Edinburgh's New Chapter restaurant team now bringing their bold buns to Leith

Edinburgh’s Otro may have closed down, but soon we’ll have Bundits
Deep fried bao with honeycomb, banana and passionfruit curdDeep fried bao with honeycomb, banana and passionfruit curd
Deep fried bao with honeycomb, banana and passionfruit curd

It was a sad day for Edinburgh diners when popular restaurant Otro shut its doors back in September 2020.

They became yet another lockdown casualty, though survived by their sister restaurant, New Chapter on Eyre Place.

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However, now a phoenix has risen from the ashes, in the form of the squishy hirata buns that will be served at the team’s pop-up, Bundits, due to open on Friday 5 February.

Their new place, also owned by Matt and Carol Korecki, will be offering appropriately socially distanced takeaway at 48-52 Constitution Street - the former premises of Leith pub, the Fly Half. The fast casual street food style and the cartoon-ish logo of a Zoro-esque-looking bun, is quite a U-turn, when you consider the menu of classic European bistro food they produced at their other restaurants.

“We’ve actually wanted to do something like this for a while. We found the perfect location and decided to go for it, “ says their sales and events manager, Daniela Wolniak.

“Then the crazy ride of constantly-changing restrictions started, so we had to rethink everything and the plans kept changing. When lockdown came, we decided to launch a pop-up, test the idea and spread the word. By then, we had the recipes, the premises and the branding, and were itching to share them”.

The menu, created by their head chef, Maciek Szymik, who once worked under Stuart Muir at Harvey Nichols’ Forth Floor Restaurant, can be viewed on their website.

Deep fried bao with matcha and mangoDeep fried bao with matcha and mango
Deep fried bao with matcha and mango

It includes buns filled with Korean fried chicken, Asian slaw and kelpie mayo, or sweet deep-fried numbers that contain diet-bothering combinations including honeycomb, banana and passionfruit curd, or matcha, mango and condensed milk. There are jazzed-up loaded fries, and side dishes, such as Korean fried cauliflower or fried chicken with gochujang chilli sauce and roasted garlic mayo. The only thing that this place has in common with New Chapter is that the food is relatively affordable. At Bundits, it’s £4.50 for one bun, £8 for two.

However, as Szymik refuses to use bleached flour, don’t expect their signature Chinese bao to be as porcelain-veneer-white as the mass produced versions.

“Our buns will be freshly made in our kitchen from scratch every day, and our head chef has put hours into developing the perfect recipe,” says Wolniak. “While Bundits will be completely different from New Chapter, the food will still be made from freshly sourced local ingredients”.

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Although they’re cautiously describing the restaurant as a pop-up, it’s hoped that, if restrictions allow, it will become a permanent fixture. Currently, they’ve repurposed one section for takeaway, but the space could seat 250 people, and includes two rooms that can be used for functions.

Fried chicken with gochujang sauceFried chicken with gochujang sauce
Fried chicken with gochujang sauce

“Ultimately we want it to be a fun place, where you can pop in for a relaxed breakfast bun and a coffee with a newspaper, a drink after work or even throw a hen party,” Wolniak says, “The form in which we are launching is a pop-up and we're not ruling out carrying on with the takeaway in the form it is in now. However, we are hoping to stay here and keep it going. We will definitely build on it, and eventually have sit-in areas and a great bar”.

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