Cafe Alba at Scottish Home Stores
Although I’d not had much fun at their cafe, the demise of BHS was rather a sad state of affairs. When their signature Princes Street premises were taken on by a tartan tat store it was another depressing day. Their choice to brand themselves as Scottish Home Stores did at least raise a smirk.
I noticed a few weeks ago that they’d opened a cafe on their first floor. This was not where I’d eaten that grim pie under the previous regime but rather to the front of the building where splendid views across the city make up for the lingeringly dull interior set-up.
The new cafe is called Cafe Alba and offers a fairly standard mix of hot and cold lunchtime fare.
I sampled two dishes: their chicken noodle soup and the macaroni cheese.
The soup was the source of some confusion. While a board proclaimed the soup of the day was chicken noodle, there was also a leaflet which made mention of Indonesian chicken noodle broth. The soup was a standard chicken noodle; not a bad effort – packed with croutons – but containing none of the spice palette of Indonesia.
The macaroni cheese arrived looking the colour of cat shit that’s been left out in the sun for a week. It did come with a bright and crisp salad, though, and some rather under-toasted garlic bread.
The mac itself wasn’t terribly warm nor seasoned in any way, but with condiments added it ended up tasting a good deal better than it looked.
So overall Cafe Alba is, I suppose, doing just a little better than the BHS cafe but could still use a good bit of improvement. The counter staff were warm and friendly so that made the experience better than the pervasive doom that dominated last time. I still don’t think it merits a recommendation, but as a cheap hangover buster a plate of their macaroni cheese, ideally consumed while wearing a blindfold, might just about have a function to play.
Blythe scores Cafe Alba
2.5/5 for food
2/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
2/5 for setting
giving an overall 10/20
I ate: chicken noodle soup; macaroni cheese
I drank: water
I wore: pinstripes
Total bill: £8
Address: 64 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2DJ