Russian Passion is positioned on the corner next to the petrol station at Canonmills and I have been trying to go for a few weeks, but had never seen it open in my free time. On New Years’ Day I headed for a walk through the Botanics and thought I would see if it would welcome me with Russian food for my first meal out in 2010 and I am pleased to say that it was open.
The cafe is very small, with only 3 tables, but makes it perfect for cosy conversation with your dining friends, or indeed the staff, which is the option I chose.
I was led through the menu which is traditional Russian dishes and are cooked on the premises every morning before opening at 11am. The owner was very keen to point out that everything was organic and completely fresh despite being a public holiday.
I opted for some Borsch (beetroot soup) £2.50 sit in, with a side of Piroshky (potato and mushroom pie) £1.80 sit in. My dining partner opted for the Borsch as well.
It was explained to us that the soup would take a little time to heat up as they do it on the cooker and don’t use a microwave. The owner gave us a sample of their wonderful salad to try whilst we were waiting, free of charge.
The potato salad was outstanding for such a simple dish. Perhaps it was due to the potatoes being finely chopped, or the wonderful tangy mayonnaise and herbs. The beetroot salad/vinigret was also divine and both reasonably priced at £2.40 for a stand alone dish or served over a baked potato.
Whilst we were waiting, we got talking with the owner and she explained to me that she came from Moscow and it has changed a lot since I visited in the 1990s. Conversation with the staff was optional, it was me who continued to probe her about Russian food and life and what had brought her to Edinburgh.
Our Borsch was served steaming hot and I savoured every spoonful trying to work out what flavours were sending my taste buds into overdrive.
My mushroom and potato piroshky was also delicious, but the bread is of the sweeter variety, and works well with the finely chopped potatoes and mushrooms.
The soup and pie hit the mark on such a cold winter’s day. There is a good choice of traditional Russian desserts and I got the owner to recommend her favourite to me, which was a daily special. Not wanting to lose out on this freshly made cake, I immediately ordered a portion. What a way to kick start 2010 with this beauty!
It was a variation of a vanilla slice, but had been hand made with ten layers of pastry between the cream. It was easy to eat with a fork which glided through this magical creation without any mess as my dining partner looked on with envy.
We finished our lunch with a traditional Russian coffee and traditional tea, which are both served with lemon and no milk. Normal organic tea and coffee are available.
Seeing that I was an afficionado of all things sweet when I probed her about her other desserts having just consumed a large piece of cake, the owner kindly gave me a sample of Russian ‘Fancy Cake, potato’.
This is a picture of my sample slice, it normally comes in the shape of……well, a small potato I suppose and consists of only sweet ingredients (including Baileys cream liqueur). It was extremely rich, but a chocoholics dream. I will definitely be trying this next time I am in. Total cost for lunch was £13.
The owner had no idea I was from Edinburgh Spotlight so I think anyone eating here would get the same wonderful service as she tries to spread the word out about her cafe. I love trying new food and expanding my culinary experiences, and Russian Passion allows me to do both. I imagine you could also practice your Russian language with the owner over a delicious meal, or perfect to just nip in for afternoon tea and cake. Well worth trying out. A stock or Russian food goods are also for sale such as local fizzy drinks and other biscuits and snacks.
You can email for a copy of the menu at firstname.lastname@example.org and also plan a dinner there. The owner will open in the evening for you if a minimum of £30 will be spent ( and BYOB) and will rearrange the tables and add chairs to seat a party of up to twelve people.
Open 7 days from 11am – 3pm only. Telephone 0131 556 9042.
Suitable for disabled ? Yes, it’s on the ground floor with even access and room for wheelchairs.