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Café W at Waterstones
128 Princes Street
+44(0)131 226 2666
Overall score: ★★★★★
UPDATE: Cafe W no longer stock Naked Bakery cakes. They may still have vegan options, but you may want to check ahead in advance.
Disclaimer: In exchange for this post, I dined here free of charge. The opinions expressed in this article remain my own.
I bet you didn’t think you would find a vegan feast in a high street bookstore! I know for sure that I didn’t – it wasn’t until the management at Café W got in touch to ask me to try it out that I found this fantastic gem hidden in plain sight on Princes Street.
You can’t argue with Café W’s location – right on the main shopping street in Edinburgh, you don’t get much more convenient for refuelling after a long afternoon of retail therapy. Plus, if you get the right table, you can get a cracking view of Edinburgh Castle.
Sometimes I avoid chain store cafés because I think I am going to get the same boring identikit food, but this isn’t the case with Café W. They’ve teamed up with some great local suppliers to create a menu that’s not only vegan-friendly, but also gives a real taste of Edinburgh’s foodie scene.
Vegan food at Café W
Café W is very vegan-friendly, with lots of savoury and sweet options. For lunch, you can have vegan chilli or one of the vegan soups courtesy of Union of Genius. Or, if you would prefer something sweet, you can treat yourself to a cupcake or a slice of cake from Naked Bakery. All the vegan bakes are clearly marked ‘VG’ at the counter.
Once I had armed myself with a cup of tea and a slab of cake larger than my face, I fell in love with the place. You really can’t beat sipping on a warm cup of tea while admiring a picture-perfect view of the castle.
It goes without saying that Naked Bakery’s cakes will never disappoint, but their chocolate and vegan honeycomb cake (exclusive to Café W) is an absolute joy. The portions are huge, mind you, so I don’t think the friendly staff will judge you if you wanted to split your slice with a pal.
Now that I have discovered this hidden gem, I will be back to treat myself to some comforting vegan cake pretty much every time I am in the city centre. The combination of the great food and the handy location makes it pretty tough to beat.
Menu info: ★★★★★
Value for money: ★★★★☆