There are dozens upon dozens of restaurants across Edinburgh. But how many of them could you go in for your meal and know that you could have that table as long as you like? No ‘sure, we can fit you in but we need the table by 9′ or feeling the pressure to get your coat once you’ve done with dessert. Well, if you like taking your time over dinner then Paul and Lisa Wedgwood’s Wedgwood the Restaurant is what you’re looking for.
A restaurant that is designed with your perfect night out in mind, with great seasonal produce and delicious dishes this Canongate restaurant is the latest in our Business Makes Edinburgh series. With so many great restaurants, Wedgwood the Restaurant takes a refreshing approach and one, you feel, is only possible because it is owned and run by the Wedgwoods. Paul took some time out of his busy day to talk about what makes their business tick.
Wedgwood the Restaurant
267 Canongate, EH8
Like you reading this, I don’t know Paul, so I asked him to give us a brief biography for them and the restaurant.
“My life before opening the restaurant involved getting as much experience as possible in each department of hospitality! I started working as a pot wash at the age of 14 and worked my way up since, from busy pubs and high-end bars to Michelin star restaurants.
“Lisa’s background is in office management, so this works perfectly for managing the business. I deal with the culinary side of things while Lisa runs an amazing front of house team. We fully support each other whilst running the restaurant.”
Everything you read about Wedgwood the Restaurant comes back to the principle of having a great night out – not just a meal. “The key element is not to be rushed!! We love to dine out, and always prefer to take our time over three courses, maybe even an extra cheese board and coffees. Being handed your coats after 2 hours is a horrible feeling – you may not want to go out for more drinks, but then it could be too early to go home!! So this is where our idea of the perfect night out came from, we wanted to make the night for our customers that we expect when we dine out.
“We also have created a relaxed atmosphere, you can turn up in your finest clothes or jeans and a jumper and neither guest will feel uncomfortable. We have a knowledgeable front of house team who, from extensive training, know the menu inside out, and can recommend a wine to match from our carefully thought out.”
Sounds great, doesn’t it? And makes you wonder why more restaurants aren’t like that. Well, the obvious answer coming to my head is sadly economics based – Paul and Lisa’s approach limits the number of covers (i.e. the number of bums on seats) they can accommodate. It does have an impact, Paul admits, with 48 being the normal number for an evening – sometimes up to 55 at the weekend. But clearly there’s a commitment to not rushing people. Surely a nearly unique selling point?
As for the food, it’s all about fresh flavours and – although it’s becoming a bit of a cliché that I’m hesitant to fall into using – about the experience. “Fresh, innovative and exciting. No restaurant guest wants to choose to eat something which they can make themselves at home, we always have to be pushing our own boundaries and keep dishes exciting for all those who visit the restaurant.”
But where does the inspiration for those flavours come from? All over, it would seem: “Travel definitely influences my dishes at the restaurant, discovering new food and flavours around the world is one of my favourite things to do.
“On our most recent trip in January we went to Sydney. As a country Australia doesn’t have its own ‘style of food’, but it is a fusion of so many different cultures. We love dining out there and trying new food and we always bring back a little inspiration.”
Exciting plans for the rest of the year and beyond are being kept a tight-lipped secret for now, but the commitment to great food and a perfect night out are remaining – thankfully – steadfast at the top of the agenda for Wedgwood the Restaurant. If you’re looking for somewhere new to try – or perhaps rediscover – then take a trip down the Canongate, pull up a chair and stay a while.
Our thanks go to Paul for answering our questions, the photos are courtesy of Crimson Edge Public Relations ltd.