The well-established ‘Wedgwood the Restaurant’ on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile has recently had a stylish makeover worth £90,000. Run by award-winning chef Paul Wedgwood and partner Lisa Cannon, the restaurant is now in its 9th year of business. Last November it was announced as a Sunday Times Top 100 restaurant, and also received a Hospitality Hero 2015-2016 award from the Scottish Thistle tourism awards. The key to its success is the couple’s passion and commitment to improving their offering.
Situated at the bottom of Edinburgh’s busy Royal Mile, Wedgwood’s large window onto the cobbled street now has a quirky and inviting display of bulbs to tempt diners indoors. The entrance has a small vestibule to keep out the cold, but once you are inside the warm colours and welcoming atmosphere of the restaurant take away any shivers. On entering, the eye is then drawn to the newly constructed wooden bar unit, which has a striking two-tier bespoke shelving unit suspended above it. The wood has a dark stain and the shelf displays the restaurant’s selection of alcoholic spirits. The bottles are illuminated with delicate strip lighting around the top of each shelf.
On the right, as you enter the restaurant, is a line of two-seater tables which have a large new mirror spanning the length of the wall above them.
Turning left leads you into the main restaurant, which has a selection of cream upholstered chairs arranged around dark wooden tables. These are arranged to give space and ease of movement. The space is accentuated with plenty of natural light from the large window, and from inside you notice the cork detail on the hanging bulbs in the window.
A dark wood-effect acoustic vinyl has replaced the carpet and covers the entire room. Its bendable quality means it minimises noise in the restaurant.
Designers Nikki Rennie and Jonathan Duffy, from Pride Shopfitting, helped Paul and Lisa achieve their goal of revealing and restoring the original wall, which is now exposed. The bricks are the original light coloured stone blocks and give the restaurant a rustic feel. The large red pillar which divided the restaurant has now been painted cream, and the tables resting against the back wall of the restaurant have been rearranged. The bar, which was previously there, has been removed and in its place there is space for waiting staff to collect dishes from the low window into the kitchen. A red banquette style bench has been added which has its back to the new bar.
Lisa explains,“We felt that previously the bar was looking on to diners, and we wanted to offer a more intimate, private dining experience.”
Jonathan Duffy, added, “from developing our concept design to our full turnkey fit-out, it was a pleasure working with Wedgwood the restaurant”.
Another big change is the new wallpaper which is made from a textured bamboo material; this covers the whole back wall and the other half of the exposed wall.
Lisa says, “We chose the bamboo material because it is a very natural, earthy texture, and the ‘copper flashes’ in it match the warm colours throughout the restaurant, especially the new red bench.”
Look up anywhere in the main restaurant and you will spot the new eye-catching ring-shaped glass lampshades, in pale pink and yellow shades. Seventeen of them adorn the ceiling.
Passing the bar, a narrow corridor guides guests to the stairs leading to the second dining room. A spectacular chandelier hangs above the stairs which is designed to look like a climbing plant. The lampshades have been replaced, and now have a spherical wooden design. This allows light to cast curving shadows on the walls.
Downstairs, a stylish light wall immediately catches the eye. Separating the restaurant and the corridor to the toilets; it has a long, flat climbing light structure in the same style as the chandelier. On both sides it is encased in statement copper sheeting with little squares. The squares have been lasered out to allow the lights to twinkle through. The wall at the top of the room has been painted burgundy which gives the space a warm feel to it, and the long wall has the same bamboo wallpaper as upstairs. The wall lights have been removed and replaced with a number of spotlights. At the far end of the room, the entire wall is mirrored to give the illusion of depth. There are tablecloths downstairs which give the room a sophisticated feel, and the original beige carpet keeps noise to a minimum.
Paul says, “I gave Nikki Rennie the idea for the wrap around lighting, and she designed this amazing sheeting.”
The design of the unique copper sheeting on the light wall has also been used upstairs on a series of new light boxes. Five boxes in total are arranged in a line along the top of the exposed wall and bamboo wall.
Lisa says, “We knew we wanted to brighten up the wall, and Paul’s idea for the copper sheeting really works upstairs as well as downstairs. We think it gives a great modern touch to the room.”
About the whole refurb’, Paul says “We wanted to bring the interior up to the standard of the service and food. We are a busy restaurant so we really wanted to future-proof the venue. By investing now, we’re looking to prevent any potential damage with tough, solid and natural-looking materials. For example, the brick wall will certainly be hard-wearing and the natural design reflects our attitude to food which is always seasonal, wild and foraged for.”
Lisa and Paul aim to give customers a calm and relaxing dining experience, with no pressure to rush, and they have certainly achieved that.
Lisa says, “We put a lot of our profit straight back into the business so that it continues to grow. We really wanted to update the interior to refresh the dining experience, but also retain what our customers have come to know and love. Our goal was to keep the décor as natural as possible with a selection of new materials and textures. So far, all our customers have been delighted!”.