Edinburgh Eats · Food and Drink

The Colony Gourmet

Payday F I N A L L Y came round and with lock down restrictions easing to the point of most cafes and restaurants being open for takeaway I went straight out to treat myself and Mr OneBigStressball to some tasty treats from a little place I walk by almost every day.

A cafe in Tollcross that’s inspired by Portuguese colonies around the world, The Colony Gourmet is a teeny little slice of tasty tucked in between some larger restaurants on Home Street.

I’ve had iced coffee from here before, and only had enough money on my card for said iced coffee – don’t judge me, I was nearing the end of the month and was already not supposed to have spent any money, especially for a hit of caffeine I could have gotten at home – but when I was waiting for the coffee to be made the pastries lining the display cabinet caught my eye and I knew it wouldn’t be too long before I came back for a taste of what they had on offer.

When I went in this morning I only meant to get a coffee and a Pastéis de Nata (a Portuguese custard tart) but kept adding things to the list because I just couldn’t resist.

What I ended up getting:

Oat milk iced latte (gal needs to come to terms with this lactose intolerance business)
Pastéis de Nata
Chicken and Vegetable Pie
Carrot Cake with Dark Chocolate Drizzle
A Can of Guaraná

The oat milk latte was lovely… I’ve been trying dairy alternatives because of this whole lactose intolerance my body has increasingly enjoyed reminding me about, and because of the coffee, I genuinely didn’t taste much of a difference… which is a good thing I guess, as I once tried LactoFree milk and it tasted like dust and I think I have low-key anxiety about anything that isn’t milk tasting like that again.


The pie was delicious. There’s no other way to describe it really. As I was taking it home, I didn’t get it heated up in the cafe, instead doing it myself in my own kitchen, and it was lovely and crispy on the outside, and not skimpy on the fillings on the inside. Half of one actually made me full enough to forgo the cheese toastie I had planned for my lunch, so that was a bonus! They also offered a vegetarian option of Mushroom and Spinach – variety is key and there was a pie for everyone’s tastes in there I think! From what I have read as well they do a different flavour pie every so often, so there is no shortage of something new to sample.


I didn’t try the carrot cake as it had a chunky layer of dark chocolate on the top- and I gave up chocolate this year in a bid to stop myself from breaking out in spots all the time – FYI for anyone who wants to know, it actually helped, so if you find yourself in a battle with constant pimples, check your diet and what you actually consume before you go out spending a fortune on new skincare. ANYWAY the cake was for Mr OneBigStressball, who loves himself some carrot cake, and I have confirmation from him that it was amazing. The cake itself was fluffy and light (and bright orange, which is what attracted me to it in the first place) and the chocolate on top was a nice touch to add a little bit of sharpness to the sweetness of the sponge.

The Guaraná I bought as Mr OneBigStressball went to Brazil a few years ago and apparently Guaraná is known as the Irn Bru of Brazil? I love Irn Bru, and I thought it would be a nice thing to bring something home that could remind Mr OneBigStressball of his time in Brazil, but, as it turns out, he never actually tried Guaraná when he was over there. The verdict: Not my thing (it kind of tastes like the caffeinated version of Irn Bru, which I’m not a fan of, but Mr OneBigStressball liked it and luckily for him, got the entire can to himself!

And last but not least: the pastéis. Oh goodness. I don’t even think I have the words to describe what I felt when I had this little custard tart. A few years ago, I spent my 22nd birthday in Portugal, and, during that trip, my friends and I went to Pastéis de Belém, a little factory/cafe in Lisbon. It’s one of the few times I have ever queued for food in my life, and I can tell you right now it was well worth the wait. Since then, I have never been able to recreate the moment of that delicious custard filling mixed with the sweetness of the cinnamon sprinkled over the top, no matter how many times I have attempted to either make them myself of buy ones that I come across in supermarkets or shops.


Well. As soon as the woman behind the counter at The Colony Gourmet asked me if I wanted cinnamon on top of my pastéis I had high hopes. These hopes were fulfilled and the pastéis I ate in the comfort of my own living room transported me way back to the summer of four years ago when I was gobbling them outside Pastéis de Belém in the Portuguese heat, shaded under the canopy of the shop itself.

The pastry was perfectly flaky – not solid but not so flaky it totally falls apart in your hands – and the filling was just absolutely sublime. The tart as a whole was impeccably made, and it is no exaggeration that I had to talk myself out of going down to the shop and buying more. In fact, I’m having guests over for dinner tomorrow and so I might just pick up a few for dessert.

So. If you’re in the Tollcross area, want to support a small business and are a bit peckish, The Colony Gourmet is perfect for a light lunch option that you can munch on on your way to the Meadows. The pies are perfectly portioned, and there is a myriad of soft drinks and fruit juices available not just for people who like traditional flavours, but slightly out-there ones too…. If you like Fanta Grape I know they also have those in stock! And if you’re not that hungry and just want something sweet, a coffee and a pastéis de nata is also a good shout. The service is friendly and the whole place just has a whole family vibe going on, which is so lovely to see, especially in a busy area like Tollcross.

To be honest, even if you’re not in the mood for any food and you’re passing by, I totally recommend you buy a pastéis anyway. It’ll be 100% worth it when you get round to eating it!

C x


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