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Harmonium
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Harmonium
60 Henderson St,,
Edinburgh,
City of Edinburgh,
EH6 6BS
0131 555 3160
Open 12pm–1am

We may be a bit behind hipster towns like Portland, Oregon and Brighton, but it looks like veganism is making its way to Edinburgh. New cafes and restaurants are popping up and their menus are more adventurous than in the good ‘ole days of the ubiquitous mac 'n' cheese or mushroom risotto ‘if you were lucky’. 

Having said that, Harmonium comes from a well established stable; originating with the folk behind bars including Mono and Stereo in Glasgow that have been serving vegetarian and vegan food for a decade or more.

I meet my vegetable-friendly fitness pal Tracy for lunch along with her carnivorous pug Coco who is particularly well behaved as there are no meaty smells to distract her today.
Mushrooms and mac 'n' cheese still figure on Harmonium’s menu and I choose wild mushroom, kale, truffle oil and aubergine 'bacon' rigatoni with walnut Parmesan which I enjoy immensely. There's a sauce to bring it all together made of garlic, white wine and soya cream. Giant ribbed pasta tubes mingle with slippery, tasty shrooms and the smokiness of the crispy aubergine is what earns it the bacon moniker. Flavours are as big as the pasta. 

Tracy plumps for the Harmonium quarter pounder aka a homemade seitan (wheat gluten) patty with sauce, salad and chips on the side. Seitan has good meaty texture if that is your vegan thing. 
We both would have liked some imaginative non-alcoholic drink options. Colourful smoothies and juices are a treat for the meat free but Harmonium doesn't serve any. Staff are very friendly (especially to Coco) but not one hundred per cent on all the ingredients that comprise each dish (note: vegans tend to be fussy eaters, it comes with the territory). 

Puddings looked good and I had the peach and rhubarb cobbler with soya cream. It was seriously fruity and homely. We noted and appreciated the presence of a vegan cheese board. 
Harmonium is the current inhabitant of a Leith corner site that has seen restaurants come and go most recently V Deep and Café Fish. This newest incarnation is very much a bar serving vegan food rather than a restaurant and this is reflected in the informal décor and in the menu even though the food can be drool-worthy. 

I hope Harmonium’s casual stance is an ingredient for its success as I enjoyed my meal and look forward to returning. It is however a difficult site and to have staying power you need to be aware of who is coming up behind you.  (S. Wilson) 

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