Snax Cafe (Edinburgh): A Scottish “Caff” Breakfast

Snax CafeDainty brioche buns and buttered toast with tea are fine and good for a few mornings. But as gray, drizzly Scotland morning Number Four revs up today, I feel a grumpiness setting in.

I tell D.B.: “I need something hot and meaty.”

What I’m craving is a greasy diner breakfast — eggs, meat, toast, burnt coffee. Fluorescent lighting and gruff service would be a plus. Where to find this in Edinburgh? I’m not entirely sure.

D.B. just packs me into a car and starts driving, however. Somewhere near the city center, barricaded by construction machinery and hard-hatted men, there it is, a beacon: A small neon “coffee” sign. Next to it, “SNAX CAFE. Famous for its breakfasts!”

Snax CafeD.B. is generally rather fussy about where he eats — but he wants to avoid having me bite his head off if I don’t get my hot meaty breakfast, I suspect. So soon enough, we’re bellying up to this counter, where the choices before me are mindboggling.

Snax CafeThere are burgers, toasties, pies, chips and curry, paninis and more.

Snax Cafe

D.B.’s eyes narrow when I ponder having chips and curry — and he’s probably right that they may not be terribly good here, so I decide to stick with my breakfast plan.

Once we’ve ordered and paid, it’s time to find a seat. D.B. looks amused that I’m finding this basic place so terribly exciting. “This is a standard English caff,” he tells me, stopping to explain that “caff” is localspeak for cafe. “You have them all over London.”

It turns out Snax Cafe, located not far from the University of Edinburgh campus, is a big student haunt. You can probably tell that from the decor.

Snax Cafe

Our cafe lattes (£2; delicious, foamy) arrive almost instantly. And not far behind is this beautiful egg and bacon roll (£1.40). I’m not the biggest fan of how thick the roll is in these British breakfast sandwiches but I’ve learned to love them anyway, and this was a perfectly fine rendition of that.

Breakfast sandwich

My sausage, egg, bacon, beans and chips (£4) with the addition of a “tattie scone” (£0.50), pictured up top, hit the spot, however. The sausages were juicy, slightly herbed and delicious, and while everything else was rather average, as a whole, the plate worked nicely and was the exact hot breakfast package I had been craving.

I had been curious about the tattie scone, which turned out to be like a potato-y samosa without any filling. It was nicely fried but tasteless overall. (Nothing a big glop of brown sauce couldn’t fix.)

Watching me shovel this breakfast into my mouth, all gloom and grumpiness rapidly dissipating, D.B. remarks: “It doesn’t take much to make you happy, does it?”

Quite right, he is.

Snax Cafe, 118 Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH8 9NQ; +44.0131.662.9009;