"Totally beautiful way to spend an hour on a sunny Bank Holiday" - 31 August 2016
"Unexpected and delightful find with a great view" - 31st August 2016
"Fantastic food and value for money" - 14 August 2016
"Breakfast in the sun - I suppose the beautiful sunshine on Monday morning added to the experience but i had one the nicest breakfasts ever in the Beach House. A great menu, and the bacon roll and coffee were YUM. I like the green and healthy ethos of the place, the surroundings were comfortable and beachy and the staff efficient. it was my last morning in Edinburgh and i was sorry i hadn't found the place earlier." - 2 August 2016
"We hit the promenade in Portobello on a properly hot day and it was a sight for sore eyes.
The Forth estuary, which usually looks steely grey and glowering, was almost blue, the sands golden. Heavens, there were adults in bikinis, lounging on the beach and even bathing in the water! This was the first time I have ever fully understood the recreational potential of Porty – beachwise, that is. It looked uncannily like the grand beaches of Normandy, reminiscent of elegant resorts like Houlgate, Cabourg, Trouville and Deauville. The promenade was buzzy and thronged. Lots of immaculately coiffed elderly ladies out for a stroll, cyclists, toddlers on trikes, a parade of tattoos, yapping little dogs on leads, barefoot kids threading their way in and out, trying hard not to drop their cones – you had all the elements of an urban passeggiata, an ever-changing procession of human life. Without this level of activity, a promenade feels dead and sad. Not Portobello, it’s very much alive.
Bohemian Portobello specialises in diversity. Its admirably active local community does a sterling job of opposing cloned, chain development and supporting projects that are individual and particular, and the Beach House Cafe is more evidence of this dynamism. The café occupies a prime corner of the prom. There is nothing revolutionary about what’s on offer, which makes it democratic and accessible to all. To be honest, you could probably run a totally cynical, seedy seaside greasy spoon here and still make money, but the Beach House has evidently put considerable effort into being a lot, lot better than that.
The integrity begins with ingredients. The bread, for instance, is made by one of Edinburgh’s artisan bakers, so when you have a sandwich you aren’t eating Euro-pap. Milk and eggs are organic. Chicken is free-range. Meat comes from Portobello’s celebrated Findlay’s butcher, cheese from the impeccable Iain Mellis. Coffee is Fairtrade. There is a fatwa on rainforest-deleting palm oil. The Beach House gives you quality, but the prices are entirely reasonable. The operation is less about cooking than it is about intelligent, thoughtful sourcing. The one weak note is the ice cream, a brand that I don’t rate. What’s the point of making peach ice cream in Aberdeenshire?
We went to the Beach House for cake and ended up staying for lunch. There was a good big bowl of yogurty pea soup which came with excellent, crusty white bread and a ball of butter. The tuna sandwich was about as far from those flabby, flannel-like things in packs that you could get. Here was fresh granary bread with seaweed baked through it, cut thick, oozing a generous amount of tuna mayonnaise spiked with slivers of red onion and flanked by a perky salad of ruby chard, rocket and lamb’s lettuce dusted with toasty sunflower seeds and pine kernels. And there was a ploughman’s lunch, but not as we so often know it. No dusty, biscuity factory baguette. No plastic block cheddar and tin foil pack of butter. Instead, a substantial wedge of handmade, cloth-wrapped, unpasteurised milk cheddar came with more of the great white bread, the same fresh salad and a mellow, fruity, organic plum chutney.
It is impossible not to have your eye drawn to the cake selection, mainly furnished by local home bakers. It makes a wonderful sight, precarious stacks of crusty scones, glistening coffee cake studded with large pecans, Victoria sponge, classy bought-in fruit tarts and all. This line-up constitutes entrapment if you ask me. Once you’ve clocked it, there’s no going back. So we didn’t, polishing off a spicy, dumpling-moist carrot cake with buttercream that tasted as though it had rum in it, and a featherweight orange and almond cake, with a properly made cup of coffee and nicely served Darjeeling tea.
There are tables outside, and a sensible pile of blankets on hand to cover yourself up if it gets a bit parky, but inside it’s pretty cosy. I can see myself here come winter, cradling a steaming hot chocolate or supping a comforting soup. The Beach House is an attractive prospect, come rain or come shine."
5 July 2010
Scotland the Best 2016 - among the very best in Scotland - kid friendly places.
"In the middle of the Prom, a shelter from the storm and those searing hot days on the beach and confirming Porty's credentials as one of the best parts of town to bring, bring up, kids. Simple and ethical sustenance for buggy pushing parents and their bairns."
The List Eating & Drinking Guide Recommends The Beach House As One Of The Best Cafes In Edinburgh - Hitlist 2015/2016
Few places offer a view to match the sweep of beach, sea and sky from this bright and spacious family friendly Portobello café. The Beach House serves breakfast and lunch with a flair that ensures it’s busy even when the promenade is deserted. A tangy beetroot soup gets a twist of yoghurt, horseradish and dill drizzle, a smoked salmon sandwich comes with mushy peas on seaweed sourdough, while a brie panini is boosted by homemade ratatouille. The emphasis is on local organic ingredients – the meat and fruit cordials come from Portobello, cakes are baked locally and many of the greens grow in the café’s garden. Mezze platters and breakfast specials change daily, children get their own menu and service is fast and attentive. For early summer 2016 plans are to have a licence in place and for early evening opening with tapas plates, platter and drinks. This is a place for enjoying the view on the plate as much as the one from the window.
The List Eating & Drinking Guide