Restaurant review: Brew Lab Artisan Coffee Bar, South College Street

IN THE midst of the Old Town, with queues usually pouring out of the door, Brew Lab is a reasonably recent venture.

Created following four years of research and planning it is a hub for students throughout the day.

With stripped back walls and furniture it is typical of independent artisan cafes popping up in Edinburgh. Walking in you are met with a wonderful aroma of fresh coffee and happy chatter.

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Going in for lunch with a friend one day we were lucky to secure a table on the comfiest leather sofas around.

Ordering from the blackboard, we chose a pastrami sandwich and a goat’s cheese sandwich (£4.50 each). Collecting our bottle of water from the end of the bar we took our seats. Unfortunately the goat’s cheese had been sold out for a few hours which we only realised when a tofu alternative arrived. Not a fan of tofu, we decided to share the pastrami and treat ourselves to a cake after. The pastrami came in a baguette, a delicious mixture of pickles, swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Crunchy and packed full of flavour, we are both going to try to recreate it at home.

Returning to the counter, we ordered a fresh mint tea (£2.40) and a long black coffee (£2.20) with their house roast. Coffee beans change regularly and there is always a variety available. If you are a coffee lover, you should go even if it’s just for a coffee.

We also couldn’t resist the carrot cake (£3.60). The softest moist sponge was sandwiched between cream cheese icing. However, thankfully, as opposed to many other cafes, the cake ratio outweighed the icing. Utterly delicious.

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Full of students, this may not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you think that might put you off, don’t let it. There is a good mix of clientele and either way the food and coffee are worth a visit.

• Brew Lab Artisan Coffee Bar, 6-8 South College Street. 0131 662 8963.