- Box office 0131 466 0100
- General enquiries 0131 466 0100
- Food served Mon–Sun 5–11pm.
- Average price Mezze dip platter £8.95; Veg mezze platter £9.95; Hot mezze platter £10.95 (set lunch); £16 (evening meal)
- Website www.empirescafe.co.uk
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This review is taken from the current (2013) edition.
It would be easy to wander past the narrow St Mary’s Street frontage of Empires. However, an inquisitive peer inside reveals a compact dark-wood interior that comes to life when illuminated by candles and coloured lanterns. A handful of ground-level tables nestle beneath a hovering mezzanine dining deck decorated with armfuls of Turkish trinkets imported by owner Osman. The menu is fairly tight, with moussaka and delicately spiced kofte meatballs and a range of mainly vegetarian mezze plates. On the whole this is tasty, honest fare that is simple to prepare and quick to turn around. Hummus, dolma and falafel share equal billing with the splendid acili, a tomato-rich dip with toasted hazelnuts bringing welcome texture and chilli bite. Feta stuffed peppers add a further hint of heat to sit alongside patlican, a velvety medley of aubergine, tomato and peppers. A loyal fan base generates a good buzz across both evening sittings, with those in the know bringing an extra bottle or two to linger over the weekend live music.
- High point: Straightforward, tasty dishes in a cosy environment
- Low point: Some hot starters can be a bit lukewarm
- Private dining: Up to 16 covers
- Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Gluten-free options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Live music, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Cd's of live musicians
- Capacity: 35 comfortably - 40 if friends
- Largest group: 40
- Open since: 2005
- BYOB: £3; beer 50p corkage
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