I’m not sure I fully believed it when I was told a coffee shop had opened up in the new builds across from Ocean Terminal.
I’m not sure I even thought it was possible to get through the tram works and the construction. Most of those new builds are still being built.
However, if it was true, and since I used to live nearby, I really wanted to offer some token support to be a customer at least once.
Food and Drink at Irish Dude
I’ve become a repeat customer.
The drinks are good, fast and competitively priced. There’s a steampunk coffee-making engine, and the proprietor works it like a wizard.
This is not an early morning truck stop with coffee from a jar, and you get proper coffee here.
I’ve seen other repeat customers here, familiar faces at the tables, also enjoying the coffee. I think that’s significant because even if you happened to live in the flats overhead, and there surely can’t be that many families in yet, there’s still Ocean Terminal with internationally famous franchise coffee aplenty across the road. When given a choice, people pick Irish Dude.
This is not an early morning truck driver stop with coffee from a jar; from this coffee shop, you’ll get proper coffee. That, of course, is why people are coming back.
The food, though, is another reason.
The first food I had here was some baking. It’s local delivery. Irish Dude Coffee and Food isn’t a deli that bakes their own croissants but nor do you get supermarket mass. I think, instead, you get what people in search of proper coffee want; nothing too fancy, but fresh, not too expensive, but taste-the-quality.
Also, if you’re in a hurry, go for the baking.
The sandwiches here are lovely and are not premade. As a result, it gets made when you order a sandwich, and you’ll have to wait for that. We’re talking minutes, but if you’re running between meetings or have someone waiting outside in the cold, then it’s still minutes.
I think it’s worth the wait.
My experience so far with the sandwiches are all toastie in nature. This is perfect, and they’re much better than anywhere else with a golf swing that I know might do similar. But we’re not talking Alby’s, or that cost, either. Irish Dude Coffee & Food put good ingredients on good bread and goes a good job, but we’re not talking superpowered loaves here.
Irish Dude vibe
I was first struck by just how reassuringly clean Irish Dude was when I first opened the door and stepped inside.
The owner has managed hospitality in America, and I believe the regulations are challenging there; the experience, therefore, is an important one, and perhaps it’s this crucible that has forged such a clean coffee shop for Edinburgh.
I was next struck by what a friendly welcome I received. I’ve been there a dozen or so times now, but my drink (American black) was remembered after just a few trips.
If there’s no queue and lunches can be busy, I welcome a quick catch-up.
There’s a cosy reading chair in Irish Dude; I’ve long eyed it but never settled there for a sandwich.
When I eat in, I like the window bar seat. Okay, the view is just of the tram works, but it’s still bright and different. The windows here let in a lot of light, and it helps with the vibrancy; even when flats or hotels go up on the other side of the road, this will be a well-lit venue.
Irish Dude is undoubtedly a place you can go to eat alone. It’s not a restaurant; I’m not sure if anyone would ever think, “Oh, this isn’t a place for me”, but in practical terms, it’s handy.
In fact, if you’re a solo traveller and want to keep an eye on your belongings or cope with quasi-table service then (and spot the trend), it’s worth avoiding the international giants in Ocean Terminal and coming here. If you’re visiting Edinburgh for a few days, and fancy a quick friend, become a regular here. You’ll do it in days.
I’m a fan. Irish Dude Coffee & Food probably isn’t a destination venue; I wouldn’t include it as a tourist location like some of the Stockbridge venues.
Irish Dude, though, is very much a practical location. If you’re in Leith, don’t want the elbows of the Shore, then Irish Dude Coffee & Food is absolutely worth walking to. I’ve actually stopped going to some Shore venues in favour of here.
If you’re near Ocean Terminal and fancy a coffee or a snack, avoid the big-name franchises and pop out across the road instead. Come here.
A review of Irish Dude Coffee & Food