The new residents of Edinburgh’s Mr Boni’s building will be serving Mackie's ice-cream and naan breads as “big as a satellite dish”
The team at Guru have carefully painted round the original, “J. Boni’s, Ice Cream for Health” sign at 4-8 Lochrin Buildings.
They’re the newest restaurant to take over this iconic premises, with Caribbean restaurant, Trenchtown, moving out before lockdown.
Waseem Sadiq, 42, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Adeela Haleem, 32, is up-sizing his Punjabi restaurant, from a small premises on Dundee Street.
They’re going from a venue that seats 40 diners, to one that can fit up to 90, and they’ll also have a “community space” for holding small functions.
It’s open for takeaway and delivery now, then sitting in from April 26.
“Our lease was coming to an end after 25 years at Fountainbridge,” says Sadiq, who inherited the business from his late father, Saleem. “We’ve built a loyal customer base, serving two generations of families and we’ve had the same chef and tandoori chef for over two decades. As we’ve been at capacity for a number of years, we felt this was the right move”.
Their name, and the graphic black and white logo of the original owner wearing a traditional Punjabi hat, are already above the door.
However, to prepare for the diners that will visit at the end of April, they’re still tweaking the interior. They’ve preserved the Victorian block’s original period features, like the intricate cornice, but are going for “contemporary design” in the decor. It took quite a few coats to cover over the bright turquoise paint job of the last resident, Trenchtown, and Sadiq has taken home the painting of Bob Marley, which now resides in his “man cave”.
While refurbishing, they also discovered a cold room that had the original warning signs in Italian, and the old Mr Boni’s ice-cream churner in a sealed off part of the building. That was a thrill for Sadiq, who was once a fan.
“I grew up in Dunfermline but often came to Edinburgh with my family and always pestered my dad to take me to Mr Boni's,” he says. “I remember the old shop very well and it always held a warm and fond place in my heart”.
Sadly, the ancient churn is broken, so they’ll be serving Mackie’s of Scotland on their dessert menu instead.
They’ll also be cooking up their usual customer favourites, like the Northern Indian chilli garlic dishes, as well as a very popular side option, which is the biggest of its type in the capital, apparently.
“We’ll be serving our humongous naan bread made the traditional northern Pakistani way”, says Sadiq. “They are truly a sight to behold - larger than a satellite dish - you could probably pick up a Bollywood film with them”.
There will also be fresh additions, as they’ve installed a new kitchen, which includes a charcoal grill for cooking kebabs on.
“We will have a new fusion section of the menu, and we hope to introduce Edinburgh to a new type of burger,” says Sadiq. “The chappli kebab burger is a spiced lamb patty infused with Afghani-inspired spices and chargrilled for an absolutely incredible flavour explosion. We have a few more new dishes coming as well as our old classics”.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.