Saint Giles Cafe & Bar, Edinburgh – dark, cosy and pointless


Saint Giles Cafe & Bar, 8 St. Giles Street, Edinburgh EH1 1PT

Wednesday, 9 am

Black Americano (regular): £2.40

The board outside the cafe promises delicious coffee.  Suffice it to say that my disappointment was the only bitter thing that I experienced in this establishment.  My initial optimism (inspired by no burnt smell) soon vanished at the first sip.  Presumably the barista is also a homeopath because despite the cup being the right size (ie not a thimble and not a Starbucks-sized mug that can also double as a vase or a holiday home for a family of four) the “coffee” was just brown water with no caffeine, no crema and no taste.  I suppose I should have lowered my expectations after my request for a black Americano was met with, “Would you like milk on the side?”  1/10

Beards: 0.5.  One of the baristas had something growing on his face.  It was neither stubble nor a beard.

Computers: None at all.  Maybe no one feels the urge to blog in coffee shops whilst they’re having breakfast.

Decor: The walls, tables and chairs are all made of the same dark wood.  Rather than make the place feel claustrophobic, it sort of creates a cosy atmosphere – even on a bright and sunny morning.

Food: I didn’t look at the food menu, but other customers were tucking into hearty breakfasts or jamming croissants into their mouths sideways.  I have since noticed that reviews of this cafe mention that they serve waffles with maple syrup.  With brie.  Draw your own conclusions from that.

Ambience: The staff were a bit overly jolly and table service seems a bit odd when all you want is a coffee.

Wi-fi: I didn’t notice any.

Toilet: I didn’t notice any.

Summary: A bit of a shame as I really liked the venue, but the coffee was just ridiculously weak.  I actually left wishing I’d had the presence of mind to have had one of the sachets of Nescafe in my hotel room before heading out.  I think this has potential as somewhere to go for food and alcohol.  But not coffee.  Never have the coffee.  2/10 (based on coffee alone).


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