Dining at Harmonium: review of Edinburgh’s first fully vegan restaurant

I speak about the extensive choice of restaurants and cafes available to vegans living in or visiting Glasgow. Maybe the vegan scene over in the biggest city of Scotland has been established for longer? There is no doubt in my mind though that Edinburgh is quickly catching up which makes vegans in the capital city (including me) very happy! There are many more places I’m still catching up on writing reviews for, but with meeting friends at places to eat that I haven’t had the chance to visit and even more new places popping up, it’s more of a catch up game to try and keep up with supply!

If you’ve been to Glasgow, you’ll know that there are several established vegan pub restaurants like Mono, Stereo and Flying Duck to name a few. Now the company behind those establishments have recognised a demand for vegan restaurants in Edinburgh and earlier in the summer opened Harmonium in Leith.

If you’ve been to Mono, Stereo, Flying Duck or The Old Hairdressers, you’ll know that the range of dishes they offer already tempt your taste buds from reading the menu. They aren’t exotic sounding dishes either, preferring to stick with classic and old favourite dishes, like mac’n’cheese, burritos, subs or quesadillas, that are familiar but with a vegan twist.

Harmonium is a lovely open plan space with a big window for serving from the kitchen. Everything is clearly visible and it creates a sense of harmony to have everyone in the same space, even with some tables being on a raised platform, so you don’t feel quite so secluded. With high ceilings and tall windows, the natural light filtering in creates a nice and warm atmosphere while in the evenings, the dim lighting gives an intimate environment for dining.

All dishes, sauces and products on the menu are vegan and free from animal-derived products, so vegans can rest assured that we don’t need to be worrying about whether we need to take the sauce or an ingredient out of the dishes!

Window to the kitchen

Baked treats at the bar

We visited not long after it opened and even now it can still get quite busy so I would highly recommend booking. The menu is quite extensive and offers you a wide range of choice from burgers, pizzas and pastas to scrumptious starters. Each dish is also quite generously proportioned so if going for lunch, make sure to leave plenty of room in your tummy!

Side dish of harissa baked cauliflower with za’atar, pomegranate, coriander seed, mint, dill, parsley, lemon and almond

Harmonium 1/4 pounder seitan burger with classic burger sauce, diced white onions, beef tomato and crispy lettuce

Mac’n’cheese with sweet potato fries (you can also choose a slice of garlic bread instead of fries)

Filet o’ to-fish (tofu in crispy beer batter) with tartare sauce, diced white onions, beef tomato and crispy lettuce

Philly cheesesteak pizza with ground hot ‘beef’, mixed peppers, white onion, fresh parsley and Philly cheese sauce

Wild mushroom, kale, truffle oil and crispy aubergine ‘bacon’ rigatoni with walnut parmesan

On another occasion, my friend came to visit and I had to bring her with me to dine again at Harmonium. Photos aren’t quite as clear in the dim lighting in the evening, but the food was as delicious as ever.

Pan seared king oyster mushroom scallops with crispy chorizo, sage butter and leaf

Mac’n’cheese with garlic bread

On both occasions, I visited Harmonium with different friends and everyone enjoyed every morsel. This is fast becoming one of my favourite restaurants where you feel like you need to return frequently so you can try every dish on the menu. The mac’n’cheese is exactly how I remembered the dairy cheese version, so the vegan version is a strong contender for non-vegans. I especially loved the pan seared king oyster mushroom scallops, the texture is lovely and you wouldn’t have thought that these ‘scallops’ are made by cutting round medallion slices from the big stem of these funghi! I’ve also been told that the pizza and burgers are wonderful and you wouldn’t really be able to notice the difference between the seitan patty from omni burgers.

Last but not least, we of course had to try their desserts.

Rhubarb and peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream (or vanilla custard) and sugar ring doughnut

Seabuckthorn and chocolate cheesecake with vanilla ice cream

I ordered the cheesecake and loved the contrast between the tangy flavour of the seabuckthorn with the rich dark chocolate. It seems unfortunately that seabuckthorn (a berry found widely across Europe and Asia) is another fruit – alongside rhubarb – that I have an intolerance for. I’m normally quite fussy with my dessert and am not a big fan of fruit with my chocolate in cakes, but I thoroughly enjoyed the rich cheesecake a lot and would highly recommend it. If you’re looking for something a bit more familiar as a comfort food, the rhubarb and peach cobbler is also lovely with the crunchy crumble topping.

Harmonium is quite near the Shore and can be found at 60 Henderson Street, EH6 6DE. I would highly recommend calling ahead on 0131 555 3160 to book, or use their online booking system here.

Have you been to Harmonium? What are your thoughts? Did you have any favourite dishes?

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