Chef Dan Ashmore to open ASKR - his first solo restaurant in Edinburgh

A new restaurant will open in Leith this spring.

Published 28th Feb 2024
Updated 28 th Feb 2024

Chef Dan Ashmore has launched his own restaurant, ASKR, with the support of his friend and mentor chef Dean Banks.

ASKR will be located on the site of Chop House in Leith, which closed earlier this year.

ASKR, named from old Nordic and meaning ash or ash tree, will open this spring, but it doesn't mean Dan's departure from Dean's business.

ASKR will launch as part of Dean’s restaurant group, meaning Dan will remain as food director of all the outlets and have the backing of a successful established group behind his fledgling eatery.

Dan said: “I am absolutely still part of the Dean Banks Group and very proudly so. I’ll still be working away in the background helping develop dishes and train staff for the other sites.

“For me it’s a huge plus to still be connected to the group, it’s a scary world out there right now in hospitality and to have partners, especially ones as experienced as Dean is nothing but a benefit for me.

“The fact he’s very keen to make this restaurant about me is such a testament to how selfless he is, I want to make sure people know we’re still very much working together.

“I think it’s a fantastic way to create growth for teams, it can often happen that people reach a ceiling at work and the only way to break that is by moving on. I think this is a very modern well thought out path that benefits everyone involved.

“It can show other team members that it’s absolutely worth digging your heels in and calling the DB group home. I’m incredibly humbled to have been given this opportunity.”

Dan’s first restaurant is an exciting new concept and something fresh for the group and for Edinburgh, as well as the fulfilment of a lifelong dream for the chef himself.

Outlander's Graham McTavish has released a 7 year old bourbon whiskey

Dan said: “It still doesn’t feel completely real. It’s something that’s been on my mind in various forms since I started cooking 18 years ago when I was a 15-year-old boy. The fact it’s happening and especially how it’s come about is really amazing.

“The concept is a lovely one. We’ve got a wonderful fire pit style bbq in the kitchen and we’re going to be using that as the main source of cooking.

“We’ll be using different coals and woods to create different flavours and levels of smoke. I’ve already started researching which coals and woods do things differently to others and what flavour profiles they have.

“I love cooking over coal and have two different types of bbq at home. I just love how tactile cooking over fire is. You’ve really got to be on your A-game.”

Of the name, Dan explained: “ASKR is the name, it comes from old Nordic. Depending on where you read it means Ash or Ash Tree, both very fitting for the type of cooking we will be doing.

Ondine Oyster & Grill Edinburgh's new head chef Jake Hassall answers our food questions

“It’s a very happy coincidence that Ash is the first half of my surname. I think the whole thing just fits together so well, it all feels very elemental in nature, the name and the cooking style marry together perfectly.”

Dan thinks ASKR should open some time in March, but hasn’t yet created the menu although he is figuring out ideas and how to put them together.

Dan Ashmore ASKR Edinburgh
Picture: Grant Anderson

He said: “I’ve been busy working on a few sample menus and jotting lots of ideas down. “I’m quite excited about a hogget dish I’ve been working on, the plan is to buy the animals whole and create a two-part dish.

“The first will be a smoked consommé with morels cooked in hogget fat and wild garlic, this will be served while we will be dressing the second serving which will be the loin, served with sheep’s curd and fresh peas, and a fragrant hogget sauce poured tableside.

“I’ve also got a wonderful Orkney scallop dish that’s cooked almost directly on the coal and is then glazed in an Edinburgh honey and pine vinegar dressing, this will be served with a sauce made using grilled pears.”

Hairy Bikers visit Scottish businesses in Go Local BBC TV show

Meanwhile Dean himself is over the moon to be able to support Dan in his first solo venture – while keeping him in the family.

Dean said: “I’m really proud of Dan, this is a special moment and it’s a thrill to see him go out on his own.

“It’s a massive benefit to me to keep him as part of the Group too – he’s integral to what we do and I would hate to lose his skills.

“At the same time it’s really important to me to help our team dream big and achieve those goals, fulfil their potential.

“Dan is already a star so it’s a privilege to be able to help him take the next steps. It’s always stuck with me how hard it was getting started on my own, so I want to help the next generation through that.

“I hope other chefs see this and take it on board. We need to ensure the future of hospitality – so help each other please.”

Dan added: “I just want to say a huge thank you to my friend and now business partner Dean. It’s amazing to work with people who have such unwavering faith in you, it really does mean the world.”

ASKR will join Ardfern as new eateries in Leith. Ardfern is a cafe, bar and wine shop from Roberta Hall McCarron which will open next door to Little Chartroom this spring/summer.

Chop House, Constitution Street, Leith, Edinburgh, UK
Chop House, Constitution Street, Leith, Edinburgh, UK, EH6 6AW
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.
Copyright ©2024 National World Publishing Ltd
Cookie SettingsTerms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy
crosschevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram