The Circle Cafe and Bakery has the feel of a local brunch joint but is something a bit more special. It's a small, warm and perfectly formed space, seating about 30, with exposed stones, wooden floors, plenty of light and a select menu all made with the freshest ingredients possible. Located right by the Water of Leith and near the Botanics, it joins a number of nearby coffee places to create a wee bit of cafe culture on Brandon Terrace.
Circle Cafe claim that all the food served is made on the premises from scratch daily, with everything sourced as locally as possible and I can certainly believe that. It has been running since 2004 and has good pedigree, being owned by Barry Bryson who opened the Fruitmarket Gallery Cafe. The menu is in the style of a gastro café with an emphasis on fresh produce.
Because of this, their menu is seasonal and they have recently released their spring menu. Highlights include charred halloumi, beetroot and green bean salad (£7.50), spiced chickpea, spinach and butternut squash stew (£6.95) and a king prawn pesto linguine (£9.50). They have a great looking selection of sandwiches too such as cajun spiced steak with jalapeno mayo and tomato salsa, or melted goats cheese, roast red pepper, rocket and homemade chilli jam (all £6.95). It’s a little bit more expensive than your every day café but it’s a nice place to treat yourself considering the quality of the dishes.
Breakfast is served every day from 8:30 (9:00 on Sunday) until 11:30 and so unfortunately due to my sloth like weekends, I have never actually had a breakfast there, although eggs benedict is served as a special all day on Sunday. No bother – the food, coffee and juices are all sufficiently brunch-like for my needs and I decide on one of the specials of the day, king prawn and avocado salad (£7.95) and my brunch companion chose the Thai fish cakes (£7.95) with a side order of fries.
The salad was large with warm pan fried king prawns and thin slices of avocado on a baby leaf salad. This was mixed with sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, green beans, spring onions and large chunks of beetroot. While prawn and avocado is one of my favourite combinations, sometimes less is more with salads and I'm not entirely sure that the mix worked as well as it could have with perhaps a few less ingredients. However it was all clearly of superb quality and the prawns were especially excellent – freshly cooked and juicy.
For afters, there is a selection of pastries and cakes available. The Bakery part of the deal is no small affair – there are artisan breads to buy which sell quickly and the cakes and pastries look amazing, particularly this dark rich chocolate and beetroot cake. However sadly I was a bit too full for something that heavy and so finished off the meal with a carrot cupcake which had a spicy cinnamon kick and just the right amount of cream cheese icing.
The Circle Café does get quite busy on the weekends however it is worth the wait and can be booked if necessary. It’s a great place to have locally that's focussed on consistent quality and with such an inventive seasonal menu.
Circle Cafe and Bakery
1 Brandon Terrace