Shock as popular Edinburgh restaurant announces closure

A popular capital restaurant will remain closed even after lockdown restrictions ease.

Published 2nd Jun 2020
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

The team at the Edinburgh Food Studio have announced the closure of their Dalkeith Road restaurant and kitchen.

The Edinburgh Food Studio, which opened its premises on Dalkeith Road to diners in 2018, originally started as food research hub and was devised by Ben Reade and Sashana Souza Zanella in 2015 following a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The Edinburgh Food Studio follows an academic and analytical approach to cuisine.

Quality of produce was paramount at the studio, which often welcomed guest chefs such as Rupert Waites and Thomas Chisholm of Buck and Birch, Leonardo Pereira a former sous chef at Noma and Pedro Pena Bastos, head chef at Ceia in Portugal.

The restaurant arm of the business ran in tandem with the existing Scottish food research lab and avant-garde events programme, which earned the studio international acclaim.

On opening the restaurant side of the business, Ben Reade and Sashana Souza Zanella were joined by head chef, James Murray.

Prior to founding the Studio, Ben Reade worked for Noma, Copenhagen, as head of research and development at the Nordic Food Lab, while anthropologist Sashana Souza Zanella, is a graduate and latterly a tutor at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, where she specialised in co-ordinating international research trips.

Decision to close

Speaking about the decision to close, co-founder Ben Reade explains it was not just related to the current coronavirus crisis, saying: "Our lease came to an end on the 1 June, and while we had intended on renewing that lease, obviously, with what's going on right now, it just doesn't seem to make sense.

"At the moment we are going to let that lie until things become clearer - like what the future holds - and then we can make decisions about how to how to reemerge. It just didn't make sense to renew the lease in such uncertain times.

"We also need to think about opportunity as there may be new spaces available and how businesses will have no choice but to operate differently in the future.

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Ben is keen to let customers know that this isn't the end of the Edinburgh Food Studio: "The business isn't dead, we have every intention of re-birthing ourselves at some point at some point, somewhere somehow although we don't know what form that's going to take.

"We definitely  want to continue Edinburgh Food Studio as it's become so important to so many people and we've just spent so much time and energy creating something great.  It just doesn't make sense to take on a new lease because even if lockdown ended tomorrow, restaurants still won't be able to open.

Positive outlook

"We've really had no other choice but maybe it's an opportunity as well, and I think many people will be in the same boat - maybe they can't take new gambles or they can't invest in something that's only going to work for lockdown and then afterwards they'd have to start from scratch again.

"I'd far rather put a positive spin on the situation and think about the opportunities this might allow us, maybe there will be new spaces in town and new opportunities that will enable us to take our brand more central or to do a different kind of vibe or a different series of things."

Posting in a letter to friends of the Studio, Ben  wrote: "We must take this chance to thank everyone who has helped us at 158 Dalkeith Road. Our treasured suppliers who have brought in the very best of Scottish produce, our myriad collaborators and friends who have kept spirits up, and our most welcome guests who have made it all possible.

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"There is nobody, however, who deserves more thanks than our team. It is our team who have worked tirelessly to build Edinburgh Food Studio with us over the last few years, our team who have put so much passion and dedication into serving great food to our guests. We send them our heartfelt thanks. This will impact nobody more than them.

"So, it's with heavy hearts we have closed the doors and say goodbye to 158 Dalkeith Road. In the spirit of moving onwards positively, we see this as an opportunity for rebirth, growth and redefining Edinburgh Food Studio.

We have reinvented ourselves before: we will do it again. We don't know what form it will take or exactly where it will be but we'll be back."

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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