Charwood will be located in the sites that previously housed the Tusitala Restaurant and Pavilion bar in the south side of Edinburgh. Omni Taverns will re-launch the restaurant tomorrow (12 June) while the bar will launch next Thursday (19 June) after extensive refurbishment.
Location and branding
Director of Omni Taverns Anne Still told BigHospitality that the company had not being looking to launch a new brand up north, and instead it was focusing on bringing its WHISKI brand to London. However when the site in Fairmilehead became available, she believed the business opportunity couldn’t be missed.
“It’s a venue that I’ve known for a number of years and I often went there with my kids when they were young,” she said. “I’ve always loved it. It’s a great area, it’s got a big car park with 52 spaces and I’ve just always been really impressed with it. So when the deal was proposed we leapt at the chance. We can see great potential for the site and it’s just an amazing place already.
“We were looking to expand the business, though actually we were looking at London. We think our brand WHISKI would do amazingly down there, we were looking at a couple of places available in Soho and Covent Garden, but then the site up here was put to us.”
Omni Taverns plans to keep the new restaurant as a family orientated and community driven site, branded and run differently from their whisky bars in the centre of the Scottish capital.
Still said: “It’s a very different market for us, but it’s one that we know well and are comfortable with. It’s quite family orientated and community based and it’s a nice clientele in an affluent area. I would say it’ll be very different from our other brand, we’re focusing more on the family market here, we’ll target that and do a lot of events for families and locals.”
Food offering and atmosphere
Charwood will offer charcoal cooked meat alongside pizzas from a wood burning pizza oven, hence the restaurant’s name. The restaurant will be kept similar to how it was before, while the bar is undergoing a complete overhaul, with the aim to give it a comfy, traditional feel. The restaurant area opens up into a function suite, and is 160 covers in total, while the bar will have 75 covers when complete.
Still said: “Our focus is very much on the meat being done on the Josper grill. My husband’s very good on the barbeque and loves his steaks, we have a special sauce on them and they’re crispy and lovely. We concentrate on that alongside the wood fired pizza.
“We’ve had to keep the prices really keen because this isn’t the city centre. We’ve kept drink prices low like they were before because we know there’s an established community of locals that come here. But it’s a huge difference from what we charge with the WHISKI branded venues.”
When asked if the company is still looking to expand the WHISKI brand, Still said: “We still want to expand WHISKI down south, we just know it would do a storm in London. That’s the only place we would look to open, we wouldn’t want to do anywhere else in the UK. So when this opening settles down that’s ultimately what we aim to do.”