Soft Core at Edinburgh Street Food
Edinburgh Street Food, the permanent indoor/outdoor food market that opened in February 2023 has had a planning application (and appeal) for signage rejected. Reasons given included ‘visual clutter’ and ‘ the signage being a potential obstacle to tactile paving for those with impaired eyesight’.
It is left to the media then to trumpet ESF as a destination if passing trade cannot be sufficiently alerted. Happy to do so.
ESF reminds me of the TimeOut Food Market in Lisbon (or closer to home Bonnie & Wild) where people can sit at shared tables and choose different foodstuffs from the various concessions. There is a fast food ambience, but the quality of the fare is very good. Bundits (serving Bao Buns and Korean food) and Junk (Winners of the 2022 Scottish Street Food Awards, British Street Street Food Awards and European Street Food Awards ) both serve similar food to their former and current restaurants respectively.
I visited Soft Core one Sunday (at their invitation) to try their ice cream, cookies and Parisian hot chocolate with Italian meringue. The ice cream is made from scratch with no artificial nasties or premade bases.
I taste the goods blind but research afterwards reveals the pastry chef is Renata Reinsmith who previously worked at the restaurant Otro. For those that remember this West End eatery, you may also recall that it served quality food but had to close during the pandemic. Furthermore, Otro was a sister to New Chapter restaurant which also ticks the boxes of good but sadly closed.
That means that traders Junk, Bundits and Soft Core all benefit from fine dining backgrounds.
I choose a tub of Miso and Caramel Ice Cream with a honeycomb topping first. Different misos have different tastes but are united by umami, that fifth taste found in foods such as mushrooms, and parmesan cheese. I suspect a mild white miso paste is used for the ice cream but it imparts a subtle savoury depth which combines pleasurably with toothsome caramel and honeycomb.
Next, I have some cookies which are served warm and in New York style i.e.gooey and overblown. The size of half a big apple you can choose from flavours like hazelnut and milk chocolate or red velvet with raspberry, white chocolate and a cream cheese filling.
And last but not least I sample the pièce de résistance, and a newly introduced seasonal menu item Parisian hot chocolate with Italian meringue. The thick chocolate gives you a moustache (as it should) while the squidgy meringue is piped on top and then blow-torched for a toffee touch.
Soft Core has credentials supporting its sweet treat offerings. It’s at the Omni Centre and you won’t spot it due to signage but via word of mouth.
Soft Core, Edinburgh Street Food, Greenside Place, Leith Street, EH13AU. Opening times: Sunday - Thursday 11 am - 11 pm 11 and Friday - Saturday 11 am - 1 am.