Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Elephant House

21 George IV Bridge
Open every day
Coffee: Their own blends
Also: Meals, cakes, beans
Coolness: Location in the Old Town (...and the Harry Potter connection if you're a fan)

The Elephant House (2♥) at  serves coffee, tea, alcohol and food - seven days a week.

From the moment you arrive you know their association with celebrities- a large sign on the front reads 'birthplace of Harry Potter' (JK Rowling wrote parts of her first Harry Potter book in this cafe). It also promotes it's association with Ian Rankin (author of 'Rebus' novels among many others) and Alexander McCall-Smith (author of No.1 Ladies Detective Agency novels, again among many others).

They've copied bits out of Ian Rankin's novels and stuck them on their pin board where his character drops into the Elephant House in case you'd missed that connection. 
And also haven't missed the opportunity to note that while JK Rowling started writing Harry Potter at the Elephant House, she finished up at the Balmoral Hotel on Princes Street- just a little more upmarket!
It is this celebrity connection that explains the usually long queue, comprised mainly of tourists, that starts where you place your order and snakes out the door and down the street.

So, after all that, the coffee...It's OK. Too hot for our liking but not scalding. They take care but there are no distinguishing features.

The staff are friendly but you don't have much to do with them - you place your order and pay at the counter. Due to the queue and the way they're set up, you can expect to take a long time to get your beverage (or food).

On the more positive side, it has a nice relaxed vibe where you could definitely kick back and relax, unharassed, reading a book/newspaper or penning your own best-selling seven part novel series that could be turned into eight blockbusting movies.

They have a large menu that includes pizzas, soup, nachos, salads, lasagne and cakes. They're also licensed if you feel like wine, prosecco or whisky.

If you're serious about your coffee, you can do better in Edinburgh. If you're not in a hurry, this is a nice spot to while away a few hours.


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