Heading off on the ultimate staycation, the Social Bitches have ventured an entire ten minutes west, and checked into the Chaumer. A fabulous New Town establishment boasting legendary food, wonderful cocktails, and sumptuous accommodation. Needless to say, it’s quite the bon voyage.
A cheeky high tea …
Despite having barely changed postcode, it’s an absolute pleasure to arrive at the Chaumer. Every nuance of this tea house, eatery & wine bar makes us feel like we’re stepping back into a simpler, but far more elegant time.
We’re also loving our gracious hosts Marianna and Paul. Full of charm and chat, they couldn’t be more welcoming. Within moments they’re also offering us food and cocktails. Hoohah!!
The latter arrives in a teapot, with flowers gently resting in its spout. Called a Mary Reville on the Rocks, it uses amaretto and bubbles to fabulous effect.
Sensing sobriety isn’t terribly high on our priority list, Paul points out the accompanying milk jug is also filled with amaretto. You know, just in case …
A few sips of this heavenly nectar – which, spoiler alert, we love – and Marianna arrives with our high tea. Three tiers of artisan sandwiches and cakes, all of which look mouthwatering.
Two types of homemade quiche – one with Broccoli & cheddar, the other Goat’s cheese & cherry tomato – get us off to a delicious start. We then greedily move on to the sandwiches.
The Smoked trout & cucumber with lemon & dill mayonnaise is a triumph. As is the bread by the way, a whole meal sourdough that has the perfect balance of texture and taste.
But it’s the Gardener’s sandwich that really has us clinking our Mary Revilles in appreciation. Its simple ingredients – avocado, goat’s cheese & baby spinach leaves – are a master class in less most definitely being more.
A quick refill of amaretto, and it’s time for the indulgence that can or break a high tea – the Scones. Containing apricot and date, these fine examples have both the moistness, and the hint of sweetness required to justify the words: perfect scone.
A generous dollop of cream, atop some of the finest raspberry jam we’ve tasted, and it’s fair to say we are utterly impressed.
Gone within moments, they’re followed by a gorgeous Sponge, dusted in icing sugar, and containing a tantalising layer of macerated strawberries.
Mind you, best in show has to be the Carrot cake. Wonderfully moist, surprising spicy, and cream cheese icing par excellence. Our favourite cake in the world, we LOVE the Chaumer’s take on it.
But unable to eat another bite, or resist ordering a bottle a wine – a cheeky Gewurztraminer from Alsace – we sit back, breathe out, and appreciate the wonderful environment we find ourselves in.
Old school without ever being stuffy, the food, the cocktails, and the service are all impeccable. The building also catches the late afternoon sun, making it a great spot to people watch, and drink wine. Maybe even more than one bottle …
And so to bed …
Several hours, and bottles, later … we’re finally ready to investigate the other feather in the Chaumer’s cap, its bespoke accommodation. A decadent guest suite for two called the Abide, that fully embraces the New Town vibe.
We drop our designer luggage, and fall instantly in love with the drama, The furniture is antique. The walls are painted a deep, dark green. And the massive bay window is framed by a pair of gorgeous velvet curtains, mustard in colour.
Meanwhile there are curiosities everywhere you look. From antlers and peacocke feathers, to a crystal whisky decanter with matching tray – topped up, and there for us guests to indulge.
Again there’s a lovely feeling of stepping back into the past, but all the mod-cons are here too.
The technology’s hidden inside the furniture, the WiFi works a treat, the toiletries are absolutely divine, and the bed more than meets the Social Bitches’ extremely high standards of comfort.
The credit for designing this marvellous room goes to the Chaumer’s owner Vixy Rae. She’s also one of the creatives behind Stewart Christie next door, the oldest bespoke tailor in Scotland. Founded, in fact, in 1720.
So clearly, good taste is a theme here [ yes, pun intended. ]
Celebrating Vixy’s wonderful work, we open yet another bottle of wine. After all, with guests such as us, it’s not just the decor that’s decadent.
All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast …
Suddenly … it’s ten in the morning, the wine’s long gone, and somehow so is the whisky. We’ve had a great night, and a great sleep. Even so, we feel a little, well, let’s just say … delicate.
Fortunately, Mariana and Paul get up a long before we do, and are poised, ready to take our breakfast order. We’d like to hug them tightly, and profess our undying love, but social distancing prevents us.
So instead we ask for triple shot flat whites, and stagger to our usual table. The coffee – using beans from the fab Williams & Johnson – is faultless. Happily, so is breakfast.
Combining the notion of full Scottish with a tasting platter vibe, there’s smashed avocado, smoked salmon, Puddledub bacon and eggs any way you please. On the side, thinly slices cucumber with olive oil and fennel. As expected, it’s utterly delicious.
We take our time, enjoying the many lovely fresh tastes this dish has to offer. After all, this is officially our 2020 summer holiday. So if anyone so much as whispers the word wine, well, there’s every chance we may never leave …
Reviewed August 2020
61 Queen Street
0131 466 7458