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Ostara Café
52 Coburg Street,
city of Edinburgh,
0131 261 5441
Sun-Thurs 9am-3.30pm, Fri/Sat 9am-10.30pm (last orders 8pm)

There is a reason why Ostara won Best Newcomer from The List Eating & Drinking Guide 2017/8 and Best Cafe from The Skinny two years in succession. It’s a bloomin’ excellent neighbourhood eatery. So I was excited when I heard they were extending their weekend hours to include Friday and Saturday dinner. There’s something for vegans, gluten-free, and if you’re veggie, but prone to a spot of flexitarianism, all the meat is locally and ethically sourced with suppliers acknowledged by name.

One way to reach this out-of-the-way gem is along the Water of Leith path, turning off just before The Shore at Coburg Street. We briskly walked there last weekend, with our wee pug Coco in tow, and our thirst was immediately quenched with a cold-pressed juice The selection changes daily, we had orange, carrot, ginger and turmeric; fresh and bursting with nutrition. The range of alcohol-free drinks must also be mentioned: Leftfield kombucha, Bon Accord softies, Fentiman’s plus numerous Pekoe loose leaf teas and coffee beans from local roasters William & Johnson Coffee Co. The drinks menu also boasts some good beers and a brief, but well-picked wine selection.

Drinks aside, we started with a small plate each. I loved the idea of sourdough bread that took three days to make, served with three dips: olive oil / balsamic, seasonal (for autumn, cress and dill pesto) and homemade dukkah. Husband went for the oak-smoked trout tartare, chunks of flavoursome fish, ginormous capers and crunchy grilled parmesan toast.

From the mains specials, I devoured roasted aubergine with miso, braised shallots, Aberdeen feta and beetroot hummus piled on top of a mint, lemon and sultana tabuleh.  The man chose a manly dish, braised ox cheek and was delighted by the richness and almost chocolately flavour. He even ate all of the kale.

The pacing of a meal is important. I like to feel unrushed, but that there’s always a waiter keeping an eye out for us. The vibe is informal and comfortable, with lounge-ish music at a good level and well-considered lighting.I felt as if I were at a friend’s dinner party.

My most critical observation of Ostara is that it should have been much busier for a Saturday night. It’s off the beaten track, but it’s SO worth the journey.  


(I’m still dreaming about the dukkah).
(T. Griffen)

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