Capital bar veterans team up to relaunch former Edinburgh gastropub Brandon's as One Canonmills

Two veterans of the Edinburgh's bar scene have teamed up to relaunch a popular gastropub in the Bonnington area of the city.

Published 4th Feb 2020
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Michael Donovan and Martin Duffy, who first met more than a decade ago during their time at Le Monde, took over former gastropub Brandon's in April last year.

One Cannonmills

The refreshed bar offers an exciting new menu.

Their first foray into owning their own bar, the pair wasted no time in enacting their own vision for the place, leading to the name change just a few months later.

Now named One Canonmills, Martin explains that the philosophy for the bar is simple, he said: "Bars should serve guests and stock products, never the other way around.

The bar interior has had a refresh.

"You may 'serve' a menu of 1001 whiskies but if you don't look after every single guest's needs, every single time, then you've messed up."

Offering a tightly curated selection of gins, whiskies (with a focus on Scotch), and local draught beer, with a small cocktail menu, the cosy bar has also maintained a decent food offering.

One Cannonmills

As well as exciting cocktails and tastings.

Featuring comfort food "done well", Martin said their signature dishes include Bao Buns - in particular, the Fish Finger version with beer-battered haddock, gem lettuce, pickle and citrus mayo - and of course, a burger.

"We decided to only have one beef burger but well delivered so we get Buffalo Meat from Buffalo Farm in Fife as well as bacon from their neighbour Puddledub, served on a brioche with lettuce, tomato, pickle, cheese and homemade burger relish."

He added that the weekend brunch has been particularly popular, he said: "We have all the combos of bacon, eggs, salmon and avocado that you'd expect but our signature is definitely the Benedict Bagel, I always found a muffin wasn't quite big enough to satisfy, so we do ours on a whole toasted bagel with lashings of extra sauce to cover it."

As you'd expect from the man behind the highly successful Juniper Festival at Summerhall (now deftly handled by Martin's former colleagues who run the Summerhall Drinks Lab), gin, as well as whisky, are taking centre stage at the new bar.

"We'll be offering a number of spirits experiences including a whisky tasting with our on-hand expert Chris Hoban, who will be offering five delightful drams alongside some delicious food."

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The experienced industry veterans have also stated that they will also be paying their staff the living wage, Martin explained:  "The hospitality industry is for the majority operating at minimum wage.

"I firmly believe that this doesn't reflect the work people put into making the modern industry an attractive place to work and they should be rewarded for working to the standards that guests have come to expect.

"I hope that long term it leads to better staff retention and a better quality of life for my team."

Explaining that they are looking to retain the neighbourhood bar feel that's dog and family-friendly but with a "citywide appeal", the pair believe the area - which is a big draw for visitors to the Water of Leith - is the perfect location for their first venture together.

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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