Moving to a new place is hard, especially after spending most of one’s life very much a local in one of two locations. It helps to find people and places that automatically make a new locale just feel like home, which is exactly what I found at The Edinburgh Larder Café.
The Larder has two locations: the Bistro on Alva St. and the Café on Blackfriars Street. Both are wonderful, feature fresh, seasonal, local food, an amazing atmosphere and, my favorite part of the Bistro, amazing gin and tea cocktails. But while the Bistro is very much a restaurant, the Café feels much more like accidentally finding that your family kitchen was suddenly transported into a little nook in the city.
I should be clear, Larder can hardly be called completely hidden, topping many a best-of Edinburgh list and hold its own following between locals and Fringe festival-goers alike. During busy hours and peak times of the year, it was not uncommon to walk in and find a long wait, or them to be near-sold out of everything offered that day. Additionally, the densest brownies on Earth, and possibly the best scones in the world (sorry, Devon and Cornwall) draw their own crowd.
I found the Larder Café because a friend of a flatmate talked up the scones and the cream tea. I kept going back not because of the scrambled eggs, the amazing lattes, the Thistly Cross cider, any number of soups and cakes and treats, or even the brownies. I kept going back because of the people who worked there. No matter how stressed, homesick, or just absolutely down I was, no matter how tired or sick I was, I was guaranteed to leave very full and much happier. I’m not someone who likes to eat alone, but I went there by myself (as well as with friends) all the time because I always had company there. In a way, the Larder Café is really what caused me to not only fall in love with the city but also to really feel like Edinburgh was my home in a way that few places have ever felt.
So, if you head to the Athens of the north, put both the Café and the Bistro on your list and save plenty of room. Eat the brownies, have a cream tea, and definitely try the scrambled eggs with the chai tea or a mocha. But when you are in the café, definitely just put away the technology, sit back, and enjoy the opportunity to make new friends over good food and drink, and feel at home even when on the road.