Chief Sub-Editor Rosie Morton heads to the new Bonnie & Wild Marketplace to scope out the tasty offerings…
When I read the words ‘Food Hall’, my eyes are not exactly alight with excitement. An association with sloppy school dinners or greasy chains in shopping centres has sadly tarnished what could be an epicurean hotspot with a captive audience. Thankfully, though, soulless venues are being pushed aside. We have at last been gifted a Food Hall like no other.
A celebration of all that’s good about Scottish hospitality, the highly anticipated Bonnie & Wild Food Hall has opened its doors in Edinburgh – which is frankly music to my ears. The Scottish Marketplace, located on the fourth floor of the new St James Quarter shopping centre, is a showcase of top-quality produce, sourced locally, sustainably and ethically. What’s more, thanks to the culinary experts behind each and every dish, the ‘fast food’ offerings are less ‘sloppy joe’, more stylish, satisfying and downright scrumptious.
Over the past few months, we have been drip-fed the names of highly-acclaimed chefs and food businesses that have taken up spots within the premium Food Hall, and it is now open for the public to enjoy. With eight chef-led food stalls, four speciality retailers, three bars, a private dining area, a demonstration kitchen, and multi-purpose events spaces, there is something to satisfy even the pickiest eater.
Renowned chef Gary Maclean, Scotland’s National Chef who won the BBC’s cooking programme MasterChef in 2016, has launched a seafood and shellfish stall called Creel Caught. Featuring in our August issue are seven of his favourite fruits de mer recipes for you to try at home. In addition, Peter McKenna of The Gannet, and BBC chef Jimmy Lee who owns Glasgow’s famed The Lychee restaurant, have each taken key concessions at the Scottish Marketplace.
Alongside Gary Maclean’s Creel Caught, The Gannet, and Jimmy Lee’s Salt & Chilli Oriental, the Food Hall showcases restaurants such as Rico’s Pasta Bar, Erpingham House, CHIX, East PIZZA, Joelato (I highly recommend their salted honeycomb flavour) and the award-winning Broken Clock Café and Patisserie. On the shopping side, Bonnie & Wild is the first retail offering from national drinks wholesalers Inverarity Morton and renowned butcher MacDuff 1890. The Cheese Club, the latest venture from the team behind Six By Nico, is running the venue’s deli counter.
An extraordinary celebration of Scotland’s larder, every chef, retailer and bartender at Bonnie & Wild is an advocate for local produce, and champions the use of quality, responsibly sourced ingredients. Even the interior design has been tailored to suit its Scottish audience, featuring some of the winning photographs from this year’s Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year awards, including overall winner Dylan Nardini.
Bonnie & Wild’s Operations Director Ryan Barrie, who has a series of successful bar and restaurant openings behind him, said: ‘There’s such a common purpose here – all of us care passionately about promoting and supporting the Scottish food and drink industry. It’s easy for us in Scotland to overlook the fact we have some of the best food and drink in the world, that it’s sought after by chefs the world over.
‘At Bonnie & Wild, thanks to the inclusion of these brilliant chefs and retailers, we have produce from across the country, whether that’s shellfish from Lerwick, beef from the Borders, cheese and fresh fruits from the Clyde Valley and Perthshire, cured venison from the Highlands, the list goes on. On the drinks side, we have whisky and gin from distilleries across Scotland, and beers and ciders from local craft breweries. Combined, they give our guests an unrivalled offering of Scottish fare, a unique and fantastic vision of Scottish food and drink.’
At last night’s launch, there was a palpable buzz as both press figures and hungry members of the public dined on the fabulous fare. As we emerge from lockdown over the coming weeks and months, this is one rendezvous spot I will be certain to frequent for a drink and a taste of Scotland.
The venue is open daily, 9.30am until late. To find out more, visit their website or take a peek at their Instagram page @bonnieandwildmarket.
To read more about Bonnie & Wild’s drinks offerings, head to Peter Ranscombe’s write-up HERE.