The website and Google Maps kinda presents Grams as a meal prep/subscription service. Perhaps it was over the lockdown, but that’s not my experience of it.
I’m a latecomer to Grams. In Lewis Gill’s podcast, there’s a swift history of the move from a market stall in Stockbridge, through debt, to a takeaway somewhere, through debt, and finally to this larger venue on the edges of Stockbridge.
It was famous when it opened, one of Edinburgh’s first health-but-tasty food places. I missed the buzz, as I typically do!
I finally found the place through the food-porn it shares on Instagram.
The Grams food
It’s a brunch menu and largely vegan or vegetarian. I’m neither, but, gosh, Grams is good enough to convince me it’s not the end of the world if I was banned from eating meat.
It’s not a vast menu, but that’s a sensible decision for any indie to make and, importantly, the menu is large enough and diverse enough. I had Nachos one day, with vegan pulled pork (although pulled pork is available) and “facon me crazy” the next. That’s vegan waffles with plant-based bacon and maple syrup.
I videoed the maple syrup pour over the waffles and shared it on Facebook. Grams is a “make your friends jealous that you’re there” sort of place.
I will get through the menu with only a dozen more visits, and since I’ve just written that, I’ve now decided that’s what I’ll do.
It opens from 9am, last orders are at 3pm, so I can hit it up for breakfast but not dinner. I’ve only been for lunch, and after my first visit, I decided I’d be wise to book a table after that! It can get busy.
The menu is just about large enough. The food quality smashes it! Hats off, standing ovation and many cheers level of good. I’ve had nothing less than an extraordinary experience with Grams. Top marks.
I fully expect this to continue. Stockbridge is rammed for choice. If you don’t bring your a-game, you don’t keep your customers. I’ve seen Grams’ a-game, I’ve wolfed it down, and it’s impressive!
Oh, you can also grab coffee and cake to go. In fact, if I’ve not ordered a cake for my table, I’ve always collected a cake and coffee to go as I paid. I’ve never made it out of Grams without ordering a cake.
Grams is pink. It’s neon pink. I kid you not. It’s painted pink on the outside, and there’s neon pink inside.
It doesn’t feel girly. It doesn’t even feel cyberpunk (someone create cyberpunk vegan cupcakes for me). It feels different, wholesome and clean.
Cleanliness is evident in Grams. The front looks relatively small, and that’s compounded by the nearness of the counter to the door. It’s like a small cafe takeaway until you look up and see the much larger space that stretches to the back of the building.
I think that space, that expanse of tables and white walls, is what dispels any lingering memory of small takeaways and reinforces the realisation that this is large and well cared for space.
I’ve always been welcomed as I stepped in. Within seconds a member of the Grams team is usually smiling at me and seeing how they can help. “Do you have a booking?” is generally one of the first questions. Another clue to book.
Staff are always friendly, attentive and since I’ve only known about the place during C19, they’re always masked.
The worst experience I’ve had is a wobbly table.
Value for money
Allegedly people moan about the cost. I can’t imagine it.
A coffee is £2.70. (Contrast to £2.50 in Leith)
Facon Me Crazy; waffles, yoghurt, fake bacon, banana, blueberries, pecans, and maple syrup is £9.50, and the Nachos with pulled pork is £9.90.
My own hunch is that it’s the breakfasts; £12.50 for bacon, poached eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, sourdough toast, house beans, avocado and with yoghurt and granola on the side. That’s more than I’d usually pay for breakfast, but it’s also more than I’d usually eat for breakfast. There’s a plant-based alternative, of course.
However, I concede it would be slightly cheaper if the same cafe didn’t have Stockbridge rent to pay. But I’m not convinced that Grams could exist in many other postcodes.
I think Grams is value for money. I think it gets there through the quality but also the quantity. This isn’t healthy food by being small; this is healthier food by avoiding processed production line stuff.
Even if you’re torn for choices while touring Stockbridge, I think Grams is worth checking out. It’s pink, and I’m impressed.