My mission from my editor: to find a summery restaurant, preferably with outside seating. My problem: I don't like the sun. It makes me twitchy, blotchy and sweaty.
Eating in the fresh air isn't my bag, either, as the wasps and gulls tend to eye up my food. At a barbecue, I'll be the pink party pooper in the shady patch, with my feet cooling in the birdbath.
So, after wandering along al-fresco hotspots George Street and Broughton Street, past outdoor diners who'd been rendered the colour of raspberry ripple ice-cream, I decided to do lunch at Broughton Deli. Although it doesn't have any pavement chairs, they do offer a mean line in salads, while the interior has recently undergone a minor makeover that's left it looking suitably fresh.
My boyfriend Rolf, sister, Louisa, and I found a wobbly pair of pews in the rear ante-chamber, at a table that was covered with a sticky gingham PVC tablecloth.
Up on the daily specials board were the oddly wintry choices of a hot lamb dish or smoked haddock Moroccan stew (6.50 each). No chance, as we were already sweating buckets. Instead, I went for the organic smoked salmon platter (7.65), junior chose the crepe (6.50) and my other half went for the tart of the day (6.50). The latter two options came with a choice of salads from a selection.
My lunch, served on a wooden board, featured three slices of springy germagrain bread with a gorgeous flour-dusted nutty crust. Beside that were five ruby-red slices of Martin Wishart's organic smoked salmon, alongside a ramekin of marscapone, plus lemon wedges, butter and a pile of rocket that was drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It was just what the doctor ordered, simple and pretty faultless.
My sister's option was good too. Her stilton, Parma ham and tomato pancake was folded into a tight little origami envelope, with a generous amount of each filling slotted inside. It was very rich, though – as you'd expect from her bespoke salty combination. Thus, she had to muster the strength to finish her salads of raisin-dotted couscous and an aubergine, radish and goat's cheese mixture, both of which were good, if a little underseasoned.
Unfortunately, Rolf's artichoke, Parma ham and caramelised-onion shortcrust tart, which was the grey-brown hue of a Birkenstock insole, wasn't the most attractive of courses. However, it tasted much better than it looked. "Nice, if a bit heavy on the onion," was his comment.
He also enjoyed his side dishes, which included a leftover-esque tangle of spaghetti strands and tomato, and another of mozzarella blobs, peppers and spinach leaves.
For pud, we all "ooh-ed" and "aah-ed" over the extensive cake selection on the front counter. Looking closer, however, a couple of the options, including a pineapple tart, looked a little jaded – thanks, perhaps, to its scorchio window-side position. So, Louisa and I decided to share the perkiest-looking of their off-the-peg offerings – a square of chocolate truffle cake (2.95) and a slice of grape sponge (2.95), while Rolf opted for a crepe with lemon and sugar (3.50).
Broughton Deli is usually a failsafe destination for gateaux. But maybe they've lost their mojo, as the coconut-dusted chocolate square, which contained whole almonds and hazelnuts, wasn't hugely superior to a supermarket traybake, while the sponge slice was rather heavy and in need of cream.
My other half wasn't that pleased with his rather underdone pancake, either, which made for a slightly disappointing finish to an otherwise excellent lunch. Still, it could have been worse; at least we weren't sitting outside in the sun.
7 Barony Street,
(0131-558 7111, www.broughton-deli.co.uk)
How much? Lunch for three, excluding drinks 30.05
Three to try
72 Nitshill Road, Glasgow (0141-423 1411, www.cookiescotland.com)
This multifaceted venue consists of a deli, caf, restaurant and cook school. A special mention must be given to the desserts.
The Richmond Street Deli
65 Richmond Street, Aberdeen (01224 636598, www.therichmondstreetdeli.co.uk)
Sit in or take away from this little deli, which offers a range of organic produce, as well as WiFi and a book exchange.
The Little Italian Shop
33 Bell Street, St Andrews, Fife (01334 478 396)
If you're in the mood for a picnic, visit this shop. There isn't space to sit in, but you can take away something special.
• This article was first published in The Scotsman on Saturday, June 12, 2010