Edinburgh flooding: Newhaven restaurant’s ceiling collapses during dinner service due to extreme rainfall but owner hopes to reopen next week

A Newhaven restaurant which launched just weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic struck has suffered another blow after part of their ceiling collapsed under the weight of extreme rainfall during dinner service on Sunday.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 5:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 6:26 pm

Pier Brasserie owner Mark Patonyi described witnessing a scene like “tropical rain” inside his restaurant after staff acted quickly to turn off the gas and electrics and move diners to a safe area when the water began pouring in.

Mr Patonyi says a clean-up and roof repair operation is underway and he is hoping to reopen to the public by Wednesday next week, after losing his existing bookings and fresh produce as a result of the flood.

Around half of the total average rainfall for July fell in Edinburgh on Sunday night as homes, businesses and streets were flooded across the city.

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Pier Brasserie owner Mark Patonyi said the ceiling collapsed not long after extreme rainfall caused rain to pour into his restaurant on Sunday. Pictures: Mark Patonyi

Pictures from the Pier Brasserie show the scale of damage caused to the ceiling and the ventilation system above it.

Mr Patonyi said: “It’s so lucky that no one got hurt. It’s unbelievable. We were in service with maybe eight or nine tables and another 60 more people were due to come. I was fully booked.

“It was about 6pm when it unfolded, and it happened really quickly. In one moment the rain started coming down heavily and at that moment water started pouring in, and about 20 minutes later and with the weight of the soaked cardboard ceiling, and with the weight of the equipment and ventilation, it fell through.

“The customers had all been moved away and, with the amount of water pouring in, we cut off the gas and electrics straight away as water was coming from all directions. Candles were lit too.

The ventilation duct collapsed through the ceiling.

“We made sure everyone was moved into a safe area, and some customers started helping us to mop the floor. It was like a tropical rainstorm inside the restaurant.

“The damage is severe and it will be costly, but at the moment the priority is to get this place back up and running.”

Mr Patonyi described Sunday night’s destruction as the “cherry on top of a very sour cake” since opening the brasserie in February last year, just weeks before pandemic restrictions were implemented.

The restaurant owner was told he would not qualify for grants under the furlough scheme during the first lockdown, as the business was new and staff did not receive their PAYE reference number until after the March 19 cut-off date to apply. Difficulties were exacerbated by the second lockdown at the end of 2020.

Mark Patonyi.

But Mr Patonyi, alongside head chef and friend Vladimir Garcik, turned to a takeaway offering during the lockdowns to enable foodies to sample high-quality bistro dishes while taking in the views of Newhaven lighthouse at the harbour.

Mr Patonyi remains defiant and hopes customers will head back to his brasserie from next week to experience high quality bistro meals suitable for steak lovers, vegans, vegetarians and those simply looking to enjoy a light bite with a coffee, glass of wine or cocktail.

The Pier Brasserie also boasts a terrace available for up to 40 guests and the hope is to have waterproof parasols, heating and lighting outside within the next week or so for a full Al Fresco experience.

Mr Patonyi added: “We have been through hell three times since we opened this place and started to get back up again.

Some of the damage done inside the restaurant.

“I feel like a bit of a punchbag but we are still standing and everyone is healthy, that’s the most important thing.

“We have a great chef and a fantastic team who I am very proud of.”

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Mark Patonyi alongside head chef and friend, Vladimir Garcik.
Diners were moved out of the area before the ceiling collapsed.