Living in Scotland’s largest city has it’s perks when it comes to being a foodie! Glasgow is packed with anything and everything you can think of stuffing your face with, so I am super biased when I say it’s the best city in Scotland for foodies! Although Glasgow is my go to city for cuisine, now and then I would decide to drive up to Edinburgh for the weekend to see what the capital city has to offer! Of course traveling and eating go hand in hand for the little piggy in me, so I’ve always been the type to try and find famous small businesses to hit up when I am touring any city. I believe sampling local cuisine exposes you to the local culture, so why not dig in!? My Scottish Blogger friend who lives in Edinburgh posted about an awesome wee spot in Old town with a killer view of the Castle called The Elephant House. I actually did not know much about this café and it’s history until I decided to do some research through my beloved Instagram after my girlfriend recommended it on her blog. I was searching hashtags (because #Hashtags make the world go round these days) #edinburghcafe & a delicious looking cappuccino popped up with a title: “Birthplace of Harry Potter” which drew me in right away because a.) I’m a big fan of the book series & b.) I’m a serious coffee addict.
A quick walk through the rain (because Scotland) from my hotel brought me face to face with the Cafe. Right when I saw it, I knew I would enjoy the view because it was located on George IV bridge which overlooked a good portion of the city including a wicked ass view of Edinburgh Castle! The front of the Cafe is painted in this nice blood red color and there is a poster of JK Rowling in the window which pulls you. It looks very small when you first enter and you worry if they are going to have room for you as there are only a few stools/chairs for window seating. However, as you get close to the counter you realize that there is a much larger seating area in the back of the café. The Elephant House differs from a lot of restaurants/cafes in that you have to wait in line to be served at the counter, hold your tray and then wait to be seated, rather than taking your seat and ordering from there. The menu was full of cute British and Scottish foods/pastries and a set of coffee drinks as well. Even though my coffee obsession was up in running hardcore that morning, I opted for the special of the day which was a lovely fresh mint tea and a slice of the homemade organic carrot cake. After paying things got a little tricky because the place was super PACKED! I felt like Louis CK in that one episode of LOUIE when he was hella hung over at the coffee shop (if you’ve seen this episode, we are now automatically best friends FYI!) The front of the cafe is first come first sit type of seating but the back room where JK Rowling sat and wrote the first few Harry Potter novels is assigned seating by a hostess. It seemed really crazy because we had no where to place our trays and had to stand holding it in that hectic crowded area while waiting to be seated. Defo had a few moments where the scalding hot tea was bumped on my tray, burned my hand and I played it off with a “I’m cool with that second degree burn… no biggy” face, as I died inside hard.
After 2 minutes we were seated with a group of rambunctious fun loving German tourists, which made me have a mini anxiety attack struggling with my semi introvert ways! I quickly pushed myself out of my comfort zone with my super American accent blurted out the only German I know “Hallo, Guten Tag!” (making everyone at our family table smile due to the fact I most likely pronounced it like a German preschooler) and started to relish in the ambiance of the room; The HARRY POTTER WRITING ROOM as I fan-girl named it! 🙂 It was a nice back room not a lot tables so the communal style seating with other customers is the only way to accommodate and perfect way to meet new people! A lot of writers sitting on laptops or writing on pieces of paper for inspiration which I thought was really cool. The best part was the view from the back windows; A perfect panoramic view of the city and Edinburgh Castle. Was it a coincidence that Hogwarts looks EXACTLY like Edinburgh Castle? I think not! The mint tea was lovely and fresh and the cake was the perfect amount of sweet with amazing cream cheese frosting. I decided to take a quick look into the bathroom where I was extremely surprised by the white walls covered in writing with heartfelt notes from fans all over the world thanking JK Rowling and complimenting the books! Wall to wall love and positive Energy! I really enjoyed the whole experience except for seating dilemma but that quickly vanished after a few minutes as you adapt to this “need to see once in my life” tourist spot. Great experience, good fresh food and sweet hipsteresque writing environment! Not bad Edinburgh 😉