Edinburgh’s excellent diversity of provision is one of its strengths as a lunching and dining location. This is in part thanks to complete one-offs, like Russian Passion, our one and only Russian café.
Hidden in plain sight, in Canonmills, it’s open for lunch six days a week (closed on Wednesdays), offering a range of sit-in and takeaway choices. They are strong on soup and piroshkies, little savoury buns stuffed with an array of tempting fillings.
For evening service, where their small premises can cater for a group of up to 10, you have to book in advance, and pre-select your dishes. This all adds to a sense that you’re being invited in to a world of mystery and intrigue, where magical dishes, specially prepared just for you, will appear and beguile you.
On today’s lunchtime visit, I was warmly welcomed by the counter woman, who did an excellent job of steering me through the menu options. I settled upon a bowl of borscht, to be followed by a potato and mushroom piroshky, from their wide selection of freshly made buns.
Their small shop has three tables for lunchtime diners, so I plonked myself down at the brightest one.
With friendly banter exchanged throughout, I was soon tucking in to my borscht. While it was a little thinner than I ideally look for in a soup, the broth held a delightful blend of flavours, and was filled with generous chunks of vegetable goodness. It felt healthy and energising.
The piroshky that followed was particularly good. I cut the glazed bread bun open to reveal a well-stuffed potato and mushroom centre. The helpful counter woman suggested I might like some crème fraiche for dipping purposes. I swiftly agreed with this excellent suggestion.
The piroshky was beautifully seasoned and satisfyingly hearty. I look forward to trying different filling combinations, on future visits.
So overall, I was very pleased with Russian Passion. The café is small and charming, the welcome friendly and knowledgeable, and there’s a genuine passion to share the Russian cuisine with Edinburgh diners radiating throughout. I look forward to my next visit, once I round up a posse to go and sample their evening menu.
Blythe scores Russian Passion
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 14.5/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: borscht; potato and mushroom piroshky
I drank: water
I wore: blue suit
Total bill: £6.60