It’s a wee while since I’ve added to my Edinburgh Guide category here on Everything Looks Rosie, but there are so many great new places that have sprung up in recent months that I thought an update was long overdue. I’ve been exploring further afield recently and I thought that rather than trying to stay ahead of the curve by going to the opening of every new Edinburgh eatery (I do have a very busy full time job, after all!) I plan to keep adding to my curated edit of some of my personal favourite Edinburgh spots in a series of Friday posts: new finds, regular haunts and places whose vision and ethos I genuinely share.
And where better place to start than the Century General Store’s new sibling shop turned eatery in Abbeyhill? I first blogged about the Century General Store when my local Marchmont branch opened two years ago – my goodness how time flies. The company has clearly found its niche and business has been flourishing, as recently the store opened its second, bigger incarnation in Abbeyhill: a hub for community collaboration and creativity.
The Abbeyhill store opened in January and as it isn’t as local to me, up until recently whenever I was nearby I was always on some sort of other mission and so hadn’t yet got round to a visit. On one of my weekend pilgrimages to the monthly vintage fair nearby a few weeks ago, I managed to take the time out for a proper trip to see the new shop – and it was certainly worth waiting for, as its bright, airy interior alone is sheer inspiration. The new shop is a hop, skip and jump from Arthur’s Seat and Easter Road in an impressive white building, Montrose House, complete with tall windows and even a turret.
So what’s the Century General Store all about? Both shops specialise in everyday products for “tenement living”: you’ll find everything from fresh bread to plants, speciality magazines to teapots. The selection of homeware, interior accessories and gifts is practical as well as pretty, with a modern vintage feel. Retro enamelware lines the shelves alongside contemporary copper trays. Things you need like balls of string and stationery sit next to things you didn’t even know you needed: macramé plant holders, paper straws… and did I mention those copper trays? Timeless, functional and reasonably priced – if you like the look of it then you can purchase online through their shop, delivering throughout the UK.
It’s a diverse yet carefully curated selection with the day-to-day bits alongside the more decorative – and all with a sense of fun. As well as well-known staple brands such as Falcon enamel and Prices candles (to name two favourites!) the Century General Store is big on supporting other local businesses: you’ll find beautiful blooms from talented Pyrus Flowers and homemade bread and pastries from North Berwick-based Bostock Bakery. This is one of my big loves about the store and adds to the local, collective feel: when I shop here I feel like I’m really putting something straight back into the community.
I love my original, local wee shop with its cute coffee nook and bijoux interior but whenever I pass its sister in Abbeyhill I’m going to make a point of stopping by. It’s spacious and there’s so much going on there too, so the excuse for a post-shopping coffee and cake pitstop or even one of the store’s special brunches in collaboration with Kitchen East, who they share the space with, is too tempting. In fact the Abbeyhill store is making a name for itself as a space for collaboration – such as upcoming wax carving jewellery workshop with Scottish business Carve. I can’t wait to see more of their future ventures.
On our trip I could have happily left with a gorgeous terrarium and copper mirrors in tow to name but two, but I restrained myself and made do with a lovely latte and the most amazing apple and cinnamon Bostock bakery bun; almost as big as my head it was the most deliciously light and spicy bun I’ve tasted in the capital. Al had a tomahawk coffee, which was also a revelation. We will most definitely be back soon.
Where’s your favourite independent shopping spot where you live?