Morrison Street

The Eco Larder

27/04/19

Morrison Street, Edinburgh

Okay, so we don’t usually write about shops here at B&B. We don’t like shopping; the ‘food’ heading is for restaurant reviews (we do like eating out). But The Eco Larder is such a fabulous little store that we just can’t help ourselves. We want to extol its virtues.

And it’s our blog. We can stretch that ‘food’ category to include a shop if we want to. Right?

Run by the lovely Stephanie and Matt, The Eco Larder is a not-for-profit business, a social enterprise, with the laudable aim of eliminating plastic packaging. It’s encouraging to see zero waste shops like these springing up around the country, and The Eco Larder really is a bit special. We’ve all but ditched the supermarket in recent months (apart from an occasional trip to stock up on tinned food and alcohol); instead, we’re taking a weekly walk down Morrison Street, containers at the ready.

The shop is small, but bright and clean, and stocks an impressive array of goods. As well as our dried foods (pasta, rice, seeds, fruit, nuts, pulses, legumes, herbs, spices), we’re also buying our household items here, refilling old bottles with washing up liquid and hair conditioner. They sell loo roll and toothpaste, olive oils and vinegars, fresh bread and organic vegetables, reusable straws and sanitary pads. Honestly, they’ve got it all. As you’d expect, the prices vary. Some things seem expensive; others are very cheap. But overall, our weekly food bill is similar to what it was before; it’s changed the way we eat.

There are treats in store too. We especially love the freshly squeezed orange juice, and not just because it’s fun using the machine. The nut butter is delicious too, and no palm oil (or salt, or sugar) to make this pleasure a guilty one.

The recent addition of a milk vending machine is the icing on the (fair trade) cake. Those of us who live in city centre flats don’t have the option of milk delivery, and it’s rankled, seeing those endless plastic bottles filling up our recycling bag. But now we can take a bottle to The Eco Larder and fill it up with organic semi-skimmed. What’s not to like?

Shopping at The Eco Larder is actually pleasurable – a far cry from the stress of pushing a trolley around Aldi or Waitrose. Matt, Stephanie and their volunteer crew are all friendly and helpful; it’s a calm, gentle experience, and one we both look forward to.

So if, like us, you’re dismayed by the amount of waste you’ve been generating (and you’re in Edinburgh), why not take a walk down Morrison Street and try it for yourself?

5 stars

Susan Singfield

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Bite Me!

25/09/17

Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh

Whenever we’re trudging up Morrison Street into the city centre – usually on our way back home from the Haymarket tram stop – we comment on bite me!, a delightful-looking sandwich shop on the corner of Haymarket Terrace. It just looks so inviting: all gleaming white tiles, perfectly-shaped scones and clean, vibrant decor. But we rarely have an excuse to stop – we’re never passing at a meal time or when we’re sufficiently exhausted to think we need a break.

Today is different though. Today, we’ve had to get up early to take our car in for a service. We slept in later than we meant to, so we’ve not had time for breakfast: we’re tired, hungry and a little hungover from last night’s visit to the pub. We’re fantasising about food, and then – like a mirage – bite me! looms ahead. We look at each other; we’re of one accord. We don’t even need to speak. Wordless, we head through the door.

It’s as appealing inside as it is from the kerb. There’s a chalkboard behind the counter; the counter itself is stuffed full of sandwiches and cakes, all so appetising it’s hard to know what to order. But then I spot ‘breakfast rolls’ on the menu, and it’s clear what direction this treat is taking. We both order coffee with egg and bacon rolls – his with brown sauce, mine with red – and take a seat in the pretty bird-themed annexe.

Before long, the rolls arrive. They’re wrapped in paper, and the coffee is in cardboard cups. But the food inside the wrapper is spot on: a soft, fresh bap, crispy smoked bacon and a perfectly fried egg. It’s not greasy at all, and it’s piping hot. It’s a simple meal, but a very satisfying one.

We don’t like the coffee quite as much, but suspect that’s our own fault. We’ve learned since moving to Edinburgh that we need to request a ‘single shot’ – the norm here is a double and that’s too strong for us. We forgot to ask this time, which is a shame.

Still, for warm friendly service and a pleasant place to eat a decent snack, bite me! would be hard to beat. And we’ll be back some time to try those scones!

4 stars

Susan Singfield