Hendersons vegetarian restaurant reopens at a new venue in Edinburgh's Bruntsfield

When it closed its doors for the last time in the Summer of 2020, Edinburgh lost the UK’s longest-running vegetarian restaurant.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 12:30 pm

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Hendersons had originally opened in the capital 1962, blazing a trail for the vegetarian and healthy-eating lifestyle – and now it’s back.

Initially an outlet for the organic produce grown at Janet and Mac Henderson’s East Lothian farm, it expanded to a bistro bar and the popular Salad Table restaurant.

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Starter of pumpkin and blue murder cheese ravioli with browned butter, crispy sage and toasted pumpkin seeds

This pioneering approach to dining earned Hendersons iconic status on Scotland’s food and drink scene.

Hendersons ceased trading as a result of lockdown, much to the dismay of their long-standing customer base.

In order to preserve Janet’s legacy, her grandson Barrie Henderson revealed plans to open a new restaurant serving wholesome vegan and vegetarian food made with fresh, organic, local and sustainable produce.

And thanks to Barrie’s determination, his grandmother’s her legacy will live on at a new venue in Barclay Place in the capital’s Bruntsfield when it opens tomorrow.

The subtle interior of the new Hendersons in Bruntsfield.

Barrie said: “After the amazing support we’ve received from our Edinburgh community, we’re really looking forward to opening. The chefs are excited to reveal new dishes that complement the vintage dishes we’re bringing back.

"The menus are going to be refreshed with the seasons, as well as in response to feedback from customers, so expect to see a revolving selection of dishes over the coming months, featuring old favourites and new creations.”

And returning customers, eager to see their favourite dishes, like the famous Hendersons haggis and classic salad plates, won’t be disappointed.

Head chef Paul Kayne and senior chef Nives Arosio, both hailing from Hendersons former kitchens, have been adding exciting dishes like the starter of pumpkin and blue murder cheese ravioli with browned butter, crispy sage and toasted pumpkin seeds, and a dessert of buckwheat, pistachio and brambles s’more cake with white chocolate and whisky sauce. Their menus reflect a modern approach to the vegetarian and vegan dining experience.

Barrie and his partner Clara have cultivated a small fruit, herb and vegetable garden to the restaurant’s rear, where they are growing as much as possible to sustain the kitchen. The launch menu includes five varieties of heritage potatoes grown in the garden, to be used in a salad with spring onion, chives, parsley, capers tossed in the house dressing.

The harmonising of old and new is also reflected in the restaurant’s interiors, with many echoes of the Hendersons of old resonating throughout the space. The walls have been given a textured feel, and an archway has been created as a nod to the original restaurant.

Natural, sustainable materials are used throughout with a focus on wood, highlighted by original restaurant tables from the 1970s in the main dining space. The aprons worn by front of house staff were designed and made by Clara.

A wall of dried foliage that featured in the Hendersons of the 1990s was the inspiration for the abundance of dried British wheat, barley, broom, hops and birch leaves that adorn the walls, ceilings and tables, carefully arranged by Scottish floral designers Gloam. with project overseen by Edinburgh-based Four-By-Two.

Open seven days a week, Hendersons is welcoming customers all day for coffee and cake, drinks and snacks, lunch or dinner. A breakfast menu will be introduced at a later date.

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