Food critic Jay Rayner slams the St James Quarter - your views online

Edinburgh’s St James Quarter has been slated by food critic and occasional MasterChef judge Jay Rayner as “just a bloody great, soulless shopping centre”.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 7:00 am

He adds that “once you’re told that the bronze coil resembles the poop emoji it’s really very hard to see anything else”. Do readers agree?

Evan Popplestone: It’s way better than the dismal old St James Centre, the food options are pretty good for a mall and the shops bright, accessible and trendy. If Princes Street has gone downhill, blame gouging rents and the fact that the retail spaces are tawdry, threadbare and dirty – badly in need of renovation. The street has become a byword for vacant units, overpriced American Candy and tartan tat pop-ups and a sheer failure of imagination on the part of the local authorities.

Pamela Mitchell: I have to agree with Jay Rayner, it's yet another “carbuncle”. The shops are no different to any other in the world, unlike the wonderful stores that once graced our streets like Jenners, Forsyths and Patrick Thomson's to name but a few. I'll give it 15 years before it starts to crumble and the orange peel metal become tarnished.

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The St James Quarter development is divisive – if our readers’ opinions are anything to go by

Lenny Love: He is absolutely correct! It takes over from the carbuncle that was there before. Another concrete and glass disgrace, and completely out of character with the architecture of the area.

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Niki Forbes: As with most high streets, Princes Street’s demise is largely down to people turning to online shopping. If you don't use it you loose it.

Moyo Oj: I think it's beautiful!! I think it's great that it's so modern and different to so much we already have. If you don't like it, that's fine too – there are literally hundreds of beautiful historic buildings, shops and restaurants to choose from. You can happily never enter this particular mall if you feel very strongly about it.

Gavin Work: It's a fantastic centre and far better use of the space than the old asbestos-filled concrete slab there before. Sounds like old people complaining about new things. All I never hear about it are people who hate it, but they seem to be OK with the old enclosed, dust-filled overheating concrete slab that was the old centre. This one is far more open, vented and accessible, but people throw a hissy fit because of some decoration.

Elizabeth Summerfield: I'm an old person, and I can remember what was there before the obscene concrete slab that was the old St James Centre – and it was a lot better than anything that's been put up there since it was demolished.

Wm Innes: Was there for the first time on Saturday. Restaurants were woeful and no decent areas for kids to eat. Shops were the same as any high street and the wind was howling through the building. A weird place.

David Farrer: It’s a big improvement on what was there previously and I have grown to like it. All shopping centres are soulless. This happens to be one of the better ones. Stop whingeing – you are lucky to have such a wonderful and beautiful city.

Marie McNeill: There are lots of old and new buildings alongside each other in London and they look amazing. Stop getting stuck, people.

Louise Wilson: Last time I was there it was a cold day. There was a gale blowing right through the centre and it actually felt colder than outside.

Benjamin Ho: People can say what they want, but would anyone disagree that it hasn't been a success? Yes, it's had its up and downs yet it still isn't even at its full capacity in terms of retail outlets, restaurants and entertainment-wise. I reckon it still has even more potential for growth and even more success.

Woodstock Taylor: As carbuncles go, I prefer it to oblong boxes. That's a pretty low bar though.

Alan Brown: It's a Walnut Whip I tell you! Just a Walnut Whip that's passed through the digestive tract of an Alsatian.

Hugh Mooney: I like it because it is what it is... a huge soulless shipping centre. They are supposed to be temples to capitalism and consumerism. If you want character and soul go to a gallery, theatre or a church. I even like the shiny metal poo.

Cameron Mather: There's enough culture and architecture in the rest of the city to satisfy the most demanding of food critics. And food.

Henry Campbell Gillan: It must be puzzling to some here why so many locals and visitors alike are patronising the new Quarter. They must prefer the glamour and buzz of Livingston.

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