Friday, 19 September 2014

Referendum Night at the Bread Street Brasserie

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

I've written before about the vegan evenings at the Bread Street Brasserie in Edinburgh, but I thought I'd write up another post for this month's event, which I attended along with other members of Edinburgh Vegan Meetup. Of course, tonight was an extra-special night as today was the day that voters across Scotland went to the polls to vote on whether we should become an independent country. I went to vote with a couple of friends at my local polling station in Portobello this morning, adding another three yes votes to the total!

The photo didn't come out brilliantly, so in case you can't see it, Anna is pointing to her Yes badge :)

Once my vote had been cast, there was very little for me to do until it was time to collect in Green Yes A-boards from outside polling stations at the end of the night, so going to the Bread Street Brasserie for their vegan evening seemed like an excellent idea to keep me busy whilst anxiously awaiting for the results to come in. The official announcement of the result is expected at approximately 7am on the morning of Friday 19 September, so I doubt I'll be sleeping much tonight!

Look at this awesome group of lovely people from Edinburgh Vegan Meetup :)

I really wish I could say how wonderful the vegan evening was at the Bread Street Brasserie, but unfortunately it seems to have gone really downhill from the last few times I've been there. I heard from some people in the group that apparently their vegan chef has left to work elsewhere in Edinburgh so perhaps that explains the lack of imagination which went into their menu and the food itself. I mean, really, beans on toast as a starter in a fancy hotel restaurant?!

For a starter, I went for the lightly curried butternut squash soup with toasted almonds and coriander, which was very flavourful but a little watery; comparisons of the bowls served to different members of Edinburgh Vegan Meetup at the meal showed that there was huge variation between the thickness of the soup in each bowl. Some had a really thick, stodgy soup, whilst others had soup that was very thin and watery. Everyone agreed it was very tasty though.

I ended up ordering a falafel burger with sweet potato chips for my main, which was nice but a little lacking in imagination. Whilst I do like a bit of falafel now and then, when I think of fancy vegan dining, a falafel burger doesn't really cut it. The sweet potato chips were nice enough, but the burger was a little dry and bland and, frankly, I couldn't understand why they thought plonking a gherkin on top would be a good idea; but then again, I hate gherkins. And pickles in general, for that matter. So maybe I'm not the most unbiased source!

Dessert was the one course where I really felt that the Bread Street Brasserie had made a good effort and come up with some nice options. I chose the candied satsuma cake with charred satsuma wedges, which was really delicious!

Unfortunately though, the biggest downer of the night was that the Bread Street Brasserie had no vegan wine at all, despite having previously had vegan wines in and listed on the menu for previous vegan evenings. This was received predictably poorly by the group, as we were told that we were welcome to go out and buy vegan wine in a local shop to drink in the restaurant as long as we were prepared to pay a corkage charge of £10 per bottle! It was shocking how ill-prepared they were for their own vegan evening, and especially considering we were a booking of nearly 20 people and there were many people in the restaurant that evening specifically for the vegan menu.

Needless to say, unless they improve their efforts at the vegan evening spectacularly in the future, I won't be going here again, which is a real shame considering how great their food and drink used to be.


  1. Bean on toast?! And charging you £10 corkage when they're sending you out to buy your own wine?! That's madness! Not cool Bread Street!

  2. Thank you for all the work you did on the referendum!!

    1. It was my pleasure and privilege. We might have lost this time, but the work will carry on to make Scotland a fairer, more equal, more peaceful and greener society.

  3. Cathy Corbishley Michel20 September 2014 at 15:36

    What a shame about the drop in quality at the restaurant. It was great when we went there last year. Wonder where the chef went.

    1. I heard a rumour that he went to work at Henderson's.

  4. The rumours are true, though I don't put much input towards the food or recipes in Henderson's, at the moment. I also bake vegan cakes for a cafe in Nicholson street. At the moment it's called Le Cafe Gourmand but is due to be renamed. If you're ever in the area feel free to pop in. I'm sometimes there and would be happy to chat.

    Sorry to hear the vegan nights weren't up to scratch, I hope it improves