The Signet Library is an ideal location to meet friends or colleagues during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with its impressive surroundings and beautiful architectural details.
We loved this pop-up bar last year so booked in for afternoon tea as soon as we heard it was back for 2012.
The review is by Lea Harris, Scotland’s only contestant to appear on the Great British Bake Off.
A heavenly way to spend an afternoon
What do oasis, sanctuary and Pommery Bar have in common? They are all a haven – places of tranquillity and refuge. During this chaotic, whirling dervish season that is the Edinburgh Fringe, we all seek an escape for a few moments peace, a place to reflect and refresh; to catch our breath.
Last year I’d heard about the Pommery Bar and Café in the Signet Library and foolishly didn’t take the opportunity to sample the delights within its calm inner sanctum. This year I wasn’t going to miss out! I reserved a table to have afternoon tea with champagne.
Battling our way through the Fringe revellers, we made our way along the Royal Mile, skirted round the back of St Giles to the front of the Signet Library. Don’t worry about the big guy on the door, he’s a gentle giant and escorted us to reception, where we were met with welcoming smiles that were not only on their lips but also in their eyes. We were impressed. Shown to our table we didn’t have to wait long for our glass of Pommery bubbles. I loved the fact that the champagne list features a fizzy for all seasons.
We made our tea choices (Belfast Brew for me and Earl Grey for him) and waited in anticipation for our treat. Service was swift and what arrived was magnificent; a three-tier cake stand overflowing with spiced fruit scones, Chantilly cream and gorgeous homemade blackcurrant jam. Mocha brownies, cream and fruit filled filo baskets (the raspberries and strawberries from Perthshire) made up the middle layer. The bottom plate was resplendent with a vibrant pink and purple vanilla macaron, rocky road slice and a gluten free blueberry coconut number. Colin, the manager, explained that with prior notice, they could accommodate guests with dietary requirements.
We started with the plate of savouries – ham with mustard mayo, brie with roasted tomato, a cucumber and mint number was the third. That wasn’t all: a savoury scone topped with griddled courgette, dappled with feta cheese glossed with balsamic was divine and the goats’ cheese and chive lollipop was a tangy addition. No curled up, dried sarnies here; made with lovely bread and abundantly filled.
We paced ourselves. We munched, nibbled and scoffed our way through the food before us. Service was attentive without being intrusive and there was always a smile. Pleased we’d made a reservation, as by 3.30pm there were only two free tables.
Everything’s made in-house by Heritage Portfolio. There certainly was enough to fill our bellies and when we asked for more cream, it arrived with extra jam. I love scones and am disappointed on so many occasions, but at the Pommery Bar, they were soft, spiced with cinnamon and I have to say along with the savoury version, they were the highlight of the afternoon.
It won’t be our last visit. We’ve already earmarked a lobster lunch later in the month.
Afternoon tea, £17 per person, with champagne, £25 per person.
The Pop-up Champagne Bar will be at the Signet Library from 3rd August through to 27th August 2012 and will be open from 11am until late.
You can reserve a table now on 0131 225 0651
Check their website for deals on afternoon teas and champagne.
Children are welcome into the Pommery Bar at all times.
There is no dress code. Smart-casual comfortable Fringe clothes are fine, making it a perfect venue for before or after a show.
Suitable for disabled? Yes the bar area is on the ground level and completely accessible and there is a bathroom for disabled use on the ground floor.