Dean Banks opens Dulse bar and restaurant in Edinburgh's West End

It will focus on seafood

Published 28th Jun 2022
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

If the tasting menu at Dean Banks at The Pompadour is slightly out of your price range, try the newest place from this MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 finalist.

The relaxed venue that is Dulse is just a cockle’s throw from the chef's other Edinburgh restaurant, and has opened in the former premises of L'Escargot Blanc, which closed during lockdown.

“Dulse is my neighbourhood-friendly restaurant in Edinburgh. This is your home away from home - welcome to my house, “ says Banks, who also owns Haar in St Andrews. “I am going to offer hero Scottish seafood, doing classic takes on dishes and modernising them in my style of Eastern fusion with Mediterranean influences. We want to see regular faces weekly, who come in and grab a plate of langoustines or oysters or some beautiful North Sea halibut, sauteed mushrooms or plates of veg that we are going to be getting from our farm. We're talking about really simple foods, using the best produce we have in our country”.

Although the downstairs cocktail and wine bar element of the venue is now open, you won’t be able to visit the more formal upstairs restaurant until the end of July.

However, you can currently eat in the street level area, with its drinks list of Old World wines and menu of small plates, including oysters, langoustines, and ‘same day boat squid from Scotland tempura-style’. Prices at Dulse are pitched at ‘mid-level’ and will range from £3 for a snack dish and go up to £28 for a main course in the upstairs restaurant.

The current list of summer-y sounding dishes include BBQ octopus with Isle of Wight tomato and Thai basil dressing; trout pastrami with Katy Rodgers creme fraiche and rye bread and raw Orkney scallop with Perthshire strawberries and elderflower vinaigrette. To celebrate the opening, they’re offering 50 per cent off this food menu, with options that range in price from £10 to £14 before discount, until Friday July 1.

Unlike his fine-dining venues, they want the vibe in this place to be very low key. You won’t have to look out your tux or evening gown, or even brush your hair.

“I just want simple Scottish food served in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere where you can kick back, have a glass of wine or a cocktail with friends and the best seafood in the world”, says Banks. “You can rock up after work, you can rock up in shorts, you can rock up in whatever you feel comfortable”.

The bar will showcase the entrepreneurial Banks’ brands Lunun Gin and Mond Vodka, which they say is ‘diamond filtered’ for clarity.

“The signature cocktail is going to be a pepper dulse Martini using pepper dulse infused Lunun Gin, so we are really ‘hero-ing’ what we have on our doorstep”, says Banks. “We are also teaming up with local partners, Mara Seaweed over in Fife who are going to obviously supply most of our seaweed. Remember, the name is Dulse so we will be using a lot of it”.

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Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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