66 Hamilton Pl
Espresso, pour over, batch brew
Also: breakfasts, savoury food and baking
|Coolness: Coffee heaven a stone's throw from St Stephen's Street boutique shops|
Fortitude's Stockbridge cafe opened in February 2020 and we ventured along in the lashing rain to see how they could build on the great reputation of their well-established York Place café and coffee roasting business.
As soon as we entered we felt it was very promising! They have kept the lovely tiled walls but have opened out the interior, creating an airy and warm space showcasing a chic long wooden bench filled with gleaming built-in coffee making equipment. This positioning of the coffee equipment at counter top level helps maintain the feeling of spaciousness and the Scandinavian influenced furniture gives the shop a lovely feel. Coffee geeks will quickly clock the Modbar under counter espresso machine - cutting edge tech that's currently a rare find in Scotland. The time and thought spent developing the interior (previously occupied by Ronde Cafe/Cycles) has absolutely paid off.
Opening a cafe in an area already well populated with cafes might seem risky. Niall the manager pointed out that while Stockbridge may be full of cafes, only a few (such as Artisan Roast) are coffee specialists so there's room to address the unmet demand for high quality coffee. While Stockbridge already has a strong base including the Sunday Markets, he sees it's "on the up in terms of high quality food and drink".
What their second, larger shop offers Fortitude is the opportunity to expand the food and coffee offering. As well as a range of breakfast options, a tasty range of sandwiches are on offer, Union of Genius soups and baking supplied by artisan French bakery Au Gourmand. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free choices are also featured on the menu. Our grilled cheese sandwich with pickle was ideal fare for such inclement weather.
At time of visiting the main espresso coffee was El Sauce-Peruvian - towards the fruitier end - and our meticulously made cortados were a treat. The other espresso on offer was a National Colombian and there were three pour over options and one batch brew.
While coffee lovers are spoilt for choice, tea drinkers will enjoy the Good & Proper leaf teas. The shop also sells coffee making paraphernalia and Fortitude branded products (reusable cups etc).
Niall and his team enjoyed a "good first day despite the horrendous weather". We have no doubt that Fortitude will make a success of their venture Northwards.
Review and photo by Charlie Ellis & Eva Vaporidis
More: Fortitude Coffee Instagram