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Bridgend Farmhouse - Seasonal Food in a Community Setting
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Bridgend Inspiring Growth
Bridgend Farmhouse,
41 Old Dalkeith Road,
EH16 4TE
0131 564 0068

This restored farmhouse stands brilliant white against an azure January sky.  An outdoor area has a pizza oven, workshops and allotments but only a few people are milling about. New Year is a time for repair and renewal.  

How apt, as Bridgend is a community-owned charitable organisation focused on learning, eating and exercise.

I go inside for lunch with Donna McArdle who runs the café.

The space if light, airy and welcoming with splashes of colour from local artwork. I catch Donna between lunchtime service and a meeting with funders. She has set up numerous community initiatives such as  Real Junk Food Project Scotland that is a working partner with Bridgend.

Between mouthfuls, Donna explains that social isolation, engagement and nurturing underpin the ethos at Bridgend. The café is resourced by volunteers who learn cooking and other skills and receive qualifications such as food hygiene certificates.

I choose the chicken salad with butternut squash, spinach, red peppers and tomatoes. The bird is juicy, the squash neither mushy nor too firm. It's a fresh, colourful, seasonal plate of food. Donna has baked potato that's cooked flesh has been scooped out, mixed with goat’s cheese and sweet red peppers. Grated cheese on top, it is returned to the oven until the cheddar bubbles orange and brown and dribbles down crispy skin.

The food we eat is 60% intercepted, that is surplus food that was on its way to landfill or compost. Bridgend uses Fareshare, a scheme that redistributes such surplus food from leading supermarkets but this can often result in a further excess of white sugary goods. Such foods are produced as loss leaders by the shops resulting in waste. 

Donna, however, serves seasonal dishes and so is canny about what fills the cupboards. A network of local suppliers  such as Green City Wholefoods and Bon Accord Drinks help with this. 

Don’t panic though there are still home-baked treats. 

I enjoy a fruity, buttery blueberry, lemon and white chocolate cake cooked by Bite contributor, volunteer and former Great British Bake Off contestant Lea Harris. Donna and team have made springy apple and sultana scones,  raisin and chocolate tiffin and vegan flapjacks. My bill comes to £6.

Bridgend is on the edge of Craigmillar Castle Park and a walk followed by  Sunday Roast beckons. Donna plans to start serving them from March 8.

Meantime pop in to nurture yourself and your community with some tasty food.


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