Mimi’s Bakehouse

Mimi’s Bakehouse is a tearoom I’ve been wanting to visit for some time. It’s situated in the Leith area of Edinburgh, a part of the city I know reasonably well, having inhabited three different flats in the vicinity.

Edinburgh, and Leith in particular, has been on my mind quite a bit lately. In the past couple of weeks I’ve read two Ian Rankin books set in Edinburgh, and the main character in my own novel (still under construction, currently at 25,000 words) lives in Leith.

All of this, combined with my desire to meet up with a chum who lives in the great metropolis, led to me nipping down there last week.

The day was dreich (wet, damp, dull and – some might say – a bit miserable) but, arriving a bit early, I wandered round some of my old haunts.

One never knows, on revisiting a place, quite what one’s feelings will be. I was half expecting to be irritated by the noise and traffic, put off by the general busyness of the city, which has sometimes been the case when I’ve been back to Edinburgh after my quiet life in leafy Perthshire. However, I was surprised to find that I felt happy, exhuberant and delighted to be back. Quite a few of Leith’s streets are cobbled, rather than covered with tarmac (is this known in the US as asphalt? I’ve never been too sure): I was glad to see this old chap again, a fellow I often used to walk past and bid good day to: Although some of the shops, pubs, cafes, etc. have changed since I was last here, it was reassuring to see that some looked exactly as I’d left them. This wee pub has probably looked much the same for the past 200 years, dating back as it does to 1785: Inside, Mimi’s provided a bright and welcoming contrast to the weather. Indeed, far from feeling the chill outside, the ladies on the wallpaper appeared to be feeling the heat: We opted to sit in one of the sofa areas, which was decorated with some stylish cushions: The main point of interest to my mind, however, was the cake counter. I opted for the coffee and walnut: If I’d been in a chocolate mood I would have found this creation hard to resist: And if I’d been craving the malty crunchiness of Maltesers, this little gem would have been top of my list: To go with my cake, I ordered Teapigs Chai tea, which came in a little teapot with a slice of orange on the side: The cake was heavily iced (a bit too much for me on this occasion, although if I’d been desperate for a sugar rush I’d have scoofed it back readily enough), but the sponge itself was extremely light and fluffy:

Just as coffee and walnut is one of the cakes I frequently like to try, my chum is very partial to a caramel, or millionaire, shortbread. Mimi’s had large slabs of the stuff on offer, and he jumped at the opportunity, pairing it with a cappuccino: I wasn’t too fussed about trying it, since it looked a bit heavy and solid to me, but when I tasted a little corner I was astonished by its melt-in-the-mouth texture. The biscuit, toffee and chocolate disappeared together in a most pleasant manner. It was, surely, one of the best of its kind.

Mimi’s is, altogether, rather a stylish establishment. The ladies toilet can be located by this attractive notice on the door: The black and white theme evident throughout the tearoom itself, is continued in the bathrooms: After our delicious repast, my comrade had to get back to work and I thought I’d get a little exercise by way of trotting round the Botanic Gardens, which were on my route out of the city. The colours were beautiful but it was raining quite heavily. One good thing about going to the Botanics on such a wet day was that I virtually had the place to myself, including the magnificent hot houses: While I was pounding the pavements in Leith and driving through the city, I noticed that there are lots of new tearooms that weren’t there in my day.

The trouble, if you can call it that, is that there are far more tearooms to sample than I have the capacity for. Just as I don’t expect to die with an empty in-tray, neither do I anticipate managing to consume all the cakes I would like to gorge on in this one short lifetime. If ever there were a reason for reincarnation, that must be it.


49 thoughts on “Mimi’s Bakehouse

  1. What a delightful experience, from your stroll around the area to the tea and cake and then your walk through the Botanic Gardens! No problem with the rain either 🙂 I wonder where you’ll visit next…

    • Thank you Meg, it was a very pleasant day, all in all. I must admit, I didn’t mind the rain. To my thinking, Edinburgh suits the rain and mist, it felt like I’d come home. I have one or two tearooms in mind that have been calling me for a while now….

  2. Ooh la la! I do admire your devotion to tearooms, Lorna, and I enjoy sampling them vicariously through you.
    I am also glad that your manuscript is coming along, and I wish you the best in that endeavor.

    • Thank you Robin, I’ve been a bit remiss on the tearoom front lately but it’s always nice to find a good one like this. As for my manuscript coming along, I suppose it is, but I fear most of it will ultimately be for the chop. Such is life, and you only get better if you practice. At least, I hope so. How’s your writing doing? I miss your blog, but I completely understand that it’s not a priority and you can’t do everything.

  3. It has always been my goal to visit London and Paris, at least, but you’re making me want to add Edinburgh! We do call it asphalt. Those cakes…when will someone invent a transporter!!! I’ve never seen coffee and walnut cake here in the states, but I’d love to try one. They look scrumptious!

    Twenty-five thousand words-remarkable progress! Good going!

    • Ooh, I think you would love Edinburgh if you’re drawn to London and Paris. Edinburgh has a lot of olde worlde charm, plenty of history and curious tales from centuries past. There are some splendid buildings, and no shortage of excellent tearooms and pubs, which is most important when sightseeing. As for coffee and walnut cake, it’s quite a common option here so you would, I’m sure, easily track one down.

      Thank you for clearing up my query on asphalt, I feel relieved to have got the low down from a proper American. I’ve also have heard that you only refer to tarmac with reference to landing strips for aircraft, is that correct?

      25,000 words does sound quite good, but as I mentioned to Robin, the trouble is that I expect to keep only a fraction of what I’ve written. I don’t like to think about that too much at this stage, I’ll feel happier when I’ve got past my aim of 60,000 and can start to slash out the rubbish bits without feeling too bereft.

  4. soooo excited you have visited and written about Mimi’s. i’ve been hearing about it for a while now and i’ve always wanted to visit. how fun to have pictures from the inside, which i’ve never seen before. i have only seen pictures of their magnificent cakes. malteser cake would have to be on the top of my list although the millionaire’s shortbread looks divine too. love the boots salt and pepper shakers in your picture on top.

    • Thanks Alison, I’m so glad! I felt the same as you, very keen to visit this place I kept hearing about. I must say, it didn’t disappoint, and I’m looking forward to more visits in the future. I feel a strong need to sample other cakes (including that exquisite Malteser one) and have lunch there, because they have a most appetising menu. I’m delighted that you like the wee wellies, they’re great aren’t they? I do like a novelty cruet set.

  5. Sounds like a great place! I also would love to sample the coffee and walnut cake, alhough the shortbread looked pretty good too. You have made me very hungry!

  6. Delighted to hear that your manuscript is moving along, 25,000 words is a huge amount of writing in my book! I would be struggling to write 2,500. You should be feeling pleased.
    Great to get the gen on another lovely tea shop. I haven’t been to Leith although my mother came from Musselburgh. I must visit one day.

    • Thank you Heather, sometimes I’m pleased and other times I’m gloomy because I think it’s all rubbish, but I think that’s fairly normal for someone writing a book.

      I hope you get to visit Leith some time, it has its own atmosphere, a bit different from the rest of Edinburgh. True Leithers don’t think of themselves as being from Edinburgh, they cling to the time when Leith was quite separate, and I can see why. Musselburgh’s a nice wee place, I particularly like the main street where Luca’s ice cream shop is!

  7. Wonderful Lorna! And those cakes…I’m not sure which one I would choose…they all look fabulous and I would love to take a bite in all of them 😉 The weather…well what can I say…looks a bit like Holland to me and I don’t miss that part. But then again, when outside it’s miserable (yes I’m one of those who call this weather miserable) and you get to a place like this, it must feel like heaven 😀

    • Thank you Letizia, it is a bit of an embarrassment of riches at Mimi’s. You’re right about how welcoming Mimi’s was with the dark dampness outside, a little haven of heavenly treats. I recall having some splendid treats in Holland, now that you mention it, I think these cold wet countries need to keep their cakes well stocked for the welfare of the citizens.

  8. How do you pronounce “driech”? Is is Marlene Deet-rich or Marlene Deet-rick? Oh well, let’s just shorten her to Marlene Driech. BTW did you make that word up? Driech sounds like a drenched dress (“Ooooh noooo, look at my dreich!!”) I know how to pronounce walnut cake tho…no problemo. 🙂

    • I was going to say it rhymes with ‘wheech’ but that might not help you. Ha ha, poor old Marlene! I didn’t make it up, it’s a bona fide Scottish term applied to the weather, but I like your idea of a drenched dress.

  9. Mimi’s looks like such a fun and funky place, I’d happily make my way up the tarmac on a driech day to pay a visit. Edinburgh has been on my travel list for a long time, only now its many inviting tea rooms are the main attraction for me! :0)

  10. This looks a lovely place, and the cakes look divine! After a hard day I could just eat that coffee slice right now. (Oh gosh, is it too late to make a cake??!!) Another delightful ‘outing’, Lorna – thank you!

  11. Mimi’s looks like the sort of place where one could have a lot of fun. Loving the decor and design ooo, plus those incredible cakes! Do you suppose Mimi might be free to pop to Sydney and take my pastry exams for me instead? Lol, probably not then 😉

    • Ha ha, I don’t think you need anyone to take your exams for you, I have every faith in you passing with flying colours! It is a lovely place, Mimi’s, I think you’d like it. 🙂

  12. I don’t think I’ve ever uttered such an extended series of ever-lengthening ‘oooh’s’ as I did scrolling down your pictures of Mimi’s cakes! Did you try all of them 😉

    Good idea to include details of the facilities too. I judge pubs by the cleanliness of the pissoir (dirty loos = dirty cellar), and if insufficiently scrubbed I implement a boycott. Which is a token gesture these days – but in my younger years the impact on takings would have been significant!

    • Thank you Finn! Sadly, I didn’t try all of the cakes, but wouldn’t it be marvellous if they did a little tasting plate with a bite of each one….

      I agree with you about the conveniences, and good for you with the boycotting. I have sometimes felt really quite disappointed about loos, and have even occasionally had something excellent somewhere and then discovered that the loos would have put me off if I’d gone there first. I can think of a few places, however, where I positively look forward to visiting the loos because they’re so consistently clean and sparkling.

  13. Wow, delicious looking cakes…yes, tarmac is called asphalt in the U.S…. the word tarmac is primarily used here to describe the paving at an airport.
    I was in Edinburgh 11 years ago and loved the tea houses, pubs and hectic city life. This tea house was darling…Malteser cake, what a great idea…malty and crunchy …mmmmmm Great post Lorna…felt like I was there with you and congrats on 25,000 words….keep writing!

    • Thank you Linda, and I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed your trip to Edinburgh! I made some Malteser cake yesterday, inspired by Mimi’s, it is a wonderfully decadent business mixing chocolate and Maltesers with syrup, biscuits and fat. Not terribly good for you, I don’t imagine, but it does taste rather nice. The book is progressing quite well, thank you.

  14. Hello! I guess this is about a month late, but I thought you might like to know that ‘asphalt’ is also commonly called ‘pavement’ in the USA. We call your pavements ‘sidewalks’ so never, ever, tell a small child in the USA to ‘stay on the pavement’…=)

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