The Michelin-Starred Restaurant That Was Formerly A Costume Warehouse

An old costume warehouse might not be the first choice of those looking to create Michelin-worthy experiences, but for the team behind Edinburgh's Timberyard, that's precisely what they have achieved. What was once a yard for locals to grab timber for at-home projects has been since transformed into a space that has earned accolades from Michelin reviewers

In a span of 100 days, Andrew and Lisa Radford and their children renovated the old warehouse with a budget of £100,000 (just over $124,000). Construction wasn't without hiccups, however. "We have had a bit of a fight with the authorities to retain the character of the building, but they've now agreed that we can keep the four metre high ceilings, the beams, and the timber floors," Radford admitted to The Caterer in 2012. The Radfords' persistence paid off.

The candle-lit setting now welcomes diners with a cozy ambiance of neutral tones and the space is thoughtfully decorated with salvaged materials: Lights near the entrance once lit up chicken coops and wooden pieces used along railways have been sanded into table tops. During colder months, a stove fireplace warms guests and an open courtyard invites patrons to enjoy summer seasons alfresco.

In the 19th century, the location stored props and sold costumes to Scots, but the family-run establishment is now a prime destination for small, private gatherings and 80-person events. Even without a special occasion, however, Timberyard invites guests to celebrate.

An ingredient-focused menu

Timberyard eschews white linens, instead aiming to provide a minimalistic backyard for each course to present itself. The culinary team sources ingredients from artisan purveyors and local farmers to build tasting menus and a la carte lunches. Four-course dinners start at £85, or $105.56, and guests are offered homemade rye bread with cultured butter, house pickles, and cured salami as subsequent plates are prepared.

"We want to be very flavor focused. That comes from excellent farming and aging of our meats, fantastic soil for our vegetables, knowledgeable fisherman and suppliers dealing with what's in abundance, sustainable, seasonal, and fresh," explained Timberyard's chef James Murray to The Scotsman. As meticulously plated ceramic dishes are presented to guests, it becomes clear that Timberyard isn't simply about aesthetics. From scallops, mussels, and smoked roe to duck, pork, and beef, the best of Scotland is offered to diners. Lunch menus list razor clams and sea beet; aged mutton with anchovy, wild leek, and mostarda; and sea bream with gooseberry and horseradish. 

"The menu will flow and evolve all the time. There will also be some staples on there that I feel help use lesser-appreciated products. Pigs head terrine, for example. When it's made well it's as good as any creamy slice of foie gras and a lot more ethical," Murry told The Scotsman.

To satisfy sweet cravings, desserts made with seasonal fruits are packed into unique flavor combinations like blood orange and Le Coste olive oil and rhubarb with salt milk and almond. 

Exceptional Scottish hospitality

The wine cellar at Timberyard is stocked with blends the team likes to drink themselves and bottles are selected to highlight growers committed to preserving land and producing unique blends. The whisky list offers drams from both independent distilleries and well-known labels and the extensive wine and beer list provides a diverse selection that includes a 1973 Italian Moscato, a 1967 Barolo, and blends procured from Slovakia, Serbia, and Belgium. 

Traditional cocktail recipes are made with Timberyard's own twist: Vermouth is oxidized, trout skin finds its way into drinks, aquavit is flavored with caraway, and whisky is infused with salt yeast caramel to deliver attention-commanding libations. Highballs are made with anise hyssop, soda, and whisky; Old Fashioneds are swirled with cocoa husk, spices, and rum; And Negronis deliver flavors of blood orange, gentian, vermouths, and gin. 

For teetotalers, a special menu provides sodas and alcohol-free beverages to keep palates moist between courses and before and after meals. Bramble and cotton lavender soda, smoked tea cola, marigold kombucha, and 0% cocktails like the gimlet made with preserved orange, toasted fennel seed, and Feragaia — Scotland's first distilled alcohol-free spirit; Or, the 0% Negroni made with cherry shrub, gentian root, and hibiscus ensures no diners are in want.

If you're looking to indulge in Edinburgh, Timberyard is a good place for it.