MANY of Edinburgh’s top restaurants have a picture of Sir Sean Connery gracing their walls as their most famous diner.
But they may well soon have to make space for a slightly more glamorous film star addition to their picture gallery.
Hollywood A-lister Nicole Kidman has sent the Capital’s top eateries into a spin by announcing she is hungry to try out its top culinary spots.
Kidman put chefs across the city on red alert at a press conference in the Creative Scotland office in Waverley Gate, where she appeared with fellow Oscar winning co-star Colin Firth to publicise their new movie, The Railway Man.
The stars jetted into town as filming is about to begin across Edinburgh and the Lothians for the next ten weeks.
Kidman, who also revealed how she had visited the Capital as a teenager, said she would not be hiding in a hotel room when not on set.
She said: “I’ve been here before as a tourist but that was on a road trip with a boyfriend when I was 18. I’ve heard there’s some great restaurants, so I will be out and about, though we’re working six days a week. The fact we’re working in a number of locations means we’ll get to see lots too.”
One of the first stops may well be the Michelin-starred Balmoral – a stone’s throw from the press conference location, where staff yesterday said they couldn’t possibly comment on the prospect.
However, Pierre Levicky, owner of Chez Joules in Hanover Street, said he was looking forward to a visit.
“She will get a warm welcome here. I don’t know what she’s used to, but she’s Australian so our food is better than theirs. I hope we’ll recognise her!”
Both Kidman and Firth have clearly been well prepped ahead of their visit and skilfully sidestepped a request to reveal who they would be supporting in the cup final.
To cries of “What a way to alienate an entire half of the city?” from producer Andy Paterson, Kidman chose to flash a full-beam Hollywood smile while Firth simply stated: “I’m not going anywhere near that.”
The film tells the story of Edinburgh-born Second World War prisoner of war Eric Lomax, played by Colin Firth, who spent years in Japan’s notorious Changi POW camp.
Mr Lomax, now 92 and living in North Berwick, was one of thousands of Allied prisoners forced to work on building the Death Railway between Thailand and Burma.
Kidman plays his wife, Patti, who helped him overcome his terrors. Firth told how “overwhelmed” he was by the enormity of Eric’s story.
He refused to be drawn on how his Scottish accent is shaping up, saying: “I’d like to plead the fifth on that just yet.”
Meanwhile, Kidman is “polishing” her English accent to take on the role of Patti, who she will meet during shooting.