Mathias and Marion Briard were kind enough to be our models for the front cover of our December print edition.
We happened upon them on Victoria Street when they had just finished work for the day, and then visited them at their café with some copies of the December paper which they are now handing out to friends and sending to family.
The Briards came to Scotland on holiday and fell in love with the country. They had thought of opening a café in Perth where they liked the countryside, but decided it was a better move to come to the capital where they hoped there would be more of a buzz and a readymade French community for them to become part of.
Mathias has worked in the restaurant business for just over a decade, owning a restaurant in Normandy, and they decided to open a café in Scotland so that they could live here. Now Le Petit Café is usually open Monday to Sunday 9am to 6pm offering up delicious freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee roasted in Kinross by Unorthodox Coffee and macarons from La Macaronnerie.
The lovely surroundings of Le Petit Café with its chandeliers are only surpassed by the specialities on their menu and which they change monthly. Their main offering is the french pizza – the galette – which is a pancake with savoury toppings. And they can also step in to fill the gap left by any ski holidays this year by serving you the sweet crêpes you might otherwise miss. You can get a free Nutella crepe with a purchase over £15 this week when ordering on Deliveroo.
After the success of the TV series, they offered the Emily in Paris breakfast for a while – and struck gold as it was not only popular with their customers – it also came to the notice of some of the actors in the programme and the costume designer through Instagram. But don’t worry – they plan to bring that back and there will be special celebrations in February too for Valentine’s Day.
With a staff of three in the kitchen plus themselves and a waitress at weekends, they pride themselves on training. All who work in Le Petit Café are multi-skilled, and Mathias is just as likely to prepare an omelette for you as well as being front of house. The café is still open for takeaway at present, although no-one can sit in during the current lockdown.
Marion studied communications and worked in a perfumier before the couple came to live in Scotland. She now runs the social media accounts where the little piece of La Belle France is fast coming to the attention of Edinburgh foodies. If you become a customer you are likely to go back – and to encourage you to do so there is a loyalty card scheme. Their prices are determinedly affordable, and the location next to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is right in the centre of the capital’s business district. And as a throwback to her involvement in perfume the café has its own scent – with a hint of coffee. Ask to try it when you are able to visit the Morrison Street shop.
While nobody can visit the café at the moment, there is always Deliveroo who will deliver the crêpes and galettes to you, including gluten free varieties, but you will be entranced by the sophisticated atmosphere which the couple has created once they are able to open the doors again.
If you are out walking your dog then feel free to take Fido by for a drink of water and a treat. This café is dog friendly too.