Hawksmoor is officially opening for business in the banking hall of the former Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters on the ground floor of luxury accommodation and social hub The Edinburgh Grand in St Andrew Square after a soft launch earlier this month.
Will Beckett, co-owner of the new restaurant along with Huw Gott, told The Scotsman that the latest move, with about £2 million invested in the launch, came as they “just really like the idea of trying to open great restaurants in great cities… Edinburgh is very clearly one of the great cities in the UK”.
The 170-cover restaurant sits in an A listed building and includes a bar made with panelling from a grand Glaswegian townhouse as well as produce sourced from a cattle farmer on the Isle of Mull.
It has about 50 staff, with Beckett aiming for this to reach about 70, and marks the latest addition to the “cuisine quarter” in the area, which includes The Ivy, Dishoom, Gaucho and Vapiano.
Beckett said he would like Hawksmoor to be considered in terms of say, quality, standards and attention to detail, alongside the likes of independent restaurants in Edinburgh run by Martin Wishart and Tom Kitchin.
He added that the launch has been timed to come ahead of the Festival next month, so it can deal with the additional volume of customers. But he added that longer-term “we want to be a proper Edinburgh restaurant for people who live and work in Edinburgh”. It also wants to contribute “meaningfully” to the local economy.
Beckett and Gott co-own Underdog Group, which already operates four Hawksmoors in London and one in Manchester, and New York set for next year. As for further sites in Scotland, Beckett says the focus is measured growth, and seeing first how the Edinburgh site has performed. “I’m excited about seeing people’s reaction to it,” he added.