Marvel film director Joe Russo tells us about investing in a new Edinburgh restaurant

The bistro, Under the Table, serves modern Scottish dishes
Paul, Joe and Sean outside Under the Table Pic: Ian GeorgesonPaul, Joe and Sean outside Under the Table Pic: Ian Georgeson
Paul, Joe and Sean outside Under the Table Pic: Ian Georgeson

It seems that a touch of stardust has been sprinkled on Edinburgh’s Dundas Street.

Film director Joe Russo, who is best known for his work alongside his brother, Anthony, on films including Captain America and Avengers, has invested in Under the Table.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is a new basement-level bistro, from the chef patron of nine-year-old street level restaurant, The Table, Sean Clark, and his new business partner, former wine merchant, Paul O’Donoghue.

Paul and Sean outside Under the Table Pic: Ian GeorgesonPaul and Sean outside Under the Table Pic: Ian Georgeson
Paul and Sean outside Under the Table Pic: Ian Georgeson

Clark and Russo answer our questions about the exciting venture.

Joe Russo:

Tell us about discovering The Table

I stumbled upon it when I Googled “best restaurant in Edinburgh.” And after reading all of the stellar reviews about Sean’s boutique chef’s table approach, I booked all 10 seats they had for family and friends. We had one of the best meals of our lives. Sean’s passion, skill, and ability to blend traditional Scottish flavors and ingredients with nouvelle cuisine presentation, to deliver stunning bursts of flavour, all set to a soundtrack of kick ass classic rock - I couldn’t compare it to any other dining experience I had ever had. An exquisite meal there soon became a family tradition every time we visited Edinburgh.

Your most memorable dish there?

There’s too many to count. Is it the Guinness risotto with fried mussels? Or the deconstructed hot toddy desert? Maybe it was the most flavourful short rib I’ve ever had. One year we celebrated Thanksgiving in St Andrews while our kids were attending university there. We asked Sean if he was up for the challenge of cooking his first ever Thanksgiving meal. Although apprehensive about handling some American delicacies like sweet potato casserole, he made the most memorable and delicious Thanksgiving meal we’ve ever had. Including a moss and mushroom appetiser that I still dream about.

Are you a fan of Edinburgh in general?

It’s one of my favorite cities. Since my daughter started school at the University of St Andrews in 2014, Scotland has become a second home for our family. I’ve had two children, four nieces and nephews, and many friends attend St Andrews. I even have a Scottish son-in-law now! Edinburgh captivates me with its gorgeous topography, warm residents, and eclectic artistic integrity. There’s nowhere else like it - where you can have an award winning cocktail at Panda & Sons, catch a star making Fringe performance, and finish your day with a stunning meal at The Table.

When did you decide to invest in Under The Table?

During one of our meals at The Table, I pulled Sean aside and told him we had to open a restaurant together. A year later, Sean and Paul called me with the idea for Under the Table. I committed immediately.

Have you invested in any other food businesses?

I love the food and beverage world. I spend so much of my time on the road, in incredible locations, so I’ve learned to prioritise finding the best food and drink in every city. While filming Avengers Endgame in Atlanta, we became obsessed with a local, award winning brewery named Creature Comforts. After getting to know the founders, we decided we couldn’t leave for Los Angeles without being able to have some of their beer back home. Since then, we’ve opened a Creature Comforts Brewery and taproom together in Downtown Los Angeles.

Why should people go to Under the Table?

Sean and Paul are so incredibly talented and connected to their community that I expect great success. I would argue that Sean is one of the best chefs in Scotland. When talents like him come along, it’s our responsibility to support them.

Will you be going there, rather than upstairs?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I’ll be going to both, everyday I’m in Edinburgh. One for lunch, the other for dinner. I hate to miss out on a great meal. So when there’s food as good as Under the Table and The Table within 100 miles, you know that’s where I’ll be eating.

Sean Clark

How have the last nine years been for The Table?

Eventful! Incredibly busy, a blur in many ways. It’s been hugely successful, maybe more-so than I ever imagined, I feel genuinely privileged that so many people have wanted to come and experience what we do here every day. We have met some wonderful people on the way, from guests to suppliers, the relationships that we have built and developed are so important to me personally and The Table as a business. Covid was incredibly tough, though I know I wasn’t alone in that experience.

How has the restaurant evolved?

We began the journey as a BYOB restaurant and now drinks play a huge part of the offer, it's something that I love to be involved with. The dishes have also increased in terms of their ambition. We are always pushing ourselves to do more with the structure of the restaurant and to constantly evolve while staying close to the original ideas and desire to demystify high-end cuisine.

Why now for Under the Table?

The Table is very reliant on me to be here all of the time, if I want to grow and develop the business further I needed the right person to be with me on the journey, in an equal capacity, as invested as I am. I have that in Paul, as he brings a depth of knowledge and passion.

Have you had to do a lot to the interior?

We have ripped it back to the bare bones, bringing in a purpose built kitchen, pot wash and bar, new floors, underfloor heating, toilets. We’ve re-wired the place, re-plumbed it, we have taken down walls to ensure the building flows better, completely redecorated the site to create a beautiful environment for our team and guests.

Any signature dishes and drinks?

Braised ox cheek, with whipped coffee polenta, is something that I think will be just as popular at Under The Table as it has been in The Table.

The fact we are going to offer such a large and varied wine list is exciting. There is a restriction in terms of size with The Table that we won't have Under The Table, so the plan is to start off with a 120 bin list and let it organically grow.

3a Dundas Street, Edinburgh (0131 281 1689,



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.