If you want a cheap and satisfying lunch in the Old Town, look no further than Elephants and Bagels. Granted, they only have bagels on the menu, but they have such a huge variety and a wide range of varieties that there is – quite literally – something for everyone.
Mr Bug and I decided to pop in for a spot of lunch last week, at the height of festival season. Walking inside Elephants and Bagels, it has a cosy and homely feel, with lots of tapestries, pictures on the wall and of course elephants!
You go up to the bar and they’ll make your order right there and then in front of you. There’s a menu board at the back with lots of filling combinations, as well as lots of different types of bagels to choose from.
It was festival time, but there were a couple tables free, so Mr Bug and I decided to sit in. We went up to the bar and told the girl what we wanted, and watched as she started to build our bagels.
As we waited, we spotted a group of people come in and plonk themselves down at one of the free tables. The nerve! They hadn’t even ordered yet and they had already snagged a table! Still, Mr Bug and I weren’t too bothered, as there was still another table free.
A minute or two later, two young ladies came in and put their bags at the seats of the remaining table. Mr Bug and I were outraged (although because we’re British, that rage simply manifested itself as a bit of quiet tutting). Surely that’s not the way it’s done in an establishment like this? You go up, order, THEN get your table once you have your food… surely? Nabbing the last table when you haven’t even ordered is a bit… I dunno… impolite?
Or am I getting too worked about this? Maybe I am. Please feel to share your thoughts on table reservation etiquette in the comments 🙂
Anyway there was nothing for it – we had to sit at a table, so we sat at the table with the bags at it. There were four seats and we had took up two, leaving two remaining for the bag owners. I could see them anxiously looking our way as they probably thought we were going to run out the bag with their totes, but Mr Bug and I just wanted a table!
By the time the girls had got their food and came back to the table, I had swallowed my anger and gruffly apologised about sitting there – but there were no other spots free. They were okay with it (to be fair I think they were just glad we hadn’t legged it out the door with their bags) and we all ate our bagels in peace.
Mr Bug had bacon and egg on wholemeal, a solid choice. You really can’t go wrong with this classic combo and it certainly went down well with him. He accompanied his bagel with a serving of the soup of the day: tomato and basil. Again it was a classic choice and the two complimented each other well, making for filling and satisfying lunch.
Meanwhile, I was a bit more adventurous and had the pesto, tomato and cream cheese filling on an ‘everything’ bagel. The name of the bagel wasn’t exactly descriptive, but to be honest that was the basis of its appeal!
It was lovely. The bagel was laced with all kinds of yummy seeds, while the filling was a nice departure from the norm. It was delicious and I would quite happily pop in to have it again.
I also had a cappuccino with my bagel. Elephants and Bagels is renouned for its teas and coffees and while I don’t think it is as strong as some other establishments nearby, I think it was absolutely ideal to have as an accompaniment if you are really craving a decent bagel!
Elephants and Bagels is a charming little establishment within a stone’s throw of the University of Edinburgh. As a result, its hugely popular with festival goers and, as the year goes on, students. Its value for money makes it an excellent option if you need to grab a bite on a budget, but its huge range of bagels and fillings mean that it will still feel like a special treat.
Just remember to keep an eye on the seating situation as you order! 😉
You can find Elephants and Bagels at 37 Marshall Street, EH8 9BJ, tucked at the back of Nicolson Sq and just up the road from Mosque Kitchen. Walk up North Bridge from Princes Street, and take the first right after the Festival Theatre and City Restaurant.