An artist's impression of the new restaurant on Victoria Street
An artist's impression of the new restaurant on Victoria Street

Restaurant breathes new life into heritage site

A World Heritage site property which has lain empty since it was devastated in a blaze in December 2008 is to get a new lease of life.

The vast three-floor former St John’s church on Victoria Street in Edinburgh’s Old Town is being transformed into a restauraunt, which will showcase the Vittoria group’s take on the nation’s favourite seaside dish – fish and chips.

The 11’000 sq.ft restaurant will seat 270 covers and aims to be the capital’s go to place for proper fish and chips’. It will aim to attract both international tourists and Edinburgh locals looking for fun, casual dining in the city centre.

The relaxed venue will pride itself on the authenticity and quality of ingredients sourced and will not require advance bookings.

The affordable menu will reinvent the traditional British chippy dishes and will celebrate specialities including fish and chips – along with contemporary twists on the traditional chip shop experience.

Fish burgers and ‘cod dogs’ might also feature on the menu alongside classic chippy dishes such as pies, haggis and white pudding suppers. The menu will also boast several light options, all under £10.
Deep-fried Mars bars with ice cream, salted caramel and chocolate sauce play on the Scottish chippy tradition of battered chocolate bars and are expected on the dessert menu alongside treats such as sticky toffee pudding and apple crumble pie.

Group chairman Tony Crolla said: ‘My family have a long standing passion for great fish and chips and hospitality is at the heart of our business.

‘We have had a vision for many years about opening ‘the’ fish and chip restaurant destination in the heart of Edinburgh City Centre for many years. This concept will be fun, relaxed and affordable. Our focus as ever with our restaurants is fresh quality food available for all. I am excited to bring a truly extraordinary dining experience to my home city.’

The World Heritage site building had been used as a bookmaker and housed the popular Byzantium market and Khushi’s Indian restaurant before a blaze in 2008. The property has lain empty since.

The new restaurant’s design will also play on the chip shop theme with seating in beach-hut style booths and a nod to nautical style interiors complete with classic tongue and groove panelling, painted floorboards, galvanised metals and weathered paintwork. The restaurants grown-up beach chic will also feature a variety of coastal inspirations: rope, anchors and wall-hung oars.

An artist’s impression of the new restaurant on Victoria Street

The venue will also feature two bars, serving a selection of premium spirits and gins from around Scotland, along with beach side themed cocktails, beers and ciders.

The award winning design team of Michael Dunn at MD Solutions along with the main contractor Pride Commercial Interiors have been appointed by Vittoria Group to develop the new city centre restaurant and work is currently underway. The restaurant will create over 50 new jobs as they expand their restaurant portfolio in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Michael said: ‘The client’s vision, the space and market audience being the main influences to breathe life, vibrancy and character into what will be the flagship unit of the Vittoria Group.

‘The offering will be unintimidating, welcoming and warm, yet still airy and uplifting. Different zones and a mix of seating styles and heights break up the floor spaces, with flexibility being key for all types of groups, parties and occasions.’

The £3million investment from the Vittoria Group is the latest addition to the groups growing restaurant portfolio that include Vittoria on the Walk, Vittoria on the Bridge, Taste of Italy, La Favorita on Leith Walk and fine dining restaurant Divino Enoteca in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

The Vittoria Group was established in 1970 with a single restaurant, Vittoria, on Leith Walk. The family-run business now has a number of award-winning Italian eateries throughout Edinburgh.

Earlier this year Tony was awarded ‘Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy’, known as “Cavaliere” in Italian – one of the highest civilian honors in Italy for his services to hospitality.