Grand Café at the Scotsman
One of Edinburgh’s most magnificent Old Town venues has re-opened to the public as the Grand Café at the Scotsman.
Inspired by the ‘Grade Cafes’ of Europe, the new North Bridge venue promises a welcoming relaxed drinking and dining experience to suit all tastes and occasions, juxtaposing a menu of modern food and drink with the authentic charm of its interior, which dates back to 1905.
Set within the Scotsman’s former advertising hall, the spectacular double height space seats 150 covers across its ground floor and balcony, filled with light, character and beautiful period features. Original walnut wood panelling, marble pillars and ornate cornicing have been carefully brought back to life by interior specialist Jim Hamilton and mixed with elegant new furnishings and accessories to create a stylist but informal ambience.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality magazine, Jim Hamilton said: “We have chosen a palette of materials and colours that in a way, respected what was already there but changed what had to be changed, making it friendlier by playing old against new, in both materiality and layout. There is an edge to it but it is a pleasant environment where you can sit back and while the days away with carefully considered music playlists and food menus.
“When you enter via the original marble steps, we have incorporated a new bespoke full height opening brass screen that can be fully opened when the weather suits. Customers in the main central space get the benefit of being part of a street cafe vibe whilst being protected as they are up a level from the pavement – it brings the café aspect perfectly into play. There is also an upper balcony level where we have placed a variety of booths and private seating areas creating a soft, comfortable viewing gallery to view proceedings down below as well as a dynamic view over to Calton Hill.”
A fresh, light all day menu will take guests from early breakfasts, brunches and lunches through to afternoon teas and evening dining options – all created by Dundee-born MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Chris Niven, using ingredients sourced from a hand-picked selection of great Scottish producers.
Restaurant Bar Manager Andy Cummins has created a delectable drinks menu which nods to the great European bar traditions – reinvented with modern Scottish craft spirits and creative serves. Highlights include Grand Café versions of cocktail classics, vintage champagnes, silver punch bowls, plus gin and whisky ‘flights’ – a tasting experience designed to showcase Scotland’s finest home-grown spirits.
Commenting on the opening, Grand Café at the Scotsman General Manager Kenny Arnott said: “Our whole team is excited to be welcoming guests into the Grand Café at the Scotsman and we are confident that it will be a wonderful new addition to Edinburgh’s buzzing bar and restaurant scene.
“Our customers can enjoy the relaxed, friendly vibe at café culture with a fresh and simple menu full of exceptional quality Scottish sourced ingredients, packed with dishes to suit everyone, at any time of the day. We also feel exceptionally lucky to be setting our new venture in one of Edinburgh’s finest historic buildings, with an interior that is full of incredible period detail, bringing a magical sense of the Scotsman’s great past but with a very modern ambience.”
Jim added: “It has been a fantastic project to work on as the Scotsman is an iconic part of Edinburgh’s rich architectural history. The in-house design team at G1 have played a massive part in the design and development of the Scotsman and it was very much a big team effort. As designers we are only ever as good as the contractors who bring ideas to life and the internal construction team at G1 are amazing, combined with a few specialist contractors that are always part of their team. They are always fantastic to work with and have an incredible level of craftsmanship within their team.
“For me to be able to work with the space, play with it, and have some fun in it, whilst bringing it back to life in a different way to how it was previously utilised was the biggest payback. Manipulating the layout, dressing the spaces and making it look great is critical and key to the success of any venue, but when you step in and see people using a social space, in a way that hadn’t previously been used and watching it come to life is the best part for me.”
Moleta Munro is a UK based contemporary furniture company with a showroom in Edinburgh, providing specialist furniture consultancy and suppling contemporary and classic modern furniture and lighting solutions to contract and residential clients throughout the UK and Europe.
Founded in 2007 from a shared passion for beautiful interiors, premium quality products and the philosophy that good design can enrich peoples live, Moleta Munro has an exceptionally creative and dedicated team with a wealth of experience working on both commercial and residential projects. Inspired by the finest designs from Scandinavia, Moleta Munro specialises in showcasing Europe’s premier furniture and lighting brands.
Highlights over the last ten years include furnishing the new extension for Scottish Opera in Glasgow, supplying the front of house furnishing for the new Apex Hotel in Bath and supplying conference suites for the Novotel Les Halles in Paris.
Moleta Munro recently worked on the Grand Café project in Scotland where they supplied the lighting for the transformation of one of Edinburgh’s magnificent old town venues.
Commenting on the work, Justin Baddon from Moleta Munro said: “The opportunity allowed us to develop some custom lighting fittings with the designer, Jim Hamilton. It’s a source of pride to be involved in a flagship G1 Group project in Edinburgh, our home town.”