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  • Writer's pictureTracy Griffen

From pan to scran

Joppa Rocks

There’s an unusual trend sweeping the UK – Councils closing public toilets and selling them off as assets. A convenient location for an eatery, perhaps. ‘Canny conversions’ is the theme for my recent Edinburgh adventure. I was so curious to see inside.

The first visit was to an old favourite pit stop, Joppa Rocks situated at the far end of Portobello Promenade. Ice-creams and (strong) coffee are available from the outside counter. Indoors, a stunning view of the sea, and loos much fancier than previous! Perfect for fish and chips, or an end-of-day seaside seafood feast.

The Tollhouse, Canonmills

High five to the architects of The Tollhouse, the old Cannonmills building right above the gushing Water of Leith. We visited one early summer evening with sunlight streaming in, super-attentive service and local seasonal dishes bursting with flavour. It was the fancier of the three ex-conveniences we visited, booking definitely recommended.

Herringbone, Abbeyhill

Herringbone started in Trinity, right on Ferry Road, and built a great reputation for being a reliable local eatery. London Road Gardens (at the top of Easter Road) was a notorious gay beat last millennium. Fast forward a number of years and the two places meet as a swish balcony-focused bistro. The menu reflects their third coastal location (North Berwick) with a focus on fresh produce. My seafood chowder was ideal comfort food, probably too big for a starter, I could easily enjoy it alone for lunch. With the Halloumi and Smashed Avocado salad, it made a flavoursome feast. I want to try more of the menu, especially the alcohol-free cocktails, so I will pop back on a dog walk sometime (dogs welcome). Once again, nice loos.

Rosebean Community Cafe is soon to open in the renovated pavilion in Roseburn Park. It’s a lovely wee building in the shadow of Murrayfield Stadium used as a public toilet from 1936 – 1982 then left derelict, now thankfully rescued.

Whilst it’s sad we’re losing our loos, we’re gaining innovative dining destinations, and for the price of a coffee, much nicer places to stop and spend a penny. (T Griffen)

Joppa Rocks - 84 Joppa Road, EH15 2ET - 0131 563 8014

The Tollhouse - 50 Brandon Terrace, EH3 5BX - 0131 224 2424

Herringbone Abbeyhill - 3 Royal Terrace, EH7 5DX - 0131 202 8089

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