16 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JU, UK
Any first time trip to Edinburgh isn’t complete without a walk to the Grassmarket. Sunken below the castle, it feels like many different areas converge to this point, like a natural meeting point for the city. In Pumpkin Brown, it also has one of Edinburgh’s cutest cafes, with a firm focus on health and wellness. Located beside Dance Base, Scotland’s national hub for dance theatre, and an excellent spot to stuff during the Fringe, Pumpkin Brown cuts an understated figure. Small, stylish, with a couple of outdoor tables and a fridge full of house-made salads, snacks, and bircher pots. Founder Amanda Brown changed her diet to become more health-focused during a period of illness, and has adapted that philosophy into a slick, smart, lunchtime cafe.
The health-focus informs the coffee choice too — Machina Espresso’s Brazilian single estate works particularly well for non-dairy milks, given its lack of acidic flavours. The smooth, chocolatey notes come alive with almond or coconut milk, while having it black gives a more fruity flavour. A “health-food” cafe may not be your first choice, but Pumpkin Brown’s ethos is all flavour, no pretension, and in such a beautiful location, it’s worth the trip.
Review: Harry Harris
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