Edinburgh’s Dean Gallery is an understated gem of a gallery in the west end of the city, close to the larger and more well-known Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. It houses some important modern works, including a large body of Eduardo Paolozzi’s distinctive sculptures and other works, making it well worth a visit.
We’ll cover the gallery itself in a future article. However, this review is for a gem within a gem – Cafe Newton. Run by Ruthvens, who also provide catering at other galleries in the city, Cafe Newton is a small and peaceful (though very popular) facility on the ground floor of the gallery.
Dark wood panels, large windows and mirrors create a light feeling of elegance and charm; whilst the photos of Paolozzi hung high on the walls remind you of the inspirational setting. Small, with around 30 seats, the cafe specialises in coffees and teas and some delicious home baking.
If you’re lucky enough to get a seat (pre-booking is advised at lunchtimes or during peak seasons), the efficient and friendly staff will take your order. Light refreshments (including alcoholic drinks) are available all day; from 12-2.30pm you can also order lunch. Options include salads and sandwiches, as well as daily specials displayed on a blackboard. Having eaten here before, I can vouch for the quality and generous portions of the food – all sourced from local produce and prepared daily on the premises.
This was a morning visit however, so we satisfied ourselves with coffee and the obligatory cake. These are a highlight of the cafe, and some wonderfully tasty and moist choices are available, always including a gluten-free option (important for us, as my partner has a gluten intolerance).
We decided therefore to share the gluten-free chocolate, orange & hazelnut cake, served with a small tub of fresh cream. This was delicious; very moist and rich and without any of the dryness which gluten-free options can sometimes suffer from. The Illy coffee washed it down well as we sat at the heavy wooden table next to the window and watched the queue build up at the door as lunchtime approached.
As you may know, I love the visual arts in Edinburgh and find the Dean Gallery one of the most relaxing and inspirational places in the city to spend a few hours. Cafe Newton makes a trip here even more special and it is the perfect place to unwind, relax and soak up the artistic atmosphere of one of Edinburgh’s finest galleries.
Disabled access: Yes, the cafe is on the ground floor and the gallery itself has a disabled entrance & lift at the rear.