Artisan Coffee has recently opened on the corner of Balfour Street and Leith Walk. This follows a successful first branch at Meadowbank. It’s a place with strong Turkish influence both in terms of ownership and menu.
I’d visited the first branch and hated the coffee which is problematic for a place called Artisan Coffee. It didn’t seem like writing a review would be helpful. I thought I’d likely find the same issues here, but was prepared to take a different approach if I did.
As with the first branch, the premises have a compact feel with a simple counter set up and a range of seating options.
The counter is bedecked with tempting looking baked goods across sweet and savoury options. Once I’d verified that the coffee was indeed bitter as hell and extremely sad, my attention turned to these food choices.
I plumped for the spinach and feta borek which looked very elegant. This was heated to order on a sandwich press and came accompanied with some salad leaves, coleslaw and hummus.
I was soon on my way, eating as I strolled in the cool sunshine. I started with the salad which was simple and tasty. The hummus was notably good.
The borek was quite splendid. It was in the style on concentric spiralling circles of generously filled, lightly crisp pastry. It was a very good wedge of the round that I’d been served and it was deeply satisfying. It’s the best borek I can remember eating outside Istanbul.
There remains the problematic issue of the name and the coffee, but essentially I’ve taken the view that the baked goods are so good that the bad coffee should largely be ignored. I think a name change would be helpful to focus on where their strength clearly lies, but I suspect that particular ship has already sailed.
So overall, Artisan Coffee is a friendly, high quality purveyor of baked goods. Go and sample their excellent borek. Their baklava also looked impressive. Reconcile yourself to the fact that their name is a misnomer and bask in the glory of the good things they do.
Blythe scores Artisan Coffee
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 15/20
I ate: spinach and feta borek, salad
I drank: espresso
I wore: shaggy beard
Total bill: £6.60
Address: 274 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 5EL