Basement café in Edinburgh's New Town offering coffee, tea, sandwiches and baked goods.
Leo’s Beanery - coffee tea coterie
Reviewed by Irene Brown
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 8:11pm
I’m not sure if Feng shui was used to create the warm and welcoming atmosphere in Leo’s Beanery in Howe Street, Edinburgh but husband and wife team, Joe and Marie Denby, have certainly done something right.
That’s a terrible understatement because they seem to have done everything right! From furniture made from reclaimed pew wood by Joe to their supporting local businesses like Artisan Roast the coffee roaster, George Armstrong the fishmonger, George Bower the butcher, and Ian Mellis the cheesemonger. It sounds like a game of Happy Families, which is another element to this wee gem of an eatery.
The name Leo is Joe’s late Grandfather’s, the menus are overlaid on old photos of Leo and his wife in their prime, Leo’s grandparents in a seaside booth, Joe’s Mum as a wee tot with her Granny and a happy picture of Marie’s ‘beautiful grandparents on their wedding day’. What a lovely tribute to older generations!
The wedding photo is on the tea menu where you can read of the wide range and high quality available, sourced and supplied by the Rare Tea Company. They range from Oolong, White Silver Tip, to Spiced Chai and Builder’s Brew. All tastes catered for, methinks.
A similar range applies to the coffee choice, but it’s the food that really stops you in your tracks. Joe and Marie are passionate about it, and make everything themselves with free range eggs in everything that needs an egg! Only the bread and pastries are bought in from a local bakers’. (Dough –re-mi for the bread).
They have an extensive breakfast menu catering for traditional bacon and eggs as well as more imaginative starts to the day and offer freshly made sandwiches, homemade soup (always gluten free and vegan), quiche of the day, pâté, a hot special, salads and sharing platters for lunch. How does a Sleeping Warrior lamb sausage salad with roasted butternut squash, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts sound? Or hot smoked salmon salad with sweet chilli peppers, cherry tomatoes and spring onion?
Even after all that, it is difficult to resist the home baking that quietly calls “Eat me!” from its glass case. The choice changes, but looks out for the Brownies or Espresso cake!
Leo’s Beanery only opened 16 February 2010 but has already been acclaimed by a variety of journalists. It is a great addition to Edinburgh’s New Town and Stockbridge eateries.