Edinburgh Restaurant Awards: Dining out in fine celebration

The best eateries from across the Capital were recognised by the Edinburgh Evening News and its readership at the Edinburgh Restaurant Awards 2022, held at the Capital’s chic Brewhemia venue on Market Street earlier this month.

The annual award ceremony, which has returned after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, saw 58 restaurants challenge for a range of coveted titles up for grabs, crowning 15 Edinburgh establishments for their achievements in a variety of categories.

The highlight was the presentation of the muchcoveted Best Restaurant accolade, which went to Eleanore on Albert Street.

Owner and chef, Roberta Hall-McCarron was at Brewhemia to pick up the top prize and said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic, we opened just back in December... it felt like a risky step, so to be able to win this award six months later is amazing. It’s the icing on the cake.

Edinburgh Restaurant Awards 2022

“Like a lot of people have been saying tonight when they collected awards, it’s so great to see our industry bouncing back.”

The award for Best Chef went to Stuart Ralston, who has been plying his craft for 26 years and is chef/ owner of the glamorous city centre restaurants Noto, on Thistle Street, and Aizle, in Charlotte Square.

Speaking on the night about triumphing in the face of the last two difficult years, Stuart said: “I think to be here, to still be valid in this time, is exceptional. I’ve tried my best for the team for both venues. I think if we can overcome this we can overcome anything, and the future is only bright for us. I think this is only the beginning.”

The prize for Best Family Friendly atmosphere went to Bruntsfield’s Tempo Perso. Owner Marco Iacobelli said: “For us, family is the centre of the life, but the big surprise for me when I moved here eight years ago was I discovered that Scotland is strong as well with the family and the kids. And it’s a big surprise, but it’s a lovely award for us."

Kevin Tabatabaeyan and Mahsaneh Poosti, Mealzo and Sabzi

Edinburgh Restaurant of the Year

Eleanore

Presented by Sam Kemp, Zettle

30-31 Albert Place

Leftfield & Gaby Soutar, The Scotsman

Owner and chef Roberta Hall-McCarron said: “The team we’ve got at Eleanore are doing such amazing food and for me it’s some of the best in Edinburgh.

“It’s been voted the best restaurant in Edinburgh and for me that very much sings true – I’m just so proud of them. I was very surprised to win, with the restaurant being so new, but I do believe it deserves the recognition.”

Edinburgh Chef of the Year

Stuart Ralston

Salt Cafe & Mae, Brewhemia

Presented by Sam O’Kane, Chef Works

Noto, 47a Thistle St; Aizle, 38 Charlotte Square

Stuart Ralston: “I’m feeling great. It’s a privilege to be recognised and it’s definitely a tribute to all the hard work that we do in the restaurants. It’s always nice to be awarded by your peers. I’ve worked in a lot of places so it’s really just a testament to the culture that we’ve created in our restaurants – I never take anything for granted and it was a lovely surprise to have.”

Sommelier of the Year

Damien Trinckquel

Presented by Arlene Stuart

Kate Dranginis, Sustainable Restaurant Association and Macau Kitchen

1 Princes Street

Damien Trinckquel, head sommelier at fine dining restaurant Number One, The Balmoral, said: “It was such a privilege to attend the Edinburgh Restaurant Awards and be awarded Sommelier of the Year. I am really passionate about Number One, The Balmoral and all we have to offer our team and guests.

“It was such a pleasure to see so many faces from our varied and wonderful Edinburgh hospitality industry and share this special night.”

Sustainability Award

Cafe St Honore

Presented by Councillor Lezley Marion Cameron

34 Thistle Street North West Lane

Chef director Neil Forbes said: “I’m gobsmacked, amazed, delighted, and humbled, because this is something that is true to me and all the team. We had go through so many years of getting to the stage where we are.

“We all speak about sustainability, but we actually do it on a daily basis. It’s a huge pat on the back. I’m dead chuffed.”

Best Family Friendly

Tempo Perso

Presented by Euan McGrory, Edinburgh Evening News editor

208 Bruntsfield Place

Owner Marco Iacobelli said: “I think it’s important for us and for the family. We are from Brunsfield and I think it’s a lovely area, people look after us and we look after them. It’s a great moment for us.”

Anna Lamacchia of Tempo Person added: “We’re very happy to receive this award, because maybe it’s one of the most important awards – family is the centre of the world for us.”

Best Gastro Pub & Brewery

No.1 The Grange accepted by Arlene Stuart Presented by Iain Clunie, Zero Waste Scotland

Best Customer Service

Wedgewood

Presented by Gary MacLean, National Chef of Scotland

267 Canongate

Lisa Wedgwood, co-owner, said: “I am so proud of the team, it’s great that they get the acknowledgment for the wonderful job they do and the dedication they put in to make every guest experience as perfect as can be. They really go above and beyond.

“The evening was great and it was so nice to catch up with so many people that we haven’t seen because of Covid.”

Best Fine Dining Experience

Aizle

Presented by Nyssa Barron, Edinburgh School of Food & Wine

38 Charlotte Square

Stuart Ralston, chef and owner, said: “It’s always nice to win awards. It’s mainly important to give the team a sense of satisfaction, and know the hard work we put in is being recognised, and that what we are doing is special – something we can all be proud of, because we put everything into the restaurant all the time.

Best Newcomer

Bundits of Leith

Presented by Mike Baxter, House of Gods

49-52 Constitution Street, Leith

Daniela Wolniak, marketing manager, said: “We genuinely did not expect to win so the announcement came out of nowhere and caught us totally by surprise. It felt amazing to win, even better than we expected it could feel to win anything.

“We opened as a pop-up out of nothing and we never expected to get this far, so now we are hoping to grow even more.”

Best Seafood

LeftField

Presented by Gaby Soutar, The Scotsman

12 Barclay Terrace, Bruntsfield

Co-owner Phil White, who runs LeftField alongside Rachel Chisholm, said: “We were absolutely over the moon to win. It is really important for us following the past couple of years when it has been quite difficult. “Our staff were over the moon as well because this is a real endorsement for all of their hard work.

“It is a tough category as there are a lot of great seafood places in Edinburgh and in the whole of Scotland so to win it, we were absolutely thrilled.

“We couldn’t do it without our suppliers, whose jobs are even harder. They risk their lives to get seafood for us, and we couldn’t do it without them.”

BestCafe/Deli

Salt Cafe

Presented by Mae, Brewhemia

54-56 Morningside Road

Liv Connolly-Bastock, co-owner of Salt Cafe with her husband, Steve, said: “It felt absolutely incredible to win. We were finalists in three categories which we felt was already a huge achievement, but then we came home with Best Cafe, that was the award that we passionately wanted to win.

“We have worked so tirelessly since launching the business during lockdown. We talked about our aspirations, and what we wanted to achieve, and winning this award was one of them – so it was really an incredible moment for us.”

Best Use of Outdoor Space

Rose Street Garden

Presented by Rory Cowan, Smugglers Gin

14 George Street

Kirstin Kane, general manager, said: “We’re ecstatic, we’ve worked really hard over the last couple of years to completely change the space. We worked together to completely redefine what the space was, and we’re just really happy. I think there’s a lot of great outdoor spaces out there but I think from what we’ve built over the last two years and over the course of the pandemic I think we’ve done really well to make it what it is now.”

Best World Food Restaurant

Macau Kitchen

Presented by Kate Dranginis, Sustainable Restaurant Association

93 St Leonard’s Street

Kei De Freitas, founder, said: “It was a great honour, we feel that our hard work has been recognised and rewarded. It’s important to us because we serve the world’s oldest fusion cuisine and to maintain the traditions of Macanese gastronomy, we constantly introduce dishes steeped in history through the Portuguese spice trade in Asia. We hope this award will enhance people’s curiosity and interest in our world heritage cuisine.”

Best takeaway Offering

Sabzi

Presented by Kevin Tabatabaeyan and Mahsaneh Poosti, Mealzo

162 Ferry Road

Ryan Singh, co-owner with his mum, Paula, said: “Starting our pop-up over lockdown and then going on to turn into a restaurant has been absolutely amazing. To receive this award, it was just nice to be recognised and there is so much more to come from this. The work that is required to run a restaurant can be quite tough, but receiving this award is a nice way to be recognised and appreciated.”

Best Speciality

Albys

Presented by Euan McGrory, Edinburgh Evening News editor

8 Portland Place, Leith

Matt Belcher, who runs Alby’s with Natasha Ferguson, said: “The fact that we are very focused on making one thing – the best version of sandwiches we can possibly make – being recognised as a speciality is a really nice thing for us.

“It’s generally really lovely to be recognised for something when you have been grafting away at it over the last two years."

Sam Kemp & Eleanore
Sam O'Kane & Stuart Ralston
Rose Street Gardens & Rory Cowan, Smugglers Gin
Bundits of Leith & Mike Baxter, House of Gods
Damien Trinckquel & Arlene
Wedgwood & Gary Maclean
Tempo Perso & Euan McGrory
Cafe St Honore & Councillor Lezley Marion Cameron
Nyssa Barron & Aizle