I’ve arrived in Edinburgh bright and early, eager to set off on a full day of sightseeing. At the same time, the disappointingly small breakfast served aboard my train from London has left me feeling a bit peckish. What’s a starving lad to do?
Well, there’s the hobbit’s solution – second breakfast. And I know just the place for it.
Welcome to Hideout Cafe.
- Name? Hideout Cafe (Old Town)
- Type of establishment? Coffeehouse/Café
- Operating hours? 0830-1730 daily.
- How much? Coffee and other beverages £2.20-£3.50; sandwiches and pastries £2.30-£5.90 (based on the selection available during my visit).
- Related link? Facebook
- Date of visit? Tuesday, 7th June 2022
- Time of day, type of meal? Morning, breakfast.
As the name suggests, Hideout Cafe is hidden away from – whilst also being very close to – the main course of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
Walking up Lawnmarket towards Edinburgh Castle, you’ll soon arrive at the cobbled roundabout in front of Tolbooth Kirk. This 19th century Gothic Revival structure is an easy landmark to aim for, thanks to the soaring tower above its entrance.
From the roundabout, take the first left and enter the narrow street known as Upper Bow.
Just before you reach the staircase (which leads down to Victoria Street), you’ll see the Hideout Cafe on your left next to the Quaker Meeting House.
Right, let’s set the scene.
A solo traveller’s just turned up at Edinburgh Waverley Station after a long ride from England-land on the Caledonian Sleeper. It’s a very nice train and all – read more about it in this travel report – but they’ve served him a rather disappointing breakfast, so he’s on the prowl for extra man-fuel.
He walks up and down the Royal Mile, enjoying the fine architecture and savouring the glorious early summer weather. At the same time, he hunts down two recommended dining spots…only to find one of them still closed and the other packed to the rafters. And pretty much everything else hasn’t opened yet.
Desperate for nourishment (and caffeine), he punches a few search terms into his digital camera which fortunately runs on iOS and also has an internet browser. The results draw him further up the Royal Mile, towards but not quite to the castle at the top, into a roundabout dominated by a massive church with a red door.
Turn a bit more to the left, the digital camera tells him.
He obliges, and sees a not-quite-so massive church with a red door.
Just a little bit more to the left.
There, down the narrow cobbled street. A grey circle peeks out shyly from behind the corner of a building.
He walks closer to the sign, goes a couple of steps past, makes a tight turn and marches straight through the door.
Nice place they’ve got here. Cushioned bench by the window, a few tables around the counter, more seats in the back.
He glances up at the drinks menu, looks toward the display case filled with all manner of tasty nibbles, makes his choices, settles his financial obligation…
…and sits down to have a conversation with his backpack.
Hey there bag, he whispers. How’s life treating you?
Okay, good talk.
But shush now, it’s time for (second) breakfast.
It’s no Full English…but hey, we’re not in England-land.
Let’s angle down a wee bit. Really take in that rich, flaky, golden-brown pastry enveloping generous slices of ham and ever-so-slightly softened cheese.
The act of devouring croissants – particularly fresh-toasted ones – must surely rank amongst the messiest activities ever devised by humankind. The fragile, glasslike upper layers shatter into a million fragments at the slightest touch, dispersing a shower of crumbs over all and sundry. With some very delicate handling, our hungry traveller manages the attack and emerges pretty much unscathed…though the same can’t be said of the plate and table.
And to wash it all down…
…a drop of liquid happiness.