harmonium, edinburgh, review

When we moved to Leith in May, I made it my mission to work my way around all of the fantastic eateries we have on offer down here – there’s really no need ever to leave Leith and venture into town with everything from a greasy spoon to Michelin starred restaurants on our (literal) doorstep.

I took a departure from my current two quests (finding the best pizza in Edinburgh and the best brunch in Leith) to try Harmonium for lunch with a friend.

Veganism is growing in popularity, with general consciousness for animal welfare and the sustainability of meat becoming more common-place. Our Netflix-loving generation can find many documentaries (and mockumentaries) on the subject as well as in celebrity culture and even podcasts on the topic.

It’s something that interests me but not something that I’m fully converted to just yet, but I am trying to make a conscious effort to eat less meat and animal produce when I can. I have also just embarked on a 2-3 week dairy free challenge to see if my baby is lactose intolerant so their menu is proving useful in my dinner inspo!

A dedicated vegan restaurant since 2017, Harmonium is 100% free from animal derivative from oat milk to to-fish.

They only offer brunch at the weekend (not something I can support – everyday is a brunch day!) but their lunch menu is pretty varied and there were lots of things I would have ordered. Compiled of starters & sharing plates, main courses and pizzas there is something for all tastes.

I decided to go for three starter / sharing plates as it’s Β£12 for three as so many of the dishes sounded delicious.

Pan Catalan – plum tomatoes on toasted sourdough with crispy chorizo, garlic and olive oil

Personally, I think that when they are using meat free substitutes they should use inverted commas as this was “chorizo” and a pretty damn good substitute considering. But chorizo it was not. This was a lovely and fresh dish. Just call it what it is.

Harissa baked cauliflower – with za’atar, pomegranate, coriander seed, dill, parsley, lemon and almond

This was the dish that really caught my eye as I love each of those elements (except parsley, parsley is the work of the devil and should remain in the 90s on hotel plates) so this was ordered. The waitress warned of its ability to be “quite spicy is that ok?” I assured her it was and went on my merry way. She wasn’t wrong – some bits of the cauliflower were knock your socks off, but in a good way. Dish reminded me pomegranate is pretty much good on anything and everything for some texture.

Grilled artichokes – with olive oil and lemon

This dish serves to remind us all that sometimes you don’t need pomp or flair or fancy. A bit of olive oil and lemon and it’s good as gold. Artichokes are one of my favourite pizza toppings and I rarely get them otherwise as they can be quite expensive so this was a lovely treat and with a little browning from the grill, the perfect summer snack. Also, look at that lighting!

All of the dishes came with a mini salad of rocket which could perhaps be mixed up a bit as when you are doing the three for Β£12 deal it’s quite a lot of rocket but then for Β£12 it’s quite a lot of bang for your buck so I can’t complain too much.

This is the type of place that even meat-heeds would be hard pressed to find fault with as the flavours (and sometimes simplicity) speak for themselves and negate the need for meat for the sake of meat. A bit of creativity and imagination in vegan and vegetarian food goes a long way and I can understand why this place was packed to the rafters on a Monday lunch time.

My friend had the crab fishcakes which I tried a little of and they were delicious. But not crab. Just don’t say it’s crab if it’s not crab. The food speaks for itself it doesn’t need to pretend to be something it’s not.

They’re also dog friendly of course so you can take your four legged friend with you. That always gets bonus points from Stan!

Vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters unite in harmony — at Harmonium.

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