Culinary Stops

J. K. Rowlings' Breakfast at 'The Elephant House' in Birmingham

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J. K. Rowlings' Breakfast at 'The Elephant House' in Birmingham

A perfect breakfast spot for those who love wizards and simple breakfasts. Having opened in 1995, The Elephant House is one of Edinburgh’s best cafés, where you can have a proper cappuccino and an excellent croissant – the kind of continental breakfast popular with Italians.

Especially the ones who, like myself, find themselves guests at the nearby four-star hotel where, at seven in the morning, the proposed breakfast includes toast with scrambled eggs, sausages of all shapes and sizes – some as black as night – and all kinds of pork products in clear, transparent casings lined up neatly on silver, oval trays, bubbling in their pinkish sauces.

Some guests, when confronted with a breakfast like this, open the lids, close the lids, and then head straight to a proper café for a small, “normal” breakfast. And that’s exactly what the Elephant House is for.

But of course, it’s not just the croissant that makes the place famous. When I was there in 1998, J.K. Rowlings had only been famous for a few years and the movie based on her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone had just been released. It was exciting to sip a cappuccino in the same place where Rowling hand-wrote much of what was going to become the first bestselling instalment of what would eventually become a worldwide, magical phenomenon.

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