I love trying new things for my blog – like hanging from the ceiling in a bit of fabric, running around the city in the dark and rain, a day in the spa (if I must!!) …… but sometimes I forget to blog about the healthy places that have become part of my routine. Hula Juice Bar on West Bow at the Grassmarket is one of those places. The laid back vibe, friendly welcome, free wi-fi and great selection of juices, smoothies, salads (my favourites), soups, wraps, bagels, cakes, coffees… make it a no-brainer choice when I’m out and about in the old town.
But this week I wasn’t heading out for the filling, fresh salads, I was doing a 3 day juice cleanse. I like to juice and I had a few days to myself so didn’t have to worry about cooking for others so the timing was perfect. I have a juicer at home but don’t want to be tied to the house when I do a juice day (or 2 or 3) and thanks to the great selection healthy cafes – or at least quite a few that do healthy options amongst the cakes and coffees I can go out in Edinburgh and find fresh juice. So after walking around town for hours (and hours since my last juice!!), I was ready for a fresh juice pick-me up. My pace quickened as I jogged down the steps of the Vennel – pausing only to take a pic – I think it’s one of my favourite views of the castle…
I knew I was getting closer – to the juice and to the toilets (well I was drinking juice all day!!). I dodged the crowd that had gathered around the buskers,
turned the corner and saw the sign I was waiting for, like an oasis in the dessert…
You get a sense of the “Hula-Vibe” before you even enter the door. Naturally weathered wooden tables, bright colours that have softened with time are all signs that Hula wasn’t ‘designed’ but has ‘evolved’ into being the best cafe in Edinburgh (it’s official!! according to Skinny Magazine).
This fun, friendly, funky style with it softened edges continues inside with great big black boards letting me know what scrummy juices I can choose from along with displays of sandwiches and cakes (which I try very hard NOT to look at directly….must drink juice, must drink juice…..).
The juices on the menu all sound great, especially since at home I don’t follow a ‘recipe’ I just bung in the fruit and veg, forget that red (beets) and green make brown and end up drinking a tasty but murky looking concoction, but since this is my ‘meal’ I think I need a little more oomph than what’s on the menu. So I mention to the girl at the counter that I’m on a cleanse and suddenly everyone at the back is on hand to give advice and come up with a juice that will be alkalising , filling and delish. Some of the options aren’t on the blackboard because it depends on what fresh veg they have that day – so always good to ask! I was so excited when ‘fennel’ was mentioned – it’s one of my favourite veggies for juice or salads and not normally offered at a juice bar. The best thing about getting my custom juice was that it was made with years of experience combined with an obvious love of juicing and faith in the nutrients held within. Hula also use this experience to organise their own juice cleanses. They know what combinations work for taste and for providing nutrients and keeping you feeling full and satisfied. If you want to try juicing but don’t have a juicer, or want to try new flavor combinations, juice with a group and have a bit of support you may want to give a Hula Juice Cleanse a go.
Now back to my juice!!! After putting in my order for a large juice with carrot, beet, ginger, fennel and apple, I made myself at home at one of the many tables, sat-down, connected-up to the free wi-fi, and checked out the resident artist.
You see, Hula isn’t just a cafe – it’s also an art gallery. They change exhibitions monthly and right now they are exhibiting prints from one of my local favourites, The Edinburgh Sketcher! I’ve loved following his facebook page and the ‘Where Art I’ game where you have to guess where that picture is from and I’ve even sent out Edinburgh Sketcher Christmas cards. The ‘Where Art I’ game is part of the exhibit and if you can guess correctly you are in with a chance to win a print!!
Just before my tummy rumbling got too loud, my juice was brought to my table – and unlike my murky concoctions – this was resplendent – a jewel-like ruby colour, which looked as bright and vibrant as it tasted.
As I sipped my juice and caught up on all my social media sites, I also couldn’t help but hear some of the conversations going on around me (OK maybe I eavesdropped – a little). I couldn’t help but smile when I heard lots of people coming in and ordering juice – and not just the sweet fruity ones – but specifically asking for ‘as green as you’ve got’ – I guess the juicing ‘bug’ is spreading! And of course the Hula staff were up for every challenge, not only helping with juice and smoothie combinations but also taking the time to explain the options and the benefits. I was also impressed by the mix of clientele – young and trendy, older and sophisticated, and the middle aged blogger types (a-hem..).
I tried to make slow work of my juice but eventually I neared the bottom of my cup – and what a special cup it was!! At Hula – even the cups are guilt free! Supplied by Edinburgh’s very own eco-friendly packaging company, Vegware.
But do you want to know the BEST thing about going out for my juice??? Someone else had to clean out the juicer!!!!!