After our London expedition, it was time for us to return back North once again. Here in bonnie Scotland, and specifically homebase Edinburgh, it was time for another tea room review. Having already looked at some of the bigger ones, we now had to branch out of the centre a little bit – and I am very happy we did.
For far from the maddening crowds which become part of a touristic city in winter (yes, even North of the wall), we found Casa Angelina.
Casa Angelina is located in a little basement apartment. It’s hard to miss though, as the front is very pink – which I thought was adorable but will not be to everyone’s taste.
The actual inside of it is a good balance of the girly hard pink and pretty decorations, and a homely atmosphere with mostly white walls and dark brown wood. The entire front of the shop is dangerous territory for me, as there were luscious homemade cakes and savouries tempting me at all sides, except the one which had the Eteaket tea for sale.
The food at Casa Angelina is its main selling point, as the owner Marie Claire is a very talented and experienced pastry chef – and it is obvious from the getgo that she is passionate about her work. It all looks and smells delicious and almost everything has a little twist to it.
Also admirable is that they use locally sourced, additive free and organic ingredients wherever possible. When you book your afternoon tea you are asked if you have any dietary restrictions (which was the first time we were asked), and they advertised having gluten free and vegan options as well. We didn’t need that though, so we went ahead with the “basic” (a term I use very lightly here) afternoon tea menu.
You have to book for a full afternoon tea, so as we arrived we were immediately led to our table in the back room. The feel of the room is like you are in somebody’s home and they are prepared for a large dinner party. This homeliness is very nice and comforting, as you feel like you are a personal guest to a great hostess rather than someone just passing by. Most of the other guests had some personal conversation with the people working there, which only hightened that feeling.
After a long working week we sat down, relaxed, and turned to the tea menu.
Although there is not a lot of choice of teas for a tea room, there is enough variety to set it apart from “just” a bakery. And actually, the hot chocolates and juices were quite tantalising.
I am mainly a sucker for the smooth flavour of a Rooibos tea (which, as discussed earlier, is not technically a tea tea), but this time I picked a tea with a bit more body and sophistication. So I selected a Second Flush Darjeeling. My partner was feeling more adventurous and had a Strawberries and Cream infusion. My Darjeeling was, as they usually are, good. Slightly bitter, but with a warm fruity note, this is not known as the Champagne of Indian teas for no reason. The infusion? Less up my alley, as the “cream” part of it was drowned by the strange sweetness of the strawberry.
But then the food arrived.
It was too much.
Way, way, too much.
But we almost finished it – it was just too special and delicious. None of it was as expected: whereas usually you would get some simply sandwiches for savouries, here we got duck springrolls, caramelised onion biscuits, salted cucumber sandwiches and a super yummy salmon wrap. The pastries were all different as well, with a black forest pavlova, Christmas flavoured éclair, chocolate roll and the most delicious carrot cake I have ever had. By the time we got to the scones, with homemade jam, it was too late. We were too full.
Was all of it a full homerun? No, not really. The springrolls and chocolate roll we were not blown away by. But saying that those were not as good as the rest is like saying you think The Two Towers is the weakest Lord of the Rings movie/book – it is all still very good.
If you are in the Edinburgh area and want to have afternoon tea somewhere more quiet and peaceful, but not remote, you’re okay with a limited selection of teas and you love food – definitely go to Casa Angelina.
Because you can tell that the owner abides by Angelina’s motto: if you do it, do it right.