A new, 92-cover, 186 sq m bar, plus a 116-cover, 207 sq m restaurant, under the direction of chef-restaurateur Des McDonald, with a grill-brasserie feel, designed to offer maximum adaptability in order to attract day and night-time visitors with the full impact of a destination space. Our design approach was to be highly respectful to the building’s original fabric, as well as to the late Victorian insertions, restoring grandeur and creating an environment that instantly feels long-established. The project won the Best Restaurant or Bar in Hotel category at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016 and won the silver award for Hospitality Interior Design at the 2016 London Design Awards.
The restaurant concept has been masterminded by chef-restaurateur Des McDonald and includes the appointment of new head chef Colin Fleming, previously of the Old Court Hotel in St Andrews and Restaurant Martin Wishart in Edinburgh.
Listed or high-quality original features that have been retained include the ceiling and walls, where a special antique finish was used to restore the decorative plasterwork friezes. Flooring throughout is new and includes herringbone dark-stained oak sections and chequerboard tiling in black nero marquina and white carrrara marble. All joinery is bespoke and in oak, including the bar, which also has black metal and brass gantries with inset light to set off the displays of glass and spirits.
Seating in the restaurant and bar is a mix of bespoke-designed aged dark tan leather chairs with brass stud detailing and banquettes with smoky blue velvet backs and blue leather seats. Accessories in the space refer to Edinburgh’s literary heritage and include excerpts from correspondence, set into clustered oval frames; a display of vintage type-writers and Scottish novels, as well as vintage printing press lettering, referring to the building’s very first usage – and the source of the new name – as a printing press.