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Edinburgh Food Hall Bonnie & Wild unveils plan to boost start-ups with an appetite for growth

Suki Jayaratne and Shehan Fernando (Okanda)

EDINBURGH Food Hall Bonnie & Wild has announced plans for a series of innovative collaborations with small and start-up businesses, kicking off with the launch of a new pop-up restaurant this weekend. 

The collaborations will see food-led concepts, craft breweries and distilleries take over the Food Hall’s event space and bars, enabling them to benefit from Bonnie & Wild’s city centre position within Edinburgh’s St James Quarter and capitalising on its high footfall.

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This weekend, the award-winning team behind Sri Lankan street food kitchen Kochchi will launch their latest creation, Okanda, and will be cooking up a curated menu of Thai Noodles, Vietnamese Rolls and Nepalese Momos that will show off the flavours of south east Asia and take guests on “an exquisite culinary journey”.

The new Okanda kitchen concept is the latest creation of Suki Jayaratne and Shehan Fernando, who’ve won multiple plaudits for their Sri Lankan-focused Kochchi, based within Bonnie & Wild. 

After taking top spots at the Scottish and British Street Food Awards, Kochchi took a permanent residency within Bonnie & Wild’s Food Hall, making the move from street truck to food stall inside Scotland’s biggest food and drink venue. 

Mr Jayaratne said: “We’re so excited about launching out latest kitchen at Bonnie & Wild and giving food lovers the opportunity to get a flavour of our latest restaurant, Okanda.”

Described as “South East Asian street food redefined with a fine dining twist”, Okanda’s menu boasts Thai Noodles, Vietnamese Rolls and Nepalese Momos that take diners “on an extraordinary culinary journey that celebrates South East Asian flavours sustainably, responsibly and respectfully”.

Mr Jayaratne said: “Okanda is the culmination of our lifelong love affair with the rich tapestry of flavours found throughout South East Asia. Shehan and I have travelled, lived and breathed these flavours, and can’t wait to show off these authentic dishes to guests at Bonnie & Wild as we look to expand the business.”

He added: “It’s incredible that Bonnie & Wild provides this platform for chef-led businesses and other entrepreneurs to showcase their ventures, with little risk. It’s a brilliant catalyst for start-ups, and a superb opportunity.” 

Bonnie & Wild’s Managing Director Ryan Barrie said: “Since Day One, we’ve wanted to use Bonnie & Wild as a platform to champion Scotland’s amazing food and drink businesses. Running regular pop-ups with small food and drink businesses is just the latest example of the positive and collaborative philosophy we hold dear at Bonnie & Wild.

“Our events space is a beautiful, premium location to host brand launches and pop-ups. We hosted the global launch of Edrington’s Naked Malt, as well as Bowmore’s ultra-premium Aston Martin editions. And we’ve done similar with some of our regular suppliers, including the venerable fishmonger Bernard Corrigan and well-respected JB Food Services.

“Giving our events space over to talented and driven chefs and entrepreneurs is just the next step, and I’d welcome enquiries from ambitious businesses looking for opportunities at Bonnie & Wild.” 

Since opening in 2021, Bonnie & Wild has provided permanent locations for the likes of Joelato and Kochchi, while providing a home for start-ups including fried chicken bar Chooks, Jimmy Lee’s Leith Woks and new Scottish deli Soup & Caboodle.

Mr Barrie added: “Bonnie & Wild is all about collaboration and friendship. We love working with brands that share our vision, such as the kilt-maker ScotlandShop, who we partner with for our monthly White Heather Club ceilidh dances. And we’re also looking forward to giving our guests the full Scottish experience as we work with another partner to launch an incredible new breakfast offer in the next few weeks. Watch this space!” 

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