Edinburgh diners passing up puddings for coffee

Diners are opting to skip dessert and just have a coffee in Edinburgh. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Diners are opting to skip dessert and just have a coffee in Edinburgh. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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DROVES of caffeine-loving diners are causing a stir in city restaurants by passing on pudding in favour of a pot of coffee.

New figures show Edinburgh restaurant-goers are among the most likely group in the UK to opt for a post-meal brew in place of a dessert.

The OnePoll survey ranked Capital eaters as the second highest dessert deserters, only pipped from the top spot by Brighton & Hove.

However, our caffeine converts are more likely to turn their nose up at a tart than other cosmopolitan cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and even London.

City restaurateur Mark Greenaway, star of the BBC’s Great British Menu, can see why people would choose coffee over a plain pudding, but stands by his dessert selection.

“I’m known for my desserts, it’s one of my signature things.” he said.

“If you’ve come to Restaurant Mark Greenaway and not had one of the desserts, then you haven’t really been to Restaurant Mark Greenaway.

“I’d say 90-95 per cent of my patrons choose to have a dessert, but I think we are an exception because that’s my USP [unique selling point].

“If you had a choice of something like a sticky toffee pudding or a really nice coffee, then you would probably go for the coffee.

“People are a lot more aware now of what types of coffee are out there and if you were going to a restaurant and didn’t have a sweet tooth, then you would choose coffee. But I have to stick by my desserts.”

The research, commissioned by the United Coffee UK & Ireland, found that eight in ten of us would consider going granule over a traditional pudding, with 27 per cent regularly choosing a coffee as our third course when dining out.

It’s also our taste buds and not purse strings influencing the choice, with 68 per cent rating quality and taste as the most important factors in their decision to ditch the dessert.

The coffee revolution is being led by younger patrons, with diners between the ages of 18 and 24 being the most likely to take up the new trend. It suggests the UK is becoming far more influenced by other European countries such as Italy, where it is common practice to enjoy an espresso after meals instead of the traditional British option of a sticky toffee pudding or slice of cheesecake.

Elaine Higginson, managing director at United Coffee UK & Ireland, said “This new research shows that coffee is now giving the traditional dessert option a run for its money!

“Already a nation of coffee lovers, we are starting to see an emerging trend in dining habits – ‘coffee as the new dessert’ is definitely one to watch.”