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129 Fountainbridge,
0131 290 2500

Cocktail by the canal anyone?

One thing that strikes you at Akva is the size of the venue. Besides the spacious bar area downstairs, there's an upstairs balcony with plenty of seating, as well as a ping pong table. Moreover, there are tables outside overlooking the Union Canal - I have visions of dining alfresco now that Spring/Summer is in sight.

It's more than just a café/bar though with activities like the 'whiff/whaff', Quiz Nights, Hvitfeldtska Chamber Choir and Swedish celebrations promoted in-house.

To be frank, Akva isn't new to me. I have been here for corporate networking events and I must say that the upstairs area lends itself very nicely to a large crowd, while the buffet is always impressive. Akva run a lunchtime offering for £7.50 where you can fill a deli plate with all  you can eat on a weekday lunch 12-2pm, £10 weekends, but we were here for dinner

I had a cold, so the Hot Bjorn Borg cocktail (£7.) caught my eye. The 'Hot' in the title is delivered by the infusion of chillies in the alcohol. Drinks arrived prettily garnished with a chilli pepper spliced on the side and with a wonderful warming kick; a great alternative to a hot toddy.

Akva's menu suits its surroundings - unpretentious with a Scandic twist: mismatched furniture, Nordic boat scenes on the walls and Bob Marley tunes playing in the background.

Next we shared the smoked salmon smorrebrod (£6.50), which arrived with a healthy amount of salmon. The bread of this open sandwich was malty, but I felt the beetroot pickle wasn't sharp enough to cut through the oiliness of the fish or cream cheese.

Comfort food was in order, so Mr H ordered the meatballs (£10.00) and I went for the day´s special, which was chilli con carne (£7.50). Hearty, unpretentious fare that was good value and well executed. Not memorable but then this is not a restaurant it is a bar/café.

We hoped the Kladdkaka chocolate cake (£4.50) would provide a glorious end for our evening. It was served warm with salted caramel sauce and ice-cream. Kladd means gooey, but we didn't get the goo nor felt comforted.

Akva's vibe is good and its unique location makes it a winning destination for a sundowner cocktail by the canal now that Spring is in the air. (C Bailey)


Edinburgh EH3 9QG

0131 290 2500




Open 10am-11pm daily


Connie Bailey runs The Edinburgh Salon where interesting people meet over good food www.theedinburghsalon.co.uk the next event is 24th April or 22nd May. Please check the website


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