It’s a busy week ahead, that’s for sure, the highlight of which will surely be meeting MJ’s family, in the run up to her graduation on Thursday. Although she has been easing her way in to the title for a few months, her graduation puts the official seal on her new status as Dr MJ. It really is a fitting reward for years of tireless studying.


After our little jaunt around Edinburgh, yesterday, my limbs were feeling a little heavy today, so a brisk lunchtime walk seemed very much in order. Accordingly, I set sail up the Bridges, soon alighting upon Café Viana, which is just on the corner of South Bridge and Infirmary Street.

It’s a place I’ve sauntered past on many occasions, not least when we reviewed the nearby Yocoko Noodle Bar. It has tended to be busy and not surprisingly, given its location, looks a reasonably popular spot with both students and tourists.


On today’s visit, I timed things nicely, and was attended to, immediately. A queue of three or four sound appeared behind me. Having ascertained that the soup of the day was lentil and bacon (there was a veggie option, although exactly what it was eludes my memory), I looked at the deli counter to choose the filling for a roll to accompany my soup.

The counter had a nice, but not massively wide, selection of cold meats, cheeses and vegetation, from which I chose to match chorizo with goat’s cheese and sun-blushed tomatoes. I was offered the option of heating the roll, but I declined.


The counter girl explained that there had been a little mix-up with the soup cups, today, so she had to ladle my soup in to a slightly modified tall coffee cup, upon which the lid didn’t fit 100% securely. Having been the victim on a couple of occasions in the past to ill-fitting lids resulting in spillage, not to say scalding, I appreciated her alerting me to this, muchly. The fact that she also wrote me a note on the lid, exhorting me to “please be careful” was not only rather lovely, it probably spoke volumes of the slightly glazed look I was sporting, today.

Having returned to the ivory basement with due care and attention, I examined by options. The soup was judged hot, so I was about to turn my attention to the roll. Alas, a work matter took my focus away from comestibles for around the next twenty five minutes, by which time the soup was at absolutely optimal temperature, having retained its heat magnificently.

Wonderful little lid message

The soup had a good rustic texture and plenty of chunks of goodness hidden within its depths, but suffered from an excess of black pepper. I heard Thomas Keller speaking on Saturday Kitchen, a few months ago, espousing the view that pepper wasn’t really a condiment, as it didn’t act in the same way that salt or vinegar does in terms of enhancing the flavour of items to which it’s applied, but rather simply introduces an additional flavour to which we have grown very accustomed. I get what the great man is driving at, and the over-peppering of this soup certainly illustrated the point very nicely.

The roll was pretty good, with the quality of ingredients shining through and the combination of flavours working well.

So overall, Café Viana strikes me as a good little place. They have room for maybe twenty-odd folk on their premises, and as a quick lunchtime stop-off, it serves quite nicely. It didn’t set my heart aflutter, but the care and attention shown by the counter staff with regards to the safety of my soup was highly commendable and certainly put a smile on my face.

Blythe scores the Café Viana:
3.5/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3/5 for setting
giving an overall 13.5/20

Today’s quester was: Blythe

I ate: lentil and bacon soup; chorizo, goat’s cheese and sun-blushed tomato roll

I drank: nothing

I wore: red, grey and black tie

Total bill: £5.70

Cafe Viana on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR