Speaking of Edinburgh, I have to tell you about a little hidden cafe my daughter and I stumbled into.
We were looking for a coffee shop where we could warm up our hands and find a bite to eat, but wanted to stay away from the big chains which seem to be on every corner. We almost missed the little yellow sign at the top of Chalmers Close, but I spotted it out the corner of my eye just before we passed by.
What a treat! We had found Forsyth’s Tea Room, which is the exact opposite of the big chain coffee shops.
Meet Mrs. Forsyth.
She has owned the tea room for eighteen years, and has run it by herself ever since. She told us that it was built in the 14th century, and was a pub before she bought it. She didn’t know how long it had been a pub, but it seems that it was most likely centuries. It took her years to get the smell of smoke out of the rafters, but now it smells like cake and tea. Some time before its life as a pub, it was the home of a Bishop, and a periwig maker before him.
She hand crocheted the sugar bowl covers, and makes the tea cozies herself, and she often quietly sings Scottish songs while she’s working.
She serves a full menu of breakfast and lunch items, cakes, biscuits and scones. I can tell you that her carrot cake is fantastic, and so rich that my Girl and I could barely finish a piece between us. So good!
The inside of the shop is so unexpectedly charming after coming off the busy, and touristy Royal Mile that we were completely surprised and happy to stay for nearly an hour as we warmed up and enjoyed our drinks. I hear she serves a fantastic cup of tea, but we opted for a hot chocolate and a mocha. Both were better than any other cup we’ve had in Edinburgh so far.
If you find yourself in Edinburgh on the Royal Mile, keep an eye out for this tiny yellow sign on the north side of the street about half way up. The shop is just steps off the main road, and in a while different world.