Okay, let’s not dilly-dally, we utterly adore Toast: fabulous food, exquisite wine, and some of the best cakes in Edinburgh. No wonder even breakfast can last five hours, and often results in us being terribly, terribly drunk …
A typical Saturday for the Social Bitches begins with a hangover, and is soon followed by a half-hearted attempt to burn off the 10,000 calories we drank the night before. Shortly after that, our thoughts turn to brunch.
Meanwhile a typical Sunday … well … see previous paragraph.
It’s in this vein we arrived at Toast – on The Shore – which, in an incredibly short space of time, has become one of our favourite places to spend the weekend.
Whatever the need – should it be smashed avocado, or perhaps getting a little smashed ourselves – this café come wine bar has us covered. Even better, now summer has finally arrived, it also offers alfresco dining.
The day of our review was indeed a stunner, but we were in a particularly bad state.
Croaky of voice, and virtually paralysed from the eyebrows down, we immediately ordered a Spicy bacon bloody Mary with fat-washed vodka, red wine, tomato & lemon juice and chilli jam.
Now while we’ve been accused, on numerous occasions, of self-medicating with alcohol, this gorgeous drink really does address even the most crippling of hangovers. It’s like magic, but with vodka.
By the second, we were no longer shaking or hallucinating. So now, we thought to ourselves, brunch can finally begin.
Don’t go bacon my heart …
While waiting for our fabulous friends Grant & Virginia to arrive, we placed our standard order of two triple-shot flat whites in regular sized cups.
Moments later … there was a collective intake of breath as myself, the staff, even complete strangers walking their dogs waited for Isaac’s verdict.
He sipped, slowly, then swallowed. He blinked. He paused. He sighed.
“This,” he said very dramatically, “isn’t good …”
A woman screamed, a plate was dropped, our waitress pondered self-harm.
“This,” he continued. “Is fabulous!!”
Well, thank F**K for that we all said, and turned our thoughts to the food.
On the menu you’ll find classic dishes such as eggs benedict and American panackes, but there’s also quite a few surprises:
Like the Huevos Rancheros – smoky chipotle spiced tomato & black bean stew on a corn tortilla with crumbled feat, poached eggs & smashed avocado.
And from the Middle East, Shakshuka – a rich stew of tomato, aubergine, roast pepper, chilli & onion, baked with two eggs and served with sourdough bread.
Both, we know from trusted fellow foodies, are excellent, but we went directly to the Chilli & lime infused smashed avocado on toasted sourdough, with feta & chorizo.
I, being a greedy fat bastard, also added bacon to the mix. Isaac, being even greedier, insisted upon bacon and two poached eggs.
To put it simply, this dish is the perfect creation. So many fresh, tingly, and wonderful tastes to combine, without the heavy feeling of a big breakfast.
What’s more, we were only a few bites in when we suddenly realised we were feeling well enough to drink again.
Wine flies when you’re having fun …
Our favourite tipple, of a brunch-time, is the Casa Da Senra Vinho Verde – which reminds us, quite fondly, of our very alcoholic adventures in Libson. Crisp, light, with notes of green apple and citrus, it’s so very, VERY drinkable.
But once that runs out, [ as it can do when we’re about ] we rely on the sage advice of Toast’s very own sommelier. Her name is Seli, and she is fabulous. Her recommendations are even better. [ BTW Zak the owner is fabulous too ]
With a focus on biodynamaic and natural wines, the theory goes that hangovers are harder to come by. [ We may have to do more research on this one ] Equally as exciting, they sell near on thirty different wines by the glass.
Seli also insisted we try a bottle of the Am Stein Pure & Naked Pet Net. Wow! A sparkling wine renowned for its freshness of flavour and incredible aromatics, we have fallen in love.
Not on the menu just yet, we feel it will be an outstanding addition. The perfect summer drink we say, even though by this point torrential winds had hit Leith, forcing us to relocate to a booth inside.
Life is uncertain, eat dessert first …
Once seated, we of course ordered more wine, and then our thoughts quickly turned to dessert. With huge excitement, Grant, Virginia and Isaac pressed their faces against the glass of the cabinet, and agonised over which was best.
Fortunately, it’s impossible to make a bad decision. Because while the selection is vast, the quality of each sweet is top-notch.
Soon our table was filled, not only with wine bottles, but with Baba Budan’s outstanding doughnuts, and a selection of exquisite tarts – such as pear, raspberry & chocolate – from L’etoile (formerly Patisserie Madeline).
Naturally, they’re all incredible, but … having made countless visits to Toast, I can never resist the Almond and Whisky Cheesecake.
Again, it is a perfect creation. Rich, wonderfully creamy, a biscuit-y base that’s substantial but not too crumbly, and best of all it has alcohol. I am addicted.
Moments later our plates were practically licked clean, and we were pondering yet another bottle of wine. It was then we realised what had started as brunch was now technically dinner.
Fortunately, like many of our friends, Grant & Virginia were not surprised a meal with the Social Bitches could take this path.
So, while hunger isn’t something we’ve truly experienced since the nineties, we felt compelled to order the sharing platter with cured meats, three cheeses, olives, sourdough & homemade chutney. Sublime, especially the chutney.
But perhaps the best thing on the menu – and that’s really saying something here – is the Chorizo pate. So good!!
Our first bowl disappeared in seconds, the next suffered a similar fate. It was a discovery that – surprise, surprise – called for more wine, and a toast to Toast.
We raised our glasses and happily declared “F**k it, let’s never leave!”
In a pre-theatre nutshell:
Leith Theatre 8 minute walk / Leith Depot 14 mins
Breakfast, Brunch / Wine / Sharing Platters / Dessert
Breakfast, Brunch £6 – £9 / Sharing platters – £17 – £19
65 The Shore
0131 467 6984