Joanne and Michael Ramsay have managed to turn their crepe van business, Crepearray, into Café Tartine, a French café wine bar on the trendy Commercial Street in Leith. However, although freshly made crepes are still a main focus of Cafe Tartine, diners are also offered a wide variety of French cuisine and grill dishes.
You are immediately welcomed when entering by the friendly, smiling staff. The wooden tables and chairs give a French rustic feel but the candles and open plan layout gives the room a very modern twist. The menu compromises of many sections including sharing boards, savoury crepes, specials, all day and grill. I was slightly confused as to what were starters and what were mains but once the waitress explained it became clearer.
To start I opted for half a Kilo of Moules Mariniere, a French Classic. The Mussels were open and plump. The white wine, garlic and cream sauce that they had been cooked in, was perfectly balanced. This was full of fresh herbs and slices of onions. The lemon on the side, once squeezed in, added sharpness which cut through the creamy sauce perfectly. The artisan bread that accompanied the mussels was thick and soft and soaked up the sauce and onions.
For main I went for the waitress’s recommendation, the special ‘Surf and Turf’. This was a 10oz Ribeye Steak with King Prawns. The steak was cooked in garlic butter and was juicy and succulent. The only criticism was the cooking of the steak, I had asked for medium rare but it was definitely just rare. However I did not feel the need to mention it as it was really tasty. The prawns were a great addition to the steak and again full of flavour. Served alongside was a portion of delicious, well seasoned French fries.
Surf and Turf
I really did not need a dessert but with crepes being such an influential factor in the restaurant opening in the first instance, I felt it was rude not to try! We compromised and shared a crepe with chocolate and coconut. At Cafe Tartine the crepes are made in front of the diners which adds to the friendly vibe. The coconut gave the dessert some texture and complimented the oozy chocolate filling perfectly. Even if I had wanted to I really don’t think I could have had a whole one to myself after 2 courses, but I would return just for one of these crepes and a coffee any time.
Crepe With Chocolate & Coconut
The coffee itself was served in branded ‘Café Tartine’ mugs and the cutest miniature milk bottles. This was a lovely way to end the meal.
I could easily see myself spending most of the day in Cafe Tartine due to its versatility. Whether it is meeting up with friends for lunch, coffee and a crepe, dinner or just a glass of wine while you enjoy live music (only on certain nights) this restaurant ticks all the right boxes. If you are looking for a French restaurant in Edinburgh I would highly recommend Cafe Tartine. If you are based in Leith, great; if not, I would say it is well worth the taxi fare from the centre to get there.
Bill for Two: £60 (including wine and coffees)
Food: Casual French