After last week’s somewhat underwhelming trip to the National Gallery’s Scottish Cafe & Restaurant, I made a mental note to make sure to visit some of the other various gallery cafes, over the next wee while.


Accordingly, today we headed for the Dovecot Studios on Infirmary Street, to visit Stag Espresso, who run their onsite cafe.

I’d been aware of their strong reputation for serving a finely made Artisan Roast espresso, for a while, and had heard that the rest of their offering was pretty damn good, too, so my visit was long overdue.


Joining me today was regular quester, Gary, whose latest quests have included trips to Piemaker and La Piazza, as well as recent return visit to Mithas, as part of the latest Savoury not Sweet event.

We were seated at a simply appointed table in the corner, and immediately brought menus and water by the super-friendly waitress. She also ran us through the soups and salads of the day.

Gary's soup and sandwich

The place is rather what you’d expect from a gallery cafe, with nice artistic touches (I really liked the reels of wool along the back of the main banquette seating) and paintings dotted around the walls. It was elegant, welcoming, and buzzing with life.

We both quickly settled upon the lunchtime soup and half sandwich deal, which costs a pretty reasonable £6. Gary opted for lentil and jalapeno soup, with a pastrami and brie sandwich, while I chose the Kashmiri chicken soup, with a black crowdie and walnut sandwich.

These items arrived very promptly, looking very smart indeed. The sandwich plate sat atop the soup, so lifting the lid was a nice piece of theatre. It allowed for a good waft of soupy aroma to be billowed nose-ward. The smell was highly enticing, so it wasn’t long before I was delving my spoon into the depths of the dish.

Exceptional soup

The heady aroma was the herald of a truly magnificent soup, full of wonderfully warming and aromatic spicing, with a lovely complexity of flavour, backed up by excellent meaty depth. Gary was similarly impressed with his soup, too.

The sandwich was also impressive, with beautifully fresh bread and a nice combination of flavour and texture from the nutty cheese filling. It didn’t quite hit the heights of the soup, but it was still highly satisfying.

Lovely sandwich

First rate espresso, right up there with the fine work on show at Hula, Lovecrumbs, and Castello, rounded out what had been a really excellent lunchtime experience.

Overall, I’m sorry not to have visited the Dovecot Studios and their marvellous cafe before now. It’s a truly excellent spot. Congratulations go to Stag Espresso’s soup maestros for the wonderful soup we were served today. It becomes the fourteenth soup to join the elite category of “exceptional” on Soupquest. I’d strongly recommend you pay the place a visit, at your earliest convenience. I’m confident you’ll be richly rewarded.


Blythe scores Stag Espresso
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 17/20

Today’s questers were: Gary, Blythe

We ate: lentil and jalapeno soup with pastrami and brie half sandwich; Kashmiri chicken soup with black crowdie and walnut half sandwich

We drank: espresso, water

We wore: Belstaff jacket, navy overcoat

Total bill: £14.80

Dovecot Cafe by Stag Espresso on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR