I was sad to see Bites had closed down, as it was a reliable little takeout place. The arrival of Café Bellina in the same Elm Row premises did look quite exciting, though, so I popped in for an early visit.
I actually visited twice on successive days, not entirely because it was love at first sight, but more because I sensed on the first visit that I hadn’t caught it at its best. And so it proved.
I first popped in for breakfast on my way to a busy day in the Leith office. A good range of hot roll options was on offer from which I chose bacon and fried egg. This was cooked to order by one of the friendly counter people and soon with me.
It proved good eating with a fresh morning roll, well prepared egg and tasty bacon. However, while I lingered in their smartly refurbed, compact café premises, I noticed mention of exciting looking hot lunchtime sandwiches, so made a note to revisit.
I had the opportunity to do so the following day, so promptly ordered their special Bellina sandwich, featuring meatballs, cheese and tomato ragu. This was promptly with me looking monstrously good.
With only a minor lapel destruction resulting from my hasty consumption of the item, my dry-cleaner was pleasantly surprised. The soft meatballs were absolutely delicious and the lightly crisp roll ideal for coping with the saucy filling. The slightly melty cheese was lovely. I was impressed.
So overall, Café Bellina will do you a good breakfast roll, but it’s the lunchtime sandwiches that should prompt you to visit. I was very impressed and look forward to many future battles between my ties and their sandwich fillings. Make sure to stop by next time you’re in the neighbourhood.
Blythe scores Cafe Bellina
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14.5/20
I ate: egg and bacon roll; meatball sandwich
I wore: late season linens
Total bill: £2.50; £4.20
Address: 33 Elm Row, Leith Walk, Broughton, Edinburgh EH7 4AH