Frankly, I hope I have your interest with the phrase “cafe bookshop” because that’s a fantastic idea.
I’ve been coming to Krem Karamel since the lovely cafe opened its doors, and that wasn’t that long ago. In fact, I got to stress test the staff and processes – turning up on their first-ever lunch rush.
The staff were level headed, delightful, attentive, and as a result, I knew I had to return. I like considerate indie locals! Then the food arrived, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay away.
Food, not books, have been Krem Karamel’s early focus. I’ve seen the shelves by the window mature from a collection of books into a display of books. We’re perhaps not a “book shop” level yet, but there are books to buy.
Krem Karamel’s food
One of Krem Karamel’s co-owners is an author; that helps explain the books.
The other of Krem Karamel’s co-owners is a chef, and Didem is a TV-level chef. No wonder the food is good!
The menu isn’t huge, but if you happen to be a regular reader of Edinburgh Reviews (if there’s such a person!), then you’ll know this is no problem for me. In fact, it’s a preference. Keep menus manageable to keep down food waste and keep up food quality. And, my goodness, each mouthful of food I’ve ever had at Krem Karamel has been so fresh!
Sandwiches (my favourite site, so is the open salmon and avocado), salads (strawberry) and soups (lentil) make up a good chunk of the savoury dishes.
When I come to Krem Karamel, I try and make it a lunch trip to have one of the cafe bites before treating myself to the divine deliciousness of a dessert.
You’ve got your “here’s what I’d expect from a cafe” baking collection on the countertop. Except, even just glancing at that collection will be enough to tell you it’s a cut above average. I have not yet but must try the chocolate brownies, which look like a generous taste explosion waiting to happen. They’re not small!
However, you might not get as far as the baked goodies because you’ve cake in the display stand before that. I confess I’ve been busy sampling the cakes and the current champion is the Red Velvet, although that was nearly unseated by the San Sebastian cheesecake earlier this week.
Krem Karamel’s vibe
I knew I’d be a fan of Krem Karamel when I threw myself into their first lunch. Staff were so attentive.
There’s something right about the physical space of the cafe. It’s slightly down from the pavement, you sit below street level unless you sit by the counter as the cafe is on the corner, but you’ll barely notice. How not? It’s so welcoming and bright. The walls are windows, large, clean and sunshine floods in.
It feels as fresh in the cafe as food feels fresh to eat.
In my tips to Krem Karamel, I’ve watched how locals have adopted the place. I’m not the only fan, and I’ve seen how staff quickly remember return customers. It feels warmly personal in here.
There are high chairs for kids, tables big enough for small families, and if you leave the Royal Botanic Gardens by the East Gate during cafe hours, then you’ve a wonderful place to stop, rest your feet and upload your flower pictures to Instagram.
It’s such a warm place; even when I pop in for a takeaway coffee, I’ve enjoyed my brief expedition.
I’ve managed my way through some dark days during the pandemic and the events that followed, both personally and globally. Honestly, the arrival of Krem Karamel has been a beacon of light, and the cafe and bookshop have been a spot of sunshine to help show the way forward.
Do I recommend Krem Karamel? Of course. I insist that you go.