If you’re already weary from traipsing round the shops in an effort to get your Christmas shopping done early and need an energy boost, then head into one of Edinburgh’s newest foodie destinations – the decadent dessert café, Haute Dolci on the third floor of the St James Quarter.
Be prepared for a sugar rush of the highest order. The extensive menu features an array of luxury desserts to satisfy even the most discerning of individuals blessed with a mouthful of sweet teeth.
First impressions are of a bright and airy café, with clean sharp lines and an upmarket calming neutral décor. There are plenty of friendly welcoming staff on hand.
We were there at 7pm on a Friday evening and the place was busy with a varied crowd of shoppers resting their feet and having a sugar fix; couples in for cake and drinks, groups of girls fuelling up before a night out, and families.
There is a vast choice on the menu, ranging from waffles, crepes, pancakes, cookie dough, French toast and cakes. They also do a fine brunch menu which finishes at 4pm, so for us it was straight to the sweet stuff, not that we were complaining. This is a place where you can just skip to the puddings.
The staff rustled up a selection of croissants for us to sample; warm and buttery with a mini pain au chocolate, and one filled with caramel. Very moreish and surprisingly light.
To drink, my guest C chose the best-selling Fruits of the Forest mocktail (£7.10)- a stunning creation laced with fruit and which she described as extremely refreshing.
I had a Blissful Mango milkshake (£6.50) with mango sorbet, vanilla ice cream, mango sauce and finished with whipped cream. It was a dessert in itself and this was before we even got onto the main attractions.
There followed a selection of strawberries dipped in white and milk chocolate – gorgeous. We duly gorged. The chocolate is Belgian and keen to know more, as I was beginning to channel my inner Willie Wonka by now, I learned from the helpful General Manager, Daniel Gillett, that the Edinburgh branch of this delightful eaterie can get through between 150-200 kg of this glossy liquid indulgence a week. That’s an awful lot of chocolate.
It is literally on tap- a chocolate lover’s dream, poured liberally over desserts, used for strawberry dipping or, if you’re really up for it, served as shots. We tried both a white chocolate shot and milk chocolate one. They were sensational – molten heaven sliding down the throat. Rich, wicked, and a real treat (£4.20 for two)
We wondered if we’d have room left for anything else, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. C tucked into Strawberry Velvet French Toast (£10.50) – thick, cinnamon-soaked brioche bread, with strawberries and more molten chocolate. She described it as ‘divine and generous with the chocolate’.
I indulged in a ‘Ripe for the Taking’ stack of pancakes, (£10.50) served with bananas, milk chocolate sauce and topped with caramelised hazelnuts and vanilla ice cream. A good sized portion which would have been sufficient to eat on its own without any of the other treats. The pancakes were light and chocolate, silky.
We were too stuffed for anything other than tea and coffee to follow, but I was impressed with my fully-flavoured Darjeeling, which had a sharpness, cutting through the sugar and chocolate which preceded it.
We left clutching a bag of mini cheesecakes and a selection of macarons to sample. Delicious mousse-like rich cheesecake- one Oreo and one vanilla (£8.50 each) and delicate flavoured macarons, which you could buy boxed, to gift to someone else – if you’ve got the willpower not to eat them yourself (six for £8.)
Haute Dolci Edinburgh is certainly a place I will be returning to.