Surprisingly easy to miss, Leo’s Beanery is tucked down the stairs on Howe Street. With inviting steamed windows, it looked like the perfect retreat from the bitter cold of the winter months.
Sitting down, we were presented with the concise, well-thought-out menus and ordered two flat white coffees to start (£2.20 each).
It proved to be some of the best coffee we have found in Edinburgh.
With the specials board changing daily, we decided to share the paté (£6.95) – duck and brandy – and a cheese and mango sandwich (£5.45) on DoReMi wholegrain bread from the set sandwich list.
We also went for the mug of soup (£1.50), choosing one of each of the two special soups – a coconut lentil, and pea and mint.
The paté arrived on a slate with a mixture of oatcakes and artisan bread and a side salad. It was beautifully smooth and happily the brandy wasn’t overpowering.
We ended up having more paté than bread, a happy quandary in an environment where tighter restrictions on portions are imposed.
The cheese sandwich – a technically boring choice – was anything but when combined with a mango and ginger chutney.
Also served with a side salad and crisps, the oil and vinegar dressings were top quality.
Finally, the soups were good but not the strongest selling point.
Both a touch thin, they lacked flavour but came in a perfect mug for a few mouthfuls of warming soup.
Forcing ourselves to resist the overflowing dessert cabinet, we will certainly be back for tea and some cake.
Quality and comfort seem to be the essence of Leo’s, which extends to the staff. Well worth a visit.
• Leo’s Beanery, 23/4 Howe Street, 0131-556 8403, www.leosbeanery.co.uk