Signet Library, Parliament Square, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1RF
  • Telephone 0131 225 0651
  • Food served Lunch Mon–Fri 11am–2pm; afternoon tea Sun–Fri 1–7pm. Closed Sat.
  • Average price £16 (set lunch)
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Opulent lunch or afternoon tea in a hushed library; elegant, delicious and excellent value.

Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2016 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

This review is taken from the current (2016) edition.

The Colonnades restaurant opened in 2015 in the Royal Mile’s grandly gorgeous Signet Library, described by George IV in 1822 as ‘the finest drawing room in Europe’. With its Corinthian columns, ornate gilded galleries and two-tier windows looking onto Parliament Hall, diners are surrounded by the legal tomes of the Advocates Library. The library is named for an ancient association of Scottish solicitors who are ‘Writers’ to Her Majesty’s Signet: look out for the monogramed Signetum or WS on the silver teapots, sugar tongs and salt cellars as well as the Signet Gin and Signet Blend tea. Lunch is a delicious, elegant affair. A haggis scotch egg, turnip carpaccio and remoulade, potato tuile and parsley aioli is followed by rich, meltingly soft beer-braised beef, spelt risotto, wild mushrooms and celeriac, and a harmonious dark chocolate and orange fondant, candied zest, snap and clementine sorbet. Later there’s an opulent afternoon tea: tiers of savoury and sweet treats, from beef wellington pie to blueberry and violet eclairs.

  • High point: Sublime smoked haddock and mull cheddar rarebit
  • Low point: Why did they wait so long to open?

Within the heart of the historic Signet Library in Edinburgh lies Colonnades, an elegant tea salon newly launched by award-winning café group and hospitality providers, Heritage Portfolio.

Located in an exquisitely calm location just a few paces away from the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Colonnades is set within the beautiful surroundings of the Lower Library which has been meticulously restored to its former glory. Tall fluted Corinthian columns line the salon surrounded by the gallery’s ornate balustrades in neo-classical style. Now you can enjoy the finest afternoon tea in Edinburgh, light lunches and breakfast amidst this most awe-inspiring of settings.

There’s a real sense of occasion when you take afternoon tea at Colonnades, from the moment our immaculately presented staff and maitre’d welcome you to your table, beautifully set with silver and linen, to guiding you through our selection of teas including our bespoke Signet Blend.

You’ll discover the finest seasonal ingredients in our sandwiches, delectable savouries and decadent cakes created by our resident pastry chef all presented on an elaborate silver tiered stand. We’ve an enticing range of champagnes, cocktails and soft drinks to add to your enjoyment. It’s how afternoon tea should be. And we think it’s the best afternoon tea in Edinburgh.

Text supplied by third party.

  • Private dining: Up to 32 covers
  • Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Halal options, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Free wi-fi
  • Capacity: 120
  • Open since: 2015 June
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 8
  • House wine: £22 per bottle