Whilst strolling through the New Town with the vague intention of grabbing some lunch at Lezzetli’s Dundas Street outlet, I came across French Press, recognised the name as a place where Total Food Geeks’ Georgia had visited, the other day, so decided to pay it a visit.
Open since Good Friday, French Press is a nice little coffee shop, still working to develop its range of offerings and find its feet.
I was greeted by charmingly friendly counter assistant, who was extremely a ray of sunshine on a cloudy and cold day. In a moment that will live on as one of the most terrifying moments in questing history, it came to light that they didn’t have any soup!
“We’re looking for a supplier.” Well, I’d suggest they strike up a deal with Union of Genius, immediately, then patrons will never have to face the horrifying sensation that I experienced.
Anyhoo, my attention was taken by smart looking savoury treats, although the price tags looked a little alarming. I opted to match a rustic baguette filled with smoked chicken, apricot and orange chutney, and salad leaves, with a haggis stromboli, which the lovely counter girl warmed through for me. I had visions of lava consumption, reminiscent of my gnocchi from earlier in the week.
But most pressingly, I had to deal with the prospect of paying £8 for these two items. £3.50 for a sandwich, particularly with the unusual flavour combination on offer was fair enough, but £4.50 for the stromboli was truly eye-watering. Essentially, the place isn’t currently priced for takeaway. If they want to do takeaway business, they will need to re-examine their pricing.
So, armed with my precious cargo, I return to the confines of the ivory basement. Both items looked pretty good. I started with the stromboli. The bready pastry with haggis and cheese filling was alright, but nothing to write home about.
The baguette was a little better, at least partly because of the novelty of the flavour combination, which worked pretty nicely. I’ve talked before about my issues with gum-scrapingly over-fired baguettes. This one was extremely rustic, required a lot of “jaw work” to chew, it but just about stayed on the right side of pleasing.
So, I think French Press has a little way to go, but it’s in a lovely spot, has welcoming service, and is quite stylishly turned out, so has every chance to progress into a thriving little café. It needs to sort its price-point, though, as on my journey to its door, I walked past a number of places providing three-course lunches for the same money they’re offering you a sandwich and a pie.
Blythe scores French Press:
3/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 14/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: smoked chicken, apricot and orange chutney and salad baguette; haggis stromboli
I drank: nowt
I wore: the inescapable walking boots
Total bill: £8