There’s no doubt about it. If you want soup in this city, there is only one place to go: Union of Genius. But don’t take my word for it – they have a whole rack of awards and accolades, judged by people far more worthy than I, that goes to show just how soupy their soup is.
I first discovered Union of Genius in a seemingly unrelated cafe a few miles away in Leith. I worked in an office nearby and every lunchtime without fail I would pop in to get my daily soup fix. The flavours were varied, exotic and unusual, ranging from bacon and butternut to caldo verde, but no matter what I chose, I always savoured every mouthful.
A couple of weeks of religious soup buying later, I realised the cafe didn’t actually make the soup I had been enjoying. In fact, it was made by the Union of Genius, which supplies soup to a whole bunch of cafes throughout Edinburgh, but also has its own cafe on Forrest Road.
I’ve moved jobs since then, so unfortunately I can’t get their soup on a daily basis any more, but whenever I find myself in town, I always pop in for a spot of lunch.
I’m not a fussy eater, but those with specific dietary requirements will find themselves taken care of here, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options available.
Union of Genius’ reputation is well established in Edinburgh, so if you come during lunchtime, be ready to fight for one of the few seats available, or be prepared to take away!
Last time I went, I was lucky enough to score the cosy alcove by the window – check out those colourful scatter cushions! The weather was horrible outside, so I couldn’t wait to get stuck in to some warm and comforting soup.
When you go up to the counter, you get the choice of six soups of the day and four breads on offer. If you’re struggling to decide (as I often do) and want to try a bit of everything, I highly recommend you try a “soup flight”, which gives you a taster of three soups and three breads:
I went for the Lebanese lentil, bacon and sweetcorn chowder and Moroccan harira. The bacon and sweetcorn chowder is a hearty and warm treat, but the Moroccan harira will always be my firm favourite, with its flavoursome aroma of tomatoes, onion and cumin. Another solid option is the caldo verde, made with chorizo and kale, and as far as I am aware it has been on the menu every day since the cafe opened.
If you get caught in a rainy day in Edinburgh, then be sure to make a stop at Union of Genius, a perfect antidote to the wet and soggy!
Union of Genius is at 7 Forrest Road, EH1 2QN. Plenty of buses go by, so you can get there directly on the 2, 23, 27, 35, 41, 42 and 47.