Executive head chef Chris Niven and the head pastry chef Philippa Baker
Executive head chef Chris Niven and the head pastry chef Philippa Baker

The Grand Cafe is all set to thrown open its doors

One of Edinburgh’s most magnificent Old Town venues will this week open to the public at Grand Café at the Scotsman.

After a six month restoration and inspired by the grand 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 will seat 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 stylish but informal ambience.

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.

The menu will change seasonally, with samples from the launch menu including:

Brunch: Oatmeal Granola Jars, Porridge Bowls, Grand Café Scotch or Veggie Breakfasts, Sourdough Toast with a range of toppings, Brioche, Pancakes and classic Eggs Benedict.

Executive head chef Chris Niven and the head pastry chef Philippa Baker

Lunch: a mix of light soups, salads, tarts and sandwiches, and dishes such as Moules Frites Mariniere, Spring Pea & Asparagus Risotto, sharing Earl Grey Brule ‘for two’.

The Grand Café Afternoon Tea: a mouth-watering selection of handmade savouries, cakes and pastries, including jams homemade in the kitchen by head pastry chef Philippa Baker.

Bar menu: a snacking menu of nibbles, salads, finger sandwiches and classics such as smoked Arran Cheddar Mac & Cheese and ‘The Grand Café Club’.

Dinner: Loch Fyne Oysters on ice, a selection of light starters, salads and delicious Scottish fish dishes, 28-day dry aged Buccleuch Beef steaks and burgers, a Scottish cheese selection, Arran ice creams and sorbets…and Chris Niven’s homemade Steamed Marmalade Pudding.

Head bartender Andy Cummings has created a 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.

Whilst the Grand Café will bring the buzz of a vibrant modern café bar during the day, it will also stay open until 3am every night, transforming into the perfect late night drinking and dining spot in the city.

Inside the Grand Cafe at the Scotsman

Live piano music will be played on the balcony baby grand, with in-house pianists taking requests into the small hours. There will also be regular entertainment on offer for guests, including live jazz, drinks and canapés until late every Thursday.

Grand Café at the Scotsman general manager Kenny Arnott said: ‘Our whole team is very excited to be welcoming guests into the Grand Café at the Scotsman in the weeks ahead, 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 of 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 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.’

Bookings are now open at Grand Café at the Scotsman, which will officially open to the public on 28 June.