Homeless treated to fine dining at local restaurant

A new city restaurant has celebrated the launch of its special meal service by providing an upmarket meal to 30 homeless people.

Tuesday, 18th October 2016, 8:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:38 pm
Home Restaurant on Queensferry Street which is co-owned by Social Bite. Picture; Greg Macvean

Maison Bleue at Home, which opened on Queensferry Street in the West End last month in collaboration with the Social Bite charity, provided a two-course meal to diners chosen by a host of city charities aiming to combat homelessness in the first of what is hoped will become a weekly event.

The not-for-profit eatery, launched as part of a joint venture between Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn and father daughter restaurateurs Dean and Layla Gabassi, takes advantage of a “pay it forward” scheme, which offers regular diners the chance to buy a meal for someone sleeping rough.

Guests were chosen by three homeless charities – Social Bite, Crisis and The Big Issue – and treated to a two-course meal featuring a choice of venison casserole with Mousseline cheesy mash or a wild mushroom pasta dish, followed by apple crumble served with vanilla ice cream.

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Diner Michelle Dounie was impressed with the way staff treated the homeless guests.

“The staff were great and the food was amazing – I would easily give it five stars,” she said.

“The atmosphere was perfect too, really calm.

“You would never think that you were sitting with homeless people having a meal.

“I was with my partner and it just felt like my partner had taken me out for a lovely dinner.”

Fellow diner, Natalie Mullen, added: “I really enjoyed it my first experience at the restaurant.”

“It was good to come along, get out of the cold and enjoy a hot meal in the company of other folk who are in the same situation.

“I would definitely recommend it to others.”

Maison Bleue will give 100 per cent of its profits to charity, with half going directly to Social Bite and half going to charitable causes chosen by staff.

Homeless people will also be able to benefit from training and employment programmes via the Social Bite Academy, a four year training programme which has already seen those enrolled make up a quarter of Social Bite’s staff.

Matt Kelly, Manager of Maison Bleue at Home thanked diners for their generosity and said he hoped the project can grow in the future.

“Our aim is to help combat homelessness by providing those less fortunate with a nutritious and filling meal in a relaxed, friendly and safe environment,” he said.

“The generosity of diners as part of our ‘pay it forward’ scheme has been very heartening and we hope the service was beneficial for those who came along.”

Weekly sittings at the restaurant will see 50 homeless people receive a free meal every Monday from 3-5pm, with places able to be booked through Social Bite cafes.