The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant in Edinburgh has re-opened its doors to the public in time for the capital’s Festival season, following an extensive seven-month refurbishment.
The independent, family business is owned and operated by Edinburgh restaurateurs, Victor and Carina Contini.
The fresh new look interior champions many Scottish designers and the menu as always showcases the very best seasonal and local Scottish produce.
Victor and Carina’s commitment to their joint heritage continues to feature in all the popular favourites on the menu at The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant, including Cullen Skink, their Aberdeen butteries, as well as their classic fish and chips and Knickerbocker Glory.
The seasonal Scottish lunch menu includes more contemporary dishes like Peterhead cod kedgeree and Perthshire chanterelle spelt risotto.
Other tempting treats include a traditional Scottish Sunday roast, High Tea for two, a fabulous selection of cakes baked in-house by The Scottish Cafe pastry team. Guests are also able to enjoy a choice of freshly baked scones served from a dedicated scone trolley service. Low gluten and vegan menus are also available.
The Contini’s own kitchen garden on the outskirts of Edinburgh, continues to supply the restaurant with daily harvests of edible flowers, herbs, salad leaves and berries. Their honey comes from their own hives situated at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One.
The restaurant is open for breakfast daily from 9am (10am on Sundays), with lunch service commencing at noon and running until one hour before gallery closing times.
The traditional Afternoon Tea is a true highlight, including a beautiful freshly made selection of sandwiches, Isle of Mull Cheese scones with Bellhaven smoked trout with Katy Rodger’s creme fraiche, homemade fruit scones and a perfect selection of homemade petit fours. During the Festival period only, The Scottish Cafe is offering a special £25 Fringe Ticket for its Afternoon Tea, including an Edinburgh Gin and Tonic.
Jackie Fisken of Edinburgh’s Ampersand supported the design, which includes the first commercial commission for Scottish textile designer, Mairi Helena. Mairi’s ‘Fire Thistle’ textiles take inspiration from the vibrant, textural Scottish landscapes and abundant flora, including rustic sea walls found along the East Neuk coast line, to the tangle of fishing nets in Pittenweem harbour, intricate lichens and a splash of wild gorse.
When The Scottish Cafe first opened, Annie and Lachlen Stewart of ANTA created the venue’s solid oak furniture. Sustainability is vital for the venue, so Victor and Carina have recommissioned and upcycled all the dressers, tables and chairs, with the addition of beautiful textiles from Bute Fabrics, and Timorous Beasties – the iconic Glasgow designer.
Victor and Carina are also indebted to the skill, organisation and craftsman of the team at Thomas Johnson Ltd. For over 150 years, this family business has been delivering projects on time and on budget.
The Scottish Cafe, which is located within the Scottish National Gallery on the Mound, now benefits from improved accessibility with direct access from the adjoining section of East Princes Street Gardens entrance.
Carina Contini, owner of The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery, said: “We’re extremely excited to reveal our fresh new look and menu in time for the Festival.
“Following the seven-month redevelopment, our new and returning customers will now benefit from improved accessibility from Princes Street Gardens. Our terrace will be open shortly with stunning views over the city.
“We very much look forward to sharing the Victor Welcome and delivering a five star visitor experience for all our guests in our beautiful new restaurant. Our favourite dishes are as good if not better than ever. The space is now on one level which adds a whole new energy and we’re all loving it.”
The award-winning venue has been commended for its strong commitment to sourcing Scottish, local, sustainably produced food and drink, as well as a proactive waste-reduction strategy and training initiatives that encourage and incentivise employees to consider implementing sustainability options and best practice.
Carina continued: “In 2008 when we first had the opportunity to pitch for the Service Level Agreement at the National Galleries of Scotland, we saw this as the perfect venue to celebrate the best of Scotland amazing larder and showcase the finest of our artisan producers.
“The food scene has changed so much in the last 10 years and we are very humbled to be recognised as one of the first businesses to champion Scotland’s great food heritage.”
2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the Contini family’s arrival in Edinburgh from Lazio in Italy. As third generation Italian Scots, Victor and Carina continue to champion independent family businesses in Scotland and still buy from some of the producers their grandparents worked with. Their current supplier list includes over 70 artisan growers and producers. They also change their menus with the seasons.
Victor and Carina also stay true to their Italian Scots roots and maintain tradition and authenticity as part of their food-centric philosophy to attract custom and tourism to Edinburgh. Their collection of Edinburgh restaurants includes their award-winning Contini George Street and Cannonball Restaurant & Bar on Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh.