In the final couple of weeks that B and I were walking and training for the 50k walk to raise money for Action for A-T, we decided to stop into Canonmills and check in with our friends Mel and her other half Milo, of Clear-minded Creative. When we learned upon our arrival that Moo had closed down, we wandered along a few doors and happened upon a rare free table at Circle Café. We sat down by the window and ordered a few pots of green tea as we waited for our friends. The daily specials looks quite good and their nightly menu also really looks like something I want to come back and try.
The space itself is long and narrow, with excellent use of washroom space and tables fit neatly where they can. They sell a few random items that I didn’t take too much time to peruse, but this is just another reason for me to return.
The menu is not overly large, but it is big enough and diverse enough that they cater to a variety of tastes without it feeling unwieldy. I also particularly like the fact that I can order many of their main dishes as a half size portion too; this appeals to my need for variety.
As I sipped my Tea Pigs green tea (which was a bit costly), I decided to go with the roasted squash and lentil salad without the cheese and with the dressing on the side. If you read this blog with any regularity you will have noticed by now that I am the difficult one to please when it comes to dining options. I like to appease the part of me that cringes whenever I make changes to a menu item by saying that I am just playing the devil’s advocate and testing the flexibility of the kitchen. (I’m doing everyone a favour…really)
When our mains arrived, I was very impressed. My salad (I opted for the larger one once the waitress told me of the size to expect) looked fresh and visually impressive. The colours were a feast for the eyes, well before I put the first bite in my mouth. And when I did, it was a delight. The perfectly cooked, every so slightly sweet squash was set off by the slight bite of the lentils and the crispness of the leaves. I have a feeling that the saltiness of the feta would have added another element to the salad as a whole, but I was more than happy with my salad.
I admit that with the upmarket look to the place and over-priced cost of coffee, I was not particularly looking forward to the meal, but I was pleasantly surprised and can say that along with Edinburgh Larder, this has to be one of the best salad-style lunches that I have had in all our quests. Go, book a table and have a lovely meal.
With only a couple of weeks to go until our next walk, we got in a good wee wander before lunchtime, today. Our aim was set on Canonmills, with the initial thought to visit the Moo Cafeteria, but it seems they’re looking for someone new to take over those premises, sadly.
Our attention turned to the Circle Cafe, just a few doors down. It’s a popular little spot, which I’ve attempted to visit on a couple of occasions, but found it jammed with diners.
From an extensive menu of options, I opted for a skirt steak sandwich to follow my soup, which today proved to be cream of red pepper and tomato. MJ opted for a tempting sounding salad of puy lentils and butternut squash, while Mel went for the falafel burger, and Milo chose the eggs benedict with smoked salmon from the specials board.
My soup arrived most promptly, and looked good. It proved to be well judged and nicely textured. The accompanying bread was fresh and wholesome, but not best suited for its appointed mopping up task.
Main courses followed shortly thereafter, and they looked very tempting. We were all very happy with our choices. Mel’s accompanying sweet potato chips looked grand. One of Milo’s eggs didn’t have quite the hoped for runnyness in the yolk department, but the other had good ooze. MJ was very pleased with her salad.
My skirt steak open sandwich was good, too. It came with nicely fresh salad leaves, and excellent chips. The steak itself was accurately cooked and full of the flavour that you’d expect from that cut, which is a favourite of mine.
So, the Circle Cafe was really quite good. It’s a smart place to spend a Sunday lunchtime, I’d say, as it has a range of options, to suit a breadth of tastes. The only slight downside is that their coffee is rather overpriced, with £2.30 for an espresso way over the top. Fix that little glitch and they’d have a place that I’d happily make a regular stop-off point.
Blythe scores the Circle Cafe
3.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 14.5/20
Today’s questers were: Miriam, Mel, Milo, Blythe
We ate: tomato and red pepper soup, puy lentil and squash salad, smoked salmon eggs benedict, falafel burger, steak sandwich
We drank: green tea, ginger beer, water
We wore: smart leather jacket, denim, walking shoes, fishing hat
Total bill: c.£50