Back in August, myself and fellow blogging comrade KK (whose photos I have appropriated for this blog post, FYI) were invited to try Hemma’s brunch menu for the first time. I’m sure you all remember me waxing lyrical about the unforgettable Eggs Brando, and if you don’t, here’s a reminder – IT IS EXCELLENT (no I won’t make that tired old pun. So don’t tempt me. Ok fine. IT WAS EGGCELLENT) and you must try it.

So when we were invited back to sample the restaurant’s new additions to the menu, we quite literally ran into the place. Joining fellow bloggers Leanne, i.e., L’appetite foodie and the girls from Edinburgh Food Club, we sat down to an array of foodstuffs I can only describe as positively saliva-inducing.

First off, we had a couple of sharing plates. The first was a simple but tasty mini bread tower with mixed olives, red pepper pate and pea and avocado smash.

The other sharing plate had fishcakes, mushrooms on toast and terrine (which I didn’t try as I have an inexplicable mental block about it and can’t eat it, but it seemed to be pretty popular!). Lastly there were molten wedges of deep-fried brie, served with cranberry sauce.

Yes, it was as good as it sounds. I have in fact been returning to that brie in my dreams for many nights since. Joking, joking. Okay maybe like once or twice.

So although Hemma does a great range of healthy foods, including salads and vegan/gluten-free dishes, I of course chose a less healthy but more glorious Croque Madame. I am obsessed with these things. Especially when they’re done well – and I’m pleased to report back that Hemma has indeed ticked that box.

In case you’ve been living under a rock until now, a Croque Madame is the piece de resistance (imo) of traditional French bar cuisine, and is basically a ham and cheese sandwich covered in bechamel sauce and crowned with a fried egg. It can also be referred to as the Meal of Hungover Dreams.

I mean just look at it.

KK went for the avocado, pea and mint smash on brown bread with crumbled feta on top. It may be more photogenic than mine but I think the two performed pretty equally in terms of taste and textures. (Getting a bit giddy poring over these photos again…)

I imagine at this point in the post you’re starting to worry we won’t have room for dessert. Well let me allay those fears, dear reader.

Champs that we are, we fitted in an array of delicious sweet treats, including vegan chocolate brownie (yum), carrot cake (yummier) baked vanilla cheesecake (ooooft, so good) and a new one for me – “Kladdkaka”, a Swedish cake whose name translates to English as “sticky cake”. It’s made with chocolate and served with caramel sauce. So of course it got a 10/10 from me.

Finally, we were treated to one of Hemma’s new range of winter cocktails. I can’t remember the name of ours, but basically it was (heroically) modelled on the taste of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. We expected it to be really rich and creamy but when it arrived it was transparent and tasted absolutely gorgeous. The fact it wasn’t really heavy was potentially dangerous, as I could’ve quite happily sunk half a dozen of those bad boys.

Thanks, Hemma, for another beautiful meal, and the welcome opportunity to escape a few hours of the day in your cosy, homey, delicious surroundings.

If you haven’t checked them out yet you are, quite frankly, mad.

We will be back v.soon….

Skål!

Follow:

Sweden has always been on my visiting hit list, but it remains a country my heavy heart has not yet made it to. However, it is my good fortune that I live in Edinburgh, which has been the receptacle of a Scandi takeover for some years now.

The culprit behind Scandi-gate? Swede Anna Christophersen and her husband Mike, who together run Akva, Sofi’s, Joseph Pearce’s, Boda and Victoria. I love all of these places individually, but today’s blog post is about one I hadn’t visited until very recently…. The glorious Hemma.

Hemma – meaning ‘home’ in Swedish, is the perfect marriage of name and concept. Located at the bottom of Holyrood Road, this gorgeous venue is spread out over two spacious floors. On the bottom floor, you’ll find various cosy little corners with mismatched furniture, and huge windows the length of one side. The spiral staircase in the centre of the floor leads up to shelves filled with books, antique lights, lots of plants and vintage-style decor.

While I always appreciate a well thought-out aesthetic, myself and fellow blogger (and honourary Swede) KK, had a much more urgent mission: to see what the new brunch menu was all about.

There are quite a few options, so we sought the advice of our lovely waitress, and together decided on three things: Eggs Brando, the full vegetarian breakfast and a sweet potato and lentil salad.

Let me tell you a thing or two about each.

VEGETARIAN BREAKFAST 
Veggie haggis, poached eggs, veggie sausage, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and hasselback potatoes and toast

Although I’m not a veggie, I’m not a humongous meat eater either and quite often choose veggie options because they look the most appealing to me.

Hemma’s veggie breakfast did not disappoint: everything tasted amazing and the veggie haggis in particular was beautiful. Traditional breakfast food can sometimes be dry and tasteless, but this was all TYdelicious and the textures worked together really well (after my second sausage, perhaps slightly too well…)

 

 

 

EGGS BRANDO

Sweet potato scone with scrambled eggs, feta, chilli and honey

This dish was something I can only describe as a palatable epiphany.  Oh my God. Seriously. One of the best brunch dishes I’ve had the fortune to consume.

A hardy Scottish food, the tattie scone normally takes on the role of the accompaniment. Kind of like the best friend in a movie, tattie scones are often only there to complement its other breakfast plate pals. So to experience it stepping up to the plate (hoho) and taking that leading role for itself was something of a revelation to me – and ooooft did it perform well.

 

I’d never think of mixing this particular combination of things together (though I’m not a hugely adventurous cook so this is probably not overly surprising) but it worked together like an absolute dream. I can say fairly certainly it’s the dish that will feature heavily in any of my future brunch visits to Hemma. Srsly. Go try it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slow roast tomato, sweet potato and lentil salad
With asparagus, toasted pine nuts, feta, chorizo, rocket and basil dressing

This is the perfect salad for any time of the day, and for any season. The sweet potato and lentil bulk it up so it doesn’t leave you feeling unsatisfied (nothing worse than salad sadness, amirite). The pine nuts and feta are a winning combo, and the chorizo gave it hemma salad 2that added spice so it wasn’t at risk of any blandness. Fab. Yoo. Luss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course it wouldn’t be an indulgent brunch without a splash of alcohol… assume your positions, Bloody Bodas.

Made with the same base ingredients as a traditional Bloody Mary (tomato juice, Worcester sauce, tobasco, salt and pepper) – the Bloody Boda has a Swedish twist. Instead of vodka, the drink is made with Aquavit, Sweden’s national spirit. Although I’d been warned Aquavit is somewhat of an ‘acquired’ taste, the Bloody Boda tasted absolutely delicious, proving itself as the perfect accompaniment for our brunch medley.

 

Want to experience the brunch of dreams for yourselves?

Find them at 73 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh.

Follow them on Instagram at @hemmabar or check out their website.

Follow:

With a prime spot on the shore, a (potentially) sun-drenched beer terrace and highly Instagrammable outdoor seating, The Salvation certainly has an aesthetic that commands attention. I’m invited along for a spot of feeding and watering to see if its dishes match up to its design. View Post

Follow:

It could be that I’m just getting old, but these days I definitely get more excited about eating at a table than dancing on one. (Though if a weekend can incorporate both then it’s a hands down – or up, however you wanna boogie – winner.)

Like an anti-Trump ralley, the Six Nations rugby or the husky tones of Bob Marley, brunch is one of those things that just brings people together. As soon as anyone mentions the word, you just know your day’s on the incline.

So, as we slide serenely into the Easter weekend, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite little spots for this inbetween-y magical eating time. I’ve sampled many such spots around Edinburgh, but for the sake of retaining your interest and bigging up the ‘hood, here are my favourite Leith bruncheries. View Post

Follow:

 

Scandinavia is having a big moment. First it infiltrated our roads (the stoic Volvo), then our living rooms (two words: Poang chair). Now it’s on our televisions, in our bellies (their pastry game is just too strong damnit) and – with the rise of the somewhat middle-class trend of chasing “Hygge” – it’s even begun to inform our psyche.

Edinburgh, and Leith in particular, has become home to various Scandi bars and cafés over the past few years. So it seems only right to dedicate a blog post this Tuesday to my favourite Nordic eating and drinking spots in our almost-Nordic capital. View Post

Follow: