A new contender has appeared! Seated on Roseneath Street (opposite the Earl of Marchmont) The Institute is a tea shop with a difference. Quite a few, actually.
For one thing, it's just tea. No coffee. Sure, this may change if the punters demand their morning ristretto loud enough but for the time being it's just a vast selection of teas and a small selection of very pretty cakes. Often served with teeny tiny cleavers.
It's the brainchild of the 'provocative' photographer Gavin Evans and Kamikaze, a circus performer with a passion for tea. They wanted to have somewhere to hang out and hang nice art so they made one. Either as a gallery or a tea-erie it would be justifiable but having both together is most excellent.
At the moment the walls are peppered with Evans' work, but these are soon to be auctioned off and replaced with new work. One advantage of having such unusual pieces on display is that there are few 'yummy mummies' or gangs of children to be found in the shop.
There is WiFi to be had, and a few sockets which are free to use if you can grab them. The seating and lighting, while basic, does the job.
The place is open til 1730 or 1900 depending on the day and if you can guarantee at least 15 people they are bookable from 1900-2300 any night, which is rather exciting.
It's certainly worth a look. So far it's not too busy but this may change as word spreads. If nothing else you should pop in to see the art and have some tea.