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Chef Dean Banks to open Edinburgh restaurant -while closing Haar in St Andrews

Published: April 10, 2021
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After an unresolved lease review with his landlord in St Andrews, the Masterchef finalist is set to open a restaurant in the capital.

Chef Dean Banks has spoken openly about wanting to open an Edinburgh restaurant, and was seeking out locations before the pandemic hit last year. This was to be a sister eatery to his successful restaurant Haar, which opened in the town’s five star Kinnettles Hotel in 2019.

But now, due to lease problems in St Andrews that Dean revealed as a "lease review with unreasonable terms – we just couldn’t’ agree to it", the celebrated chef is closing Haar in St Andrews and has secured premises for an Edinburgh restaurant - a role reversal of where Dean was in 2020.

Speaking to The Courier, Dean said: "He said: “We went to go and open a restaurant in Edinburgh this time last year but we had to stop because of the pandemic.

"With everything opening back up again soon we decided to kickstart the project again. We have found a different site to the initial one. It is very central and is well-known, and is a beautiful place.

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“Originally this was meant to be the second Haar and after everything that has happened, Haar doesn’t currently have a home in St Andrews.

"I’ve been searching high and low for the past three months for somewhere. There’s been a few sites but they have asked for a high premium of £75,000 to take on the lease. There’s nothing realistic.

“We want Haar to have its home in St Andrews. We have an amazing, loyal customer base there. It is our flagship, where we’ve made the brand and what we’re known for. I’m hoping someone has a place that just isn’t on the market.

"We want to stay here, but we need to look at getting the business trading again for when we can reopen. We don’t want to not have a restaurant open so the key is to get the Edinburgh venue open – probably by June 1.

Dean confirmed that four or five of his 18 staff have been moved to other areas of the business with the rest offered jobs in Haarbour - his high end chippy that opened in St Andrews last year, Haar at Home or in the new Edinburgh restaurant.

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During the past year of lockdowns and levels, Dean has seen huge success with his Haar at Home boxes.

Speaking to The Scotsman on the anniversary of the first lockdown, Dean said: "The big success for us has been Haar at Home, taking our offering nationwide.

"It has been a massive success, almost three times as big as the restaurant itself – Haar in St Andrews - ever was.

"Lockdown has made everyone start being a bit more creative and come up with a new industry, one that didn’t really exist before."

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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