Masterchef finalist to run new Edinburgh restaurant

Chris Niven
Chris Niven
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Foodies of Edinburgh are to get the chance to sample Masterchef-quality food with the opening of a new city eaterie.

A new restaurant helmed by a familiar face on the restaurant scene is set to make its debut in what could become the latest gastronomic go-to on everyone’s lips.

Masterchef: The Professionals finalist Chris Niven, 34, has been revealed as the executive head chef in charge of the new kitchen housed in the former offices of The Scotsman newspaper on North Bridge.

The Scotsman Grand & Cafe bar will be serving diners from the summer.

It will be the former advertising hall of the building after an extensive overhaul – but plans for the interior design and menu remain under wraps.

He is assembling his 15-strong kitchen team and conjuring up taste sensations that promise to fuse bold flavours with seasonal Scottish ingredients in the run-up to doors opening.

Excited to be getting stuck in to his latest challenge he said it was never an opportunity he could pass up.

He said: “The opportunity to take the reins at The Scotsman Grand Cafe & Bar is one that I didn’t want to miss.

“There is no blueprint, so every dish is being designed from scratch and will be custom-made, with seasonality, flavour and sourcing at the heart of everything we do.”

Formerly head chef at the Printing Press Bar & Kitchen in George Street, the Dundonian has cut his teeth in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the country.

Among those to enjoy his culinary services are famous names including the Old Course Hotel and Rufflets in St Andrews, Malmaison in Dundee and the Capital’s Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club.

Since whetting his appetite for cooking at Dundee College, where he trained in Professional Cookery, the ambitious chef has single-mindedly carved out a career where he champions carefully sourced Scottish fare and Scotland’s unmatched network of local and independent restaurants.

Last year the talented chef fulfilled a long-held dream and appeared on the BBC’s hit cooking competition Masterchef: The Professionals creating dishes for two of his culinary heroes, Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti.

He described the experience as: “stressful but incredible” before narrowly missing out.

The independent restaurant promises to blend the historic setting, first opened way back in 1905, with a contemporary vibe to cook up a vibrant cafe and bar liberally sprinkled with unpretentious eats.

With plans to serve breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks and to serve an extensive wine, whisky and cocktail list into the wee small hours, the new venture hopes to be a hit on Edinburgh’s ever expanding dining scene following a number of changes.

Chris said: “The menu will be easy and elegant with something for everyone, and we are working hard to offer customers something fresh, distinctive and one-of- a-kind in the Edinburgh scene when we open our doors in a few months’ time.”