Union of Genius

Union of Genius
8 Forrest Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2QN
  • Telephone 0131 226 4436
  • Opening times Mon–Fri 8.30am–4pm; Sat noon–4pm.
  • Seasonal times During the Fringe: Mon–Fri 9am–9pm; Sat/Sun 11.30am–9pm.
  • Food served Mon–Fri 9am–4pm; Sat noon–4pm. Closed Sun.
  • Average price £7 (lunch)
  • Email
  • Website www.unionofgenius.com
Photo of Union of Genius
in association with
Birra Moretti
Union of Genius

Edinburgh’s first soup café takes locally sourced ingredients to create wholesome, comforting, better-than-homemade soups.

Eating & Drinking Guide

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Since 2011, Union of Genius has established itself as THE ethical soup place in the capital, with many of Edinburgh’s finest cafés proudly serving their creations. A crowd-funding success story, their small, bustling café operates mainly as a takeaway, with just a few bar stools and a sharing table. The daily-changing menu features six soups, ranging from meat to vegan, with enticing flavours such as caldo verde (kale, chorizo and potato), or sweet potato, coconut and tamarind. Three salads, Stromboli (stuffed bread), vegan chilli and cakes, are also offered; main allergens are highlighted, and gluten and dairy-free options widely available. On weekday lunchtimes, their vintage Citroën van serves soup and hotpots in nearby George Square, too. Get rewarded with complimentary soup for returning or using your own packaging, or purchase a suspended soup/coffee for someone in need, and enjoy supporting a community enterprise that donates hundreds of litres of soup monthly to charity.

  • High point: Special dietary requirements well catered for
  • Low point: Deciding between the soups
  • Notable dish: Soup
  • Average price: £7 (lunch)

Union of Genius is Scotland's first soup café, providing six different home-made soups with matching artisan breads every day. The soup can be taken away or eaten in and all packaging is recycled and compostable.

Guaranteed minimum of one vegan soup every day and usually at least half of the soups are vegetarian or vegan. Nearly all soups are gluten-free (never thickened with flour or corn starch) and there are various gluten-free alternatives to bread available.

Also offered is coffee from Artisan Roast, gluten-free and vegan cakes from Love Pure Cakes, artisnal bread from Dough Re Mi, gourmet hot chocolates from Coco and Chocolate Tree and a wide-range of other snacks and drinks including bottled water from Belu Water which provides all profits to Water Aid. All packaging is compostable and recycled packaging and a recycling loyalty scheme is in operation that rewards customers for bringing back their packaging.

Text supplied by third party.

  • Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's portions, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Old-school music
  • Capacity: 10
  • Open since: 2011

Reviews & features

Best cafés in Edinburgh

16 Apr 2018

From tea and coffee to cake and pastries, these Edinburgh hotspots do café culture right

Edinburgh's thriving independent café scene has put the Scottish capital on the coffee map. From the wee artisan to the established branches, you're never more than a few blocks away from the ideal flat white or the perfect laid-back brunch spot. With…

Halloween recipe: make your own Devilled Pumpkin Soup

15 Oct 2013

Elaine Mason, head soupmonger at Union of Genius, offers a warm way to spice up your autumn

I usually use Crown Prince pumpkins, or the little bright orange winter squash called Uchiki Kuri. If the only pumpkin you can find is the big ones people buy for carving, I'd suggest mixing that pumpkin with butternut squash 50:50 – those biggies have…