The Secret Herb Garden
A vibrant portfolio business, The Secret Herb Garden was put together over winter 2013 by young couple Hamish Martin and Liberty Kidd. Across seven and a half acres of raised beds and polytunnels, they are growing and supplying herbs, honey from their beehives and - when they fruit for the first time - peaches, pears and apricots, with an orchard in development. Aspiring beekeepers and herbalists can sign up to courses at the garden, and a herbalist treatment room offers homeopathy. They are collaborating with a number of other artisan businesses to make their own pale ale, to supply the peppermint for one of Pekoe's teas, and the honey for Edward & Irwyn's honey chocolate. This they also sell in their pretty cafe and shop, alongside fruit and veg, bread, smoked meat and fish and other food and gardening bits and bobs. If the little cafe is full, you can take your quiche and excellent cake out to the glasshouse, and occupy one of the comfy sofas there. You can also find them at Morningside and Stockbridge's farmers' markets (see their social media for dates), where they sell herbs, teas, bees wax candles, honey chocolate, seeds and vintage tools.
In the valley off Old Pentland Road, the café at The Secret Herb Garden is a peaceful haven, with a simple chalkboard menu listing the food made on-site. It's a popular spot for nursery customers as well as those just in search of a quiet place to relax. Lunch offers soup of the day, quiche and salad, plus there's a wide selection of homemade cakes and a variety of teas (many made from herbs grown in the nursery and dried on the premises). Tomato, lentil and basil soup is as filling as it is comforting, while roast pepper, parsley and feta quiche is packed with flavour and served with leaves grown on-site. The blue and white enamel mugs and plates on which everything is served add a touch of vintage charm. Customers are also free to move from the café to the nursery itself, either to sit at the trestle tables in the large greenhouses (which are also used for full moon dinners during the summer months) or the old school-room, where the Aga keeps away the chill in colder months.
- Private dining: 15-20 in the schoolhouse
- Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: 0
- Live entertainment: Workshops and events including popular Full-moon dinners which are held during the summer months. It is also a wedding venue
- Capacity: 20 (40+ in the glass house, 20 in the schoolhouse and 14 on the veranda)
- Largest group: 40-60
- Open since: 2013
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 3
- House wine: £13.50 per bottle