The White House Kitchen Café – A Hidden Gem in the Heart of Craigmillar
I feel extremely guilty! I have no idea how it happened! How did I not know about it? Why didn’t anyone tell me? After all I drive by it at least once a week and have done for the past *TWO* years.
I am, of course, talking about the wonderful art deco building at Craigmillar. This community hub has one of the best little cafés in the area; dare I say *the* best!
Yes I can and the reason is …
… The White House Kitchen Café is an amazing hidden gem that needs more recognition.
On one jaunt, scooting through the area, I decided that once I got home, I’d look it up on the net. I didn’t hold out much hope and was expecting run of the mill fare. Oh my dear readers I feel so ashamed for dismissing this wee jewel for so long. Was it because of the area it’s in? A phrase I use a lot came and smacked me in the face – ‘Never judge a book by its cover!’
What I found on their website was a menu that goes all out to provide homemade bread, in-house hot smoked salmon, vegetables grown in their own tiny garden and kale from the community garden at the Jack Kane Centre. I was in awe, humbled and dying to go visit.
Accompanying me on our first jaunt (one of many, I hasten to add), is the long-suffering BOGG (Big Ol’ Grumpy Git). We sit in the surprisingly bright space with its jauntily colourful stripy tables and struggle to plump; there is so much to choose from.
Finally we stroll to the counter and place our order.
A hearty mushroom and rocket soup for him with a hefty wedge of the homemade bread and I settled for my second choice (they had run out of pulled pork) of a braised beef burger.
Delivery is swift and although the rocket was lost in the deeply mushroomy soup, it is gorgeous.
Not what I expected at all (but I did wonder how a braised burger was going to work), a homemade burger bun (very similar to a brioche bun) stuffed with slow braised pulled beef.
Yea gods, I’m blown away. Served with a bowl of Cajun spiced hand-cut fries, red slaw and a salad – all for the princely sum of £5.25! Soup at £2.25 is a bargain too.
With daily specials as well, the food offered is gobsmacking.
Richard Paton is the GM/chef at the helm here and boasts Perth chef, Graeme Pallister of 63 Tay Street as his best mate. He has had the pleasure (dubious or otherwise) to work with one of Edinburgh’s best-loved chef’s, Neil Forbes of Cafe St Honore. So not only does the food at the White House Kitchen Cafe have provenance, but so does its chef!
To use that famous movie quote – I’ll be back!
Actually, I’ve been back several times, taking The Daught (a fussy eater at best) and she raved about the Mac ‘n’ Cheese with garlic bites (£4.75). Very good scones at £1.25 (homemade jam would be great), washed down with Illy coffee – a double shot cappuccino is less than £2.50. The hot smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich is packed with fish, a tad underseasoned but a sprinkle of salt remedies that minor glitch. I don’t know anywhere in Edinburgh where I would pay £2.55 for a sarnie of this quality.
I have also discovered that they do a Saturday Brunch and there is the possibility, if Richard and his team haven’t eaten it, of White House cured bacon!
Oh and I have to thank him for giving me a foolproof Yorkshire pudding recipe. I’ve struggled for decades with this and now my puds rise majestically in the oven, to the extent I have to put the tin on a lower shelf otherwise the top scorches on the top element!
Face Book : The White House Kitchen Cafe
The White House Kitchen Café
70 Niddrie Mains Road
Telephone 0131 468 1934
Open : Mon- Fri 8am-4. and Sat 10am -2pm
(c) Lea Harris, Off the Eaten Track, 2015