating my choices. The soup came first and I am pleased to report that it was very good. The consistency was ideal, just thick enough to make you think “hearty” and “crafted with care”. The flavours were strong and fresh, and the colour a vibrant herald of the spring.
Sadly, the sandwich didn’t reach those same heights. The bread was soft and fresh, but the filling was pretty run-of-the-mill. It seemed rather pedestrian in comparison to the joyful exuberance of the soup.
So overall, Café Musa is well worth a visit. Its smart interior, blending wood with the abundant light that bathed the room, today, is a real winner. It has the feel of a really smart brunch venue. Once people know it’s there, the signage problems I ran into won’t be an issue. What is likely to be a continuing concern is the competition provided by its near neighbours. Our visit to Porto & Fi’s Newhaven branch confirmed it to be a really top-quality place. Likewise, I think the soup is the Whiski Rooms is just about the best in town. Competition often drives up quality, though, and with abundant tourist custom, there’s reason to be optimistic that these places will all prosper. I hope so, as I think all three offer really good quality.
Blythe scores Café Musa:
3.5/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 14/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: minted pea soup, ham and cheese salad sandwich
I drank: nowt
I wore: windowpane checks
Total bill: £4.75