The most famous way of eating fish and chips – wrapped in newspaper – has returned to an Edinburgh restaurant after a practical joke by chef Tony Delicata.
A friend of Tony’s called in at the newly-opened family restaurant, The Yard, Leith in Bonnington Road, and ordered a meal of fish and chips.
Joker Tony decided to serve up an added surprise, by wrapping it up like a takeaway fish supper – complete with a sheet of newspaper.
Tony, 46, said: “For a bit of fun we decided to wrap it up in paper, complete with old newspaper, like you would get it at the chip shop. We also took out a bottle of chippie brown sauce that we had.
“No sooner had I given it to my friend – to hoots of laughter – than a person at a nearby table asked if they could get it the same way. And then a few others did as well.
“We’ve since had people come in again asking for it that way, so we’re going to offer it this way – complete with the chip shop bottle of sauce for that authentic experience.”
Tasting successful PR in Scotland
It was such a success, the restaurant now offers the chippy-wrapped meal as standard – making it the only restaurant in Scotland serving the dish the traditional way.
For decades having a chippy meal wrapped in newspaper was an essential part of the Scottish chip shop experience. Customers would often read the newspaper wrapping as they walked home.
However, food hygiene laws mean fish and chip shops have been banned from using newsprint to wrap fish suppers and other food products for a number of years,.
To overcome this, staff at The Yard have worked with Edinburgh City Council to find an acceptable solution – and the dish is only available as a sit-down meal, not as a takeaway.
Tony added: “We’re a very family-friendly restaurant and this also works well in entertaining the children who come in as they are sitting there wondering why they are being offered their food in a takeaway style when they are sitting down to dinner.
“They also wonder why a newspaper is around their chips. I’m waiting for someone to ask for the Beano for the children’s dish. Of course if someone wants it in a more traditional sit-down meal style then we’re more than happy to serve them that way as well.
Quality menu equals quality media coverage
The Yard, Leith founded by Lorraine Politi (who has already enjoyed success with her Molly’s children play area in nearby Ocean Terminal), and the current staff promise to change the landscape of family restaurants in the capital.
From her daily dealings with hundreds of families she knew many parents were often left bemoaning the lack of venues offering both a children’s play area and high-quality restaurant food.
When the site in Bonnington – formerly the Courtyard Restaurant – became available earlier this year, she spotted the potential to reopen it, complete with a dedicated play area.
The large outdoor enclosed play area with protective flooring, playhouses, giant Connect 4 and Jenga games and other play equipment has gone down well with children – and parents wanting to enjoy a meal without a child sitting being bored.
Since opening in July, it’s not just been the fish and chips which have gone down a treat. The Yard has already established itself as a popular family restaurant, while the bar and restaurant are also building up a reputation as a popular local watering hole.
At the core of the restaurant’s offering – the restaurant is open from 12noon-9pm – is a commitment to serve kids only fresh, wholesome food. So instead of frozen chicken nuggets, The Yard, Leith, will cut and breadcrumb fresh chicken breasts into ‘Chicken Lickin’ strips.
Adults can also enjoy a variety of delicious meals such as Black and Tan (black pudding and haggis in a filo basket topped with caramelised onions and balsamic dressing); Stornay Chicken (chicken breast pan fried with garlic in a creamy Glayva sauce, served on Stornaway black pudding) and Salmon Yardino (oven baked salmon lightly drizzled with a buttery lemon cream sauce).
Despite the family-friendly focus, The Yard, Leith, aims to become a great neighbourhood bar/cafe, serving coffees, paninis and cakes from 10am and appealing to locals and others alike as drinking spot after the traditional early evening family periods. It will also serve weekend brunches and Sunday roasts.
The Yard, Leith, is open daily from 10am to 11pm. For more information, bookings, reservations on The Yard, Leith, go to www.theyardleith.com or call 0131 554 1314.
Scottish public relations agency Holyrood PR handles all PR in Scotland for The Yard, Leith restaurant.