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The Scottish Cafe
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The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant
The Scottish National Galleries,
The Mound,
City of Edinburgh,
0131 225 1550

Jam or cream first

The perennial question. Lea goes for a smear of jam whilst I rock the boat with a dollop of cream. I am not going to argue about it – it’s my way or the highway!

We are enjoying what Lea deems that most civilised of meals The Afternoon Tea and what the Duchess of Bedford stated "fills the gap between lunch and dinner.”

With the Caravaggio exhibition opening later that evening (the café is in the National Gallery on the Mound) and a vista of Princes Street Gardens and North Bridge you really can’t get much more urbane.

We are of course in The Scottish Café bought to Edinburgh courtesy of Victor and Carina Contini. So what can a couple of Italians add to this quintessentially British repast.

Quality of produce of course. The name Contini has become virtually synonymous with quality ingredients in Edinburgh and a map of Scotland and The Scottish Café’s suppliers greets you at the entrance. Their website lists their 48 current suppliers.

Half a strawberry tops both of our scones, sourced from The Strawberry Shop in Perth. I have been scoffing strawberries from my garden for a week or so now, so can confidently vouch for the top juicy flavour of these beauts. Give me one half of one of these over a punnet of dreaded supermarket Elsanta, or their like, any day.

If strawberries are the fulcrum on which this summer Afternoon Tea turns, voluptuous smoked salmon on a homemade cheese scone with a sprinkle of petit pois sets the scene.

These were followed by the bottom layer. Nutty seeded bread, thick slices of ham with mustard, sweet morsels of coronation chicken, pickled carrot and piquant gherkin, robustly flavoured cheese.

And on the top – shot glasses of rich lemon posset, moist coconut in a chocolate ball. A seemingly modest macaron is standout – with its combo of white chocolate and aniseed. A square of bakewell tart has expertly judged layers of jam and frangipane, chocolate fudge is fruity, creamy, sweet and rich.

Lashings of orange pekoe and peppermint teas had washed down the lot and tea is included in the price of £32 for two which quite frankly is a steal. Add two glasses of Prosecco for an extra £12. 

A visit to the Caravaggio exhibition followed by Afternoon Tea at The Scottish Café is a must do in Edinburgh this summer.(S. Wilson, pic L. Harris)

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