Gaby Soutar: Prepare yourself for launch of the St James Quarter

I remember when the St James Quarter development was announced.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 4:45 am
The St James Quarter officially opens its doors on Thursday.
The St James Quarter officially opens its doors on Thursday.

2021 seemed like a very long time away.

“I will be old then”, I thought. And, in the blink of a rheumy eye, here we are.

The doors of this shopping and eating metropolis open tomorrow. The hordes, me included, will get to wipe sticky fingers and mucky trainers all over the fresh and pristine Jetson futuristic surfaces.

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We will gawp at The Lego Shop, goggle at Calvin Klein and press all the buttons at Miele.

First, we must work out how to get inside. My internal Edinburgh map, which used to be as strong as a London cabby’s Knowledge, has been discombobulated by a year of scaffolding, hoarding and lockdown.

However, I’ve been informed by someone in the know that it’s the same as getting into the old St James Centre. Just pretend that HMV and Thornton’s (RIP) are still there, flanking the brutalist entrance. I’ll worry about finding the toilets and the exit later.

Although there are some clothes shops, like & Other Stories, that are on my radar, I’m most interested in the food offering.

Pic Lisa Ferguson 25/08/2015 New Magazine byline pics - Gaby Soutar

Through my hungry and suggestible eyes, the W Hotel part of the development looks less like a giant whoopsie, and more like a duchess potato or Primula on a cracker. Despite this, I’d be feeling overwhelmed if all the restaurants were opening simultaneously

Tomorrow, in phase one, there will be a Bross Bagels (there’s one nearer my house), an al-fresco pop-up Lillet spritz garden, and a few chains, including Five Guys, Krispy Kreme and new-to-the-capital Salerno Pizza.

Bonnie & Wild’s Scottish Marketplace, which houses all the best things, like The Gannet, East PIZZAS, Rico’s Pasta Bar, Broken Clock Cafe, Joelato and Gary Maclean’s Creel Caught, won’t be opening until July. Some, like Ka Pao, will be popping up in the autumn.

(If I’m going to review them all for The Scotsman, I may as well set up a permanent camp in John Lewis’ swish new bedding department).

Until then, we have time to orientate.

Just take a compass and leave a trail of breadcrumbs so you can find the exit.

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