She Chose Me – A Writer’s Guide to Edinburgh

Today we have a guest post from Tracey Emerson, an Edinburgh and Perthshire based writer, whose links to Lunchquest go back all the way to our very first post when she joined MJ and I at Tapa.

Her debut thriller, She Chose Me, is published by Legend Press today, 15 October. Here she shares some of the Edinburgh food and drink venues that fuel her writing and keep the words coming.

Tracey’s Verdict

When writing the acknowledgments for She Chose Me, I didn’t have room to mention all the great cafés and restaurants that kept me fed and watered during many a long writing spree.

This piece is my attempt to remedy that omission. I only have the word count to mention a few of the eating and drinking spots I love in Edinburgh, so to all the others, my apologies and gratitude. My novel would not have got wrote without you.


I don’t drink coffee, so when in need of a boost to get the inspiration flowing, I turn to hot chocolate and, occasionally, tea. The hot chocolate in Peter’s Yard is a reliable go-to, especially the cardamom flavour.

Fortitude serves it rich and foamy in a jug, Paris style. Coco Chocolatier always hits the mark, but when the writing chips are down, I head for
Hotel Chocolat. It’s worth putting up with the cramped and windowless seating area for the 85% and 100% dark chocolate hit.

As for tea: 10 to 10 in Delhi does an amazing Masala Chai, which has pulled me through some creative slumps. Best of all, it’s served with a free ginger nut! Brew Lab is a top tea spot, purely for the free hot water top-ups they give you. When open, the café at the Signet
Library is a tranquil place to work and serves a superb range of speciality teas.


The Bon Vivant: Dark enough to hide away in. Great wine list and stiff cocktails — their White Lady is a winner. Good for celebrating your writing successes and drowning your creative sorrows.

The Last Word Saloon: Best in winter when the open fire blazes. Cosy with daring cocktails that take you out of your comfort zone.

Pickles: Friendly, welcoming atmosphere, good wines and knockout cheese and charcuterie platters.

Supercube: This karaoke bar is the ultimate cure for writer’s block. A few hours of singing and drinking here will, without fail, get the words and ideas flowing again.


The Edinburgh Larder and Broughton Deli do brunch with substance and style.


I wrote a lot of She Chose Me in the library at The University of Edinburgh and often had lunch up that way. Union of Genius soups got me through the winter of 2015/2016, along with Ting Thai Caravan. Epic sandwiches from Peter’s Yard came in handy too!


The Dogs is a regular haunt I’ve been eating at for years. Not just for the homely, good-value food but also for the inspiring, theatrical atmosphere common to all David Ramsden’s ventures. Rollo is tops for great wine and small, tasty dishes, and The Thai Pavilion remains a comforting favourite.

On the posher side, The Table is a brilliantly conceived night out. I went there a sleep-deprived, strung-out wreck on the verge of submitting my final novel draft to my agent. I left in much better shape, thanks to the spectacular food, great music and the company of strangers.

Written by BKR