Caroline Walsh opened Archipelago Bakery in December 2013, after a background that includes helping set up and working as head chef at Loudon's Cafe & Bakery, training at Bread Matters and a head chef role at the Fruitmarket Cafe. Now she works full-time selling her artisan bread, cakes and savouries to retail and wholesale customers, using organic Shipton Mill flour and local ingredients where possible – she uses extra veg in her carrot cake, sweet potato brownies and parsnip, maple syrup & pecan cake, for example, to add natural sweetness, and foraged elderberries and brambles when seasonal. Breads include several sourdoughs, olive oil focaccia with toppings like thyme and roasted mushrooms or black olive and rosemary, and the best-selling Combine Harvester seeded loaf. Walsh does a good range of vegan and free-from baking, including gluten and dairy-free bread, gluten-free brownies, sugar-free banana bread (made with agave syrup), lots of gluten-free cakes and some 'free from everything' options: a date and banana loaf, fruit cake or flapjack free from eggs, dairy, wheat, gluten, sugar and nuts. Local deliveries are made on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, or orders can be made any day for collection (bar Sundays).
While strolling down the New Town’s Dundas Street, heavenly wafts of fresh bread will likely lure you into Archipelago Bakery. Georgian windows and an interior of pale tones and natural wood create a bright and welcoming space featuring an open-plan kitchen. Dedicated to her craft, owner Caroline Walsh starts her day at 4am to produce exceptionally flavoured and textured (and more easily digested) breads, thanks to a slow 24-hour fermentation process and organic flour. Around 10 to 12 breads are offered, including many sourdoughs and yeasted loaves, like the popular 'combine harvester', combining wholemeal spelt, oats, flax and sunflower seeds. Also operating as a small veggie café and takeaway, Archipelago provides continental breakfasts, and lunches of vibrant salads, stuffed baguettes, individual tarts, frittata and homemade soup. The cake counter brims with enticing offerings, many free-from and vegan, such as an indulgent date, chocolate and peanut butter slab. The homemade jams and chutneys, Mr Eion coffee and Jenier loose-leaf tea ensure high quality across the menu. Walsh also supplies her creations to other reputable establishments across Edinburgh.
- High point: The exceptional quality
- Low point: Closed on a Sunday
- Notable dish: Bread and cakes
- Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's portions, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Capacity: 10 (15 outdoors)
- Largest group: 4
- Open since: 2014