Eatery Hopping: Leo's Beanery, Edinburgh (& Sentimentality)

I love yoga. Like, love love it. And I also love love cafés and coffee shops. Therefore, it should come as no great surprise that I really, really love the café directly underneath my favourite yoga place.

In fact, the winning combination of a class at Tribe Yoga followed by a little something something at Leo's Beanery is so joyous that it took up a considerable number of precious seconds in my one-minute-max video for Le Cordon Bleu's scholarship competition. (I mentioned in the video, and I shall repeat here: their brownies are award-winning (as am I, coincidentally (therefore their brownies and I make a great pair, right?)))

hazelnut chocolate brownie, Eatery Hopping: Leo's Beanery, Edinburgh,

There is one thing I find particularly interesting about how much I love Leo's. (Sentimental anecdote alert.) It's towards the Stockbridge end of Howe Street in Edinburgh, just a matter of minutes walking in a straight line from Princes Street in the very centre of town. My lovely grandfather used to live on Howe Street too, only a couple of doors down from Leo's. He would go there, without fail, every single day, and spend all the time in the world chatting to the people who worked there, who knew him by name.

By no means was Grandad the world's speediest or most efficient conversationist, but he had a fair few amusing tales up his sleeve and they were always more than happy to listen and enjoy his company. In fact, they became so fond of him that when news reached them that he, quite unexpectedly, wouldn't be popping in every day any more, they offered to cater for his memorial service, and took particular note of his most favourite thing that he always went for - 'squashed flies' (also called fly cemeteries, or a plain old date slice if that puts you off..).

At this point, I had never actually been to Leo's, despite living about half a second away (not quite) for almost my entire life. And now I go there at practically every opportunity. They're even making Mum's birthday cake. (Only a couple of weeks! I'm so excited. Mum, if you're reading this - your presents are SO COOL. Anyway.)

The other part of why this is interesting to me is because it was actually Grandad's sudden leap into the limelight in March of last year that prompted me to share my blog with the big wide world. Until then, it had been entirely secret and I quite literally did not breathe a word about it to anyone. I didn't really know what to do with myself, so I wrote A Letter To Grief, shared it on Facebook, and then kind of.. continued writing. And now here we are. So thanks, big G. I owe you, big time.

Sentimental anecdote: finito. Let's talk about the FOOD.

cappuccino, Eatery Hopping: Leo's Beanery, Edinburgh,

This particular visit to Leo's was excellent on many counts. Chum catchups for one, and a nice table by the window for another (thanks most prompt (and thus table-choosing) chum for the consideration of good lighting!!!). Plus, group catchups means more things to take photos of.

On the table we had an award-winning chocolate brownie, a gluten-free hazelnut brownie, and a (non-award-winning (though it could be) and quite possibly gluten-filled) slice of toasted coconut bread. Plus drinks.

There was also something else which arrived slightly later along with the fourth amigo, who also arrived slightly later, but I can't remember what it was other than the fact that it looked great. Really though, everything from here is great so it doesn't even matter. 

award-winning chocolate brownie, Eatery Hopping: Leo's Beanery, Edinburgh, chocolate brownie, Eatery Hopping: Leo's Beanery, Edinburgh, coconut bread, Eatery Hopping: Leo's Beanery, Edinburgh,

Everyone confirmed that their respective choices were amazing/delicious/wonderful/marvellous/fantastic/incredible etc., and they certainly all looked it, but I can only speak for mine: the coconut bread.

This coconut bread is brilliant. It's dusted with icing sugar on top, and cut into really thick, generous slices, and then lightly toasted and served perfectly cosy with a little pat of butter. Being someone who has had a lifelong dislike of butter, despite what a buttercup under the chin may say, it really says something for the yumminess of this coconut bread/toast (broast? ted?) that it's actually extremely enjoyable with butter on it, too.

I'm not usually one to repeat food orders on multiple visits, but this is so (almost surprisingly) tasty that I thought it warranted a second go, for the sake of a photo if nothing else.

toasted coconut bread, Eatery Hopping: Leo's Beanery, Edinburgh,

While I don't tend to repeat food orders, I will happily repeat drinks. I'm not a humongous coffee drinker (I maintain that the frothy milk is the best bit), so my options are ever so slightly narrowed by that. My drink of choice in most establishments is a chai latte, and before you roll your eyes and think how very typical that is, the chai latte in Leo's is so far-removed from a chain store chai latte that they don't even get invited to the same family gatherings.

This one is a homemade loose-leaf brew, with the leaves in the infusey bit of a teapot and steamed hot milk in the main body of it (I really don't know teapot terminology), and comes with a little dish of honey to add sweetness to the tea at your own discretion. This massively appeals to the child in me and takes me back to being about four years old and making 'potions' in the bath out of empty bubble bath and shampoo bottles. The difference being that this one tastes really quite fab. And its creation is a little more refined.

cappuccino, Eatery Hopping: Leo's Beanery, Edinburgh, latte, Eatery Hopping: Leo's Beanery, Edinburgh,

What's more, if you're not a chai latte/hot chocolate/anything else kind of person, I have it on good authority that their coffees are also superb. And the latte art is nothing short of stunning.

I've also been here for breakfast, and can absolutely recommend the homemade granola which comes with Greek yoghurt and a delicious fruit compote (which was brilliantly zingy and definitely contained blackcurrants, but I'm not sure what else..). Dad, aka Porridge Connoisseur of the Entire World, who was breakfasting with me, positively sang the praises of the 'steamy Scottish porridge with stewed spiced apple', and dived in before I could get a decent tablescape photo. (Not that I blame him - 'steamy' porridge is certainly best enjoyed when still steamy.)

The takeaway message here is basically that Leo's is great and if you have the chance to go, you should. They cater extensively for gluten-free, dairy-free and other things-free diets, so there will most certainly be something for everyone. I'm super keen to go for lunch to try one of their savoury menu items soon, and also feel there would be something ineffably lovely about sitting for a while with a good book and a date slice.

*All photos in this post are mine. If you wish to use any, please ask my permission and credit me!*
As always, all photos are click-to-enlarge.

chai latte, Eatery Hopping: Leo's Beanery, Edinburgh,


  1. I felt myself feeling all kinds of warmth and fuzziness throughout this whole post - your turn of phrase is truly delightful! I hope to be able to adventure to Leo's someday. I hope you're well and, as always, am avidly awaiting your next entry :~)

    1. Oh that's so lovely, thank you! Yes absolutely, Leo's is well worth a visit. Hope you're well too!

  2. Lovely post!
    Izzy |

  3. The Beanery is indeed well worth a visit. Not only Grandad-friendly but child-friendly with a play area, lovely big tables and excellent food. The staff are cheery, efficient and professional, and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. The Grandad in question was my father and the Beanery became a household name. Thank you.

    1. Completely agree on everything. Loads of love and hugs.


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