New bijou bistro to top Leith Walk

Roberta Hall and Shaun McCarron.
Roberta Hall and Shaun McCarron.
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A soupçon of French fare blended with touch of British bistro flare is set for the east end as former Castle Terrace chef Roberta Hall returns to the Capital to open a new restaurant.

Neighbourhood-style bistro The Little Chartroom will launch in mid-June with Roberta in the kitchen and partner, restaurant manager Shaun McCarron, managing front of house.

On Albert Place, at the top of Edinburgh’s Leith Walk, it is the first solo venture for the Edinburgh couple who met when both were working at chef patron Dominic Jack’s fine dining restaurant Castle Terrace.

Previously Roberta spent three years working at Michelin starred The Kitchin before assisting mentor Dominic in the opening of Castle Terrace, where she worked for six years and where she went on to become head chef.

Prior to The Kitchin, Roberta trained at a number of restaurants in Edinburgh before spending a year and a half working at The Burj al Arab in Dubai.

Shaun said: “We are really happy to be back in the city – we grew up here and all our family are here. We’re also super excited about being back in Leith – we lived there before moving down south and we love the atmosphere and the buzz about it.”

And although many relationships would struggle under the pressure of working together for long hours, Shaun said that they have the recipe for success.

“Sometimes I will have to help in the kitchen and Roberta will have to do a few front of house shifts.

“It helps create greater understanding of the stresses of each of our jobs.

“We try and keep the personal and the professional lives separate and not take work home at the end of the night. We also work well together and bounce ideas off one another and most of all we love what we do.”

The intimate bistro, with just 18 covers, will promote a relaxed atmosphere, welcoming everyone be it for a quick post-work meal or those keen to enjoy a five course tasting menu.

Serving French British style cuisine, The Little Chartroom will focus on simple and seasonal food with the level of work and attention to detail that comes as standard from a classically trained chef and which will elevate it above your standard bistro fare.

They will be serving lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday and brunch at the weekend. Roberta said: “We always had our heart set on Leith. We would have been happy with the right site anywhere but feel extra lucky to have found this site.”

Named The Little Chartroom after Roberta’s love of sailing, their designers, up and coming duo Studio Niro, commissioned pieces by Roberta’s mum who creates bespoke artworks from old shipping charts.

She added: “I am delighted to have my mum’s artwork in the restaurant – she’s really creative and we even have some of the charts at home.

“They are very personal to me as I grew up sailing during the summer holidays with my parents.”

The menu is yet to be finalised but Roberta and Shaun, who are also planning their wedding, revealed a few tantalising tid bits.

A starter of crispy chicken wings with chicken consommé and lemon and celery will make the final cut and customers can also expect to see fillet of hake with fennel, almonds, orange, olives and a shellfish bisque on the mains shortlist.

There will be a nod to a traditional sailing aesthetic with brass hardware and rich marine blues in the interiors.

An open kitchen is being designed to reduce the division between the kitchen and dining room with the chefs assisting Shaun in the front of house service.