Edinburgh locals complain city centre eaterie has ‘restaurant menu’ despite having cafe licence

A popular Edinburgh foodie hotspot is offering diners a “restaurant menu” despite only being granted permission to operate as a cafe, a community group has complained.

A popular Edinburgh foodie hotspot is offering diners a “restaurant menu” despite only being granted permission to operate as a cafe, a community group has complained.
A popular Edinburgh foodie hotspot is offering diners a “restaurant menu” despite only being granted permission to operate as a cafe, a community group has complained.

Scran expanded its operation in the North Bridge Arcade last year, converting the basement and ground floor, with the New Town branch advertising as a cafe, bistro and bar and boasting the capital’s ‘best brunch’.

A retrospective application for change of use of the premises at 36 North Bridge was granted by Edinburgh City Council despite concerns about cooking odours from local residents and an objection from the local community council.

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Planners approved change of use from retail to a ‘restricted’ restaurant, stipulating that the basement kitchen could only use a microwave oven, panini machine, soup urn, and toaster to prepare meals.

The plans were met with objection from Old Town Community Council, which said a recent “expansion of the menu” suggests the bistro is “moving towards offering a full restaurant menu”.

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Dishes recently advertised by Scran New Town on social media include poached eggs, bacon, pancakes and french toast.

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The community council added cooking smells “regularly penetrate the flats above”.

Furthermore, a resident who lives in a flat above Scran said the menu has developed “from paninis to hot meals” since opening, with the food now on offer requiring “actual cooking”.

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The objector added the units were “converted without permission from retail in lockdown”.

“The big issue for residents re this unit, including me, is not especially noise, though there has been some,” he said, adding the main concerns are that of “cooking smells and fire risk”.

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He highlighted that the application made “no mention” of Scran’s other restaurant at the Cockburn Street end of the Arcade, which he said has had a “woeful effect on the area”.

“I don’t believe the council have properly taken into account that Scran is using all these units, with three separate postcodes, and all of the Arcade, plus at present a street shack as basically one colossal restaurant,” he added.

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He said claims it was open as a cafe are “a ruse” and added he has had to repeatedly speak to the bistro’s management about “sound, light and odour pollution” coming from the premises over the last year.

Scran and Old Town Community Council were contacted for comment.

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