As Edinburgh welcomes New Year revellers, across the city shiny new venues are flinging open their doors for the very first time. The capital shows that even in a tough year for hospitality, its food and drink scene is dynamic, diverse and ready to roar into 2023.



Discover the incredible diversity of Singaporean cuisine at this snug Canonmills café. Chef-patron Dylan Qureshi-Smith is half-Singaporean and the menu is inspired by his visits to Kopitiam with his grandparents – traditional coffee shops with street food stalls.

“Singaporean food has Indian, Chinese, Malaysian and British influences,” explains Qureshi-Smith.

The National:

I try the Roti Canai, a delicious buttery flaky flatbread with a rich curried sauce, pickled vegetables and peanuts, and make a delightful mess scooping and dunking. Pair this with a cup of kopi – Singaporean coffee. It’s made with robusta coffee beans roasted with sugar, then ground, steeped and strained through a ‘coffee sock’, and served with condensed milk. It’s bold and sweet and powers me through my morning. Singapore Coffee House only has eight seats but with food this tasty, will soon need bigger premises.


Junk began with a recipe blog by Cam Laidlaw and Jade Watson as a creative outlet at home with their young daughters. “We really cherished our time together as a family and wanted to do something for the love of it,” says Cam.

In early 2022 the couple booked a spot at The Pitt to try their street food recipes on a larger scale, and haven’t looked back. After only one event Junk entered and won the Scottish Street Food Awards, then the British championships in London and finally were crowned the Best Street Food in Europe of 2022. Quite a year!

The National:

“The trouble with traditional Junk food,” says Cam, “is that it never quite lives up to the expectation. We want the biggest treat, indulgent food, packed full of flavour and worth all those calories. If you look at fine dining cuisine it’s actually not too dissimilar it’s just presented in a very different manner. Why not use our Michelin and Rosette backgrounds to mash the two together and create something pretty unique – top quality produce, prepared, cooked and presented with the utmost time and care, just a bit more filthy.”

The couple have just opened Junk: Bar & Restaurant in Newington to rave reviews. “We’ve really put our heart, soul and worldly possessions into this place and we are astounded by the response we’ve received” says Cam, “If you haven’t already then please come along and join us for some great food, class drinks, exceptional music and as always, sh*te patter.”


Leith Walk has a bold and bright new Italian eatery, as La Favorita becomes Antonietta. As Director Leandro Crolla said on opening night: “If you’d have told me a year ago I’d have a restaurant with pink walls named after my grandmother, I’d never have believed you. But you have to keep evolving.”

The National:

Antonietta is joyfully colouful: coral and teal walls, floral tiles, gold petal lights and leafy plants. The food is bright and fun too, a pink beetroot and sage aioli comes with both the plump taleggio arancini and the tender tentacley calamari.

The pizzas are a twist on the expected, my ‘Festa del mare’ features crab, squid, samphire and chilli. A bit mad but it works. The sides are a hit: charred baby gem lettuce with chilli is incredible, and we loved the zucchini fries. Cocktails are sweet and fruity, and there’s a classic wine list too. For pizza purists, La Favorita lives on as a takeaway and home-delivery business.


Aberdeen eco-friendly favourite Foodstory has opened a gorgeous new café on Easter Road. Co-founder Lara Bishop says: “This café is all about slowing down”. The menu is predominantly plant based, with sourdough focaccia, soups, big salads and tasty pastries and buns.

The National:

Foodstory is taking a stand on disposables so bring your own cup to take-away. “We want people to think before they leave their homes,” says Lara, “We’re tired of all the single-use cups and containers being thrown out and designing a café which doesn’t offer this makes a difference I think.” There are lots of plans for 2023. Lara says: “We hope to open the space for art and music. And introduce Switch off Sundays where no one brings their phone in. It’s all about slowing down, switching off from tech and being present.”



Ciao had me at the Negroni menu. There are eight, with helpful flavour profiles. My ‘Patroni’ with tequila hits all the right notes.

The National:

Ciao is a new venture from Stefano Pieraccini, transforming the former waiting area for Rico’s Ristorante into a bold, all-day dining destination. The interior is dark, elegant and cosy, in rich browns and terracotta, aiming to create, “a sense of sunny Tuscan warmth”.

The refined lunch menu has tight budgets in mind, with three courses for £20, or pick and mix from the cicchetti menu as I did. Garlicky bruschetta is topped with slow-roast and fresh tomatoes, and leek and chilli croquettes are crisp and irresistible, buried in a snowy parmesan flurry. A beetroot salad has multi-coloured beets stacked around a mountain of whipped goats curd, with fresh oregano pesto and crunchy toasted hazelnuts. Ciao has just become my new favourite city-centre hideaway, now which Negroni to try next?