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Hemma
75 Holyrood Road,
Edinburgh,
EH8 8AE
0131 629 3327
Opening hours – winter (October to March) Sun 10am-8pm Mon 11am-8pm Tues-Wed 11am-9pm Thurs 11am-12am Fri-Sat 11am-1am
It’s deceptive. From the outside, Hemma may come across as a tad office-y, the cafe-slash-bar located in a glass-fronted building towards the Arthur’s Seat end of Holyrood Road. But wander inside and the space immediately makes you feel at home. Expedient, really, considering the restaurant’s name is literally Swedish for "at home”.  
 
Board games (Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium) are stacked on top of the cabinet flaunting eat-me-now carrot cake and cinnamon and cardamom buns. Squishy couches lounge around the restaurant, inviting you in, while fairy lights and hearts line the stairs leading to the upstairs mezzanine level. A foosball table decorated with Che Guevara and Marilyn Monroe stickers waits for players. In better weather, you can sit outside with a flat white made using Johan & Nyström beans. 
 
This is one of six restaurants from Swedish owners Anna and Mike Christopherson, having opened in the Tun Building back in May 2012 – other ventures include Boda Bar and Victoria, both on Leith Walk. 

During the day, the cafe is a casual, relaxed space to take the kids for French toast, evolving into a bar in the evenings for a Swedish spritz (aquavit, Prosecco, lime juice, and sugar), mulled wine or Guinness. As general manager Lauren King explains, this is a place where you could "pop in for a quick coffee” or "get comfy on one of the couches, order amazing food and drinks, and stay all day.” On Friday evenings, the DJ creates a different, party vibe. "Our DJ starts at 6pm and never plays the same set,” says Lauren.
 
The menu itself features small plates (dips, olives and toasted bread), platters to share, vegan and gluten-free options, sandwiches – we’re side-eyeing the croque madame here – and constantly evolving mains, including burgers and mushroom bourguignon. 
 
"Our menu focuses on some Swedish favourites such as pickled herring and hasselbacks,” says Lauren. "Our food is sourced locally and is healthy and green, with a lot of vegetarian options.” Have a look at the menu by clicking here. 
 
PS you must try the kladdkaka, Swedish chocolate cake with caramel sauce. The diet can start on Monday … 

 

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