Betty and George is brand new at Howard Street in Canonmills. I’ve been several times and always had a good experience, but I can’t imagine opening during lockdown-lite and COVID-19 was hiccup-free!
The cafe replaces the Water of Leith Bistro, which I never got to, so I can’t make a like-for-like comparison.
It’s a great location and one that I think of as Stockbridge but incorrectly so! Yes, it might just be down Henderson Row from the Stockbridge Market, but it’s north of Bonnington.
Sitting next to the Water of Leith, the cafe is clean and spacious. The windows are huge, clean and let you see whether or not it is busy inside. With so many great places to eat nearby, and Betty and George further from the centre of down than most, it might well be a place you head to deliberately.
Food and drinks
I’ve never had a bad meal there yet. I’ve had soup, bagels and sweet things. Really, I’d order more for lunch but want to keep space for the dessert selection.
The favourite so far? Biscoffcheesecake! What a decadent delight.
The food quantities are what you’d expect for an Edinburgh cafe and are priced about the same. It’s not too hard to find locations in and around Stockbridge that are more expensive and pretty hard to find cheaper places. I guess this is the difference not being in Stockbridge makes, although the venue is hardly out of the way.
Betty and George are too new to have tested how often the menu changes, but the food options are all on a large blackboard on the far wall. That suggests that the ambition is to change the menu fairly frequently.
You can also use Betty and George as a takeaway. I’ve popped in for a coffee several times now. There are several successes here; the counter is right by the door, and there’s a seating area to wait in. This means you don’t have to-go customers crowding too close to the front door, which is annoying at the best of times and unwelcome during a lockdown.
Staff and service
I’ve always been seen to quickly, warmly and politely. In fact, staff have waited on me to sort out bags, coats, and hats still dripping with rainwater.
I’ve had suggestions for dessert options, which were helpful and patient understanding as I asked for details about food.
Once, though, my coffee was forgotten until after my soup arrived. If that’s the worst experience that I suffer at Betty and George, then I’ll be delighted.
I’m very much a fan of the open space, clean tables and lines of sight in Bety and George. It doesn’t feel impersonal; it just feels safe and clean. That said, this isn’t a cosy snug in which to read a book or hide from crowds.
I wouldn’t go here on a second date (not even with the Bischoff cheesecake recommendation as a secret weapon), but I absolutely would meet friends here.
I concede it’s early days, but Betty and George have come through for me each time after multiple trips and tests. Recommended.