COMMUNITY SERVICE A new street food hub is breathing life into Leith’s abandoned railway arches. Suzy Pope discovers a place with people in mind


Beloved Edinburgh cocktail bar Bramble is ripping it up and starting again with a complete menu redesign. A frequent entry on ‘best bars in the world’ lists, this Queen Street icon has stuck to the same crowdpleasing Celery Sours and Campbeltown Cocktails since opening in 2006. After two years of development in their R&D space, their new menu is ready to go. Glasgow’s fermented tea specialists, Clever Kombucha, recently finished a successful crowdfund to expand their brewery into a full-blown taproom and event space. Situated near the Citz, it’s due to open in March with drinks on tap to sample and take away in refillable bottles, plus Culture Club, a seasonal food and drink experience.


in fairy


I n the cavernous belly of the old arches a new on Manderston Street, place for Edinburgh’s street food pedlars insides of Leith to gather. The lights, giving Arches are dappled everything a look. A solid rotation of street food vans park up outside. From bao buns to poke bowls, cupcakes to artisan pasta, each weekend sees something totally different served in the alfresco area out front. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to see the latest vendors to fill the parking spaces.

thrown-together, laid-back

The team behind Leith Arches have a history of rescuing neglected buildings in the capital having renovated the Old Chain Pier pub, Bar Brig and Hare of the Dog. Leith Arches will be no exception. Formerly an abandoned space beneath the old Caledonian railway line, this forgotten corner of Leith Walk now has a buzzing street food venue at its core. Craft beer from Brewdog and Drygate is served in (biodegradable) plastic cups. A light and hoppy Bearface lager is the perfect pairing with relaxed conversation between friends. For something more substantial, Nourish@ are always in residence, serving up vegan café food.


6 Manderston Street, Leith, EH6 8LY, Street Food & Bar: Fri 5–10pm; Sat/Sun 10am–10pm

Their curried vegetable pie has crisp pastry and a hit of spice that warms the back of the throat. The pulled jackfruit wrap is spicy and smoky, deliciously filling and works wonderfully with a dollop of refreshing guacamole on the side. Cakes and bakes offer loads of gluten-free options. The apple and almond cake is a stodgy slice of goodness that you don’t even have to feel guilty about. Winter months see the roar of industrial heaters inside and fleecy blankets on the back of every chair, while summer nights are made for the cluster of chairs and tables around the food trucks and the secret beer garden out back.

Live music and community events take place throughout the year, but pop along any night they’re open and you might find a guy in a hoodie tinkling away on the upright piano. Leith Arches is a welcome addition to the area where its ethos and atmosphere fits in perfectly with Leith’s rough and ready charm.

+ A welcome revitalisation of the arches on Manderston Street

- Beer garden/smoking area feels unfinished

Nourish@ Arches Café: Mon–Thu 8am–4pm; Fri 8am–10pm; Sat 10am–10pm; Sun 10am–8pm

Average cost of two course lunch/dinner: £8 50 THE LIST 1 Feb–31 Mar 2020