MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 finalist Dean Banks to open restaurant at The Pompadour

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 finalist Dean Banks is set to open a restaurant at THE Pompadour at The Caledonian hotel in Waldorf Astoria, Edinburgh, a month after announcing that his flagship in St Andrews would not be reopening at its current site.

Announcing the news on social media, the chef said that he would be taking over the famous restaurant which closed its doors in January 2020, 95 years after it first opened, with his name above the door: Dean Banks at The Pompadour.

Dean, who had to close Haar, his flagship in St Andrews, due to an an unresolved lease review with his landlord, had only been able to welcome guests for a year due to coronavirus restrictions, and though he did spend months seeking a new site in Fife, he was unable to find one.


A post shared by Dean Banks (@chefdeanbanks)


Last month, he told The Courrier that the new site in Edinburgh "was meant to be the second Haar," but that it would have cost £75,000 to take on a new lease for a site in St Andrews, so for the time being, the Edinburgh location, for which he has secured a long-term lease and is poised to launch on June 9th, would be his only restaurant.

As for his 28 team members, they have been allocated different roles within the company, either in Edinburgh if they wanted to make the move, helping with the Haar at Home offering or Haarbour, the high-end fish and chips shop launched by the chef in October 2020.

He said: “We want Haar to have its home in St Andrews. We have an amazing, loyal customer base there. It is our flagship, where we’ve made the brand and what we’re known for. I’m hoping someone has a place that just isn’t on the market.

“We want to stay here, but we need to look at getting the business trading again for when we can reopen. We don’t want to not have a restaurant open so the key is to get the Edinburgh venue open."

“If we find a home in St Andrews we will definitely reopen there again. The tables have turned. Rather than us having a home in St Andrews and trying to find a second restaurant in Edinburgh about a year ago, we now have a home in Edinburgh and nowhere in St Andrews. It has flipped around.

In a statement, the chef said: “The concept has changed in that Haar is that relaxed dining idea of coming off the beach from walking the dog, whereas our Edinburgh restaurant is more refined. We still want to use the term ‘relaxed dining’ but want to make it even more premium, more of an occasion. 

“I want to put the Dean Banks name against the restaurant to represent me being there in the city. It is something I dreamed about in the younger years of my career especially when I worked at No1. I knew at the other end of Princes Street was the Pompadour, I have to pinch myself to think I am taking it over.”

In its 95 years of operation, the Pompadour's kitchen was occupied by some of the UK's most celebrated chefs, including Martin WishartAlan HillJeff Bland and Roy Brett.

Commenting on this, the chef said: "You think of iconic locations for food in the whole of Scotland and the legendary Pompadour is one of them. The other one I would want is somewhere on a beach, but in the city of Edinburgh we have the castle view, the room is one of the most historic dining rooms in the city and the chefs that have passed through the doors are incredible. To be part of that history is superb.

“It feels like I am ticking off a life goal achievement but like opening Haar for the first time, there are of course massive nerves. I feel I am starting to be more creative, constantly thinking about food and design, waking up in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning with ideas bursting out of my head. After the pandemic when we have been so focused on business, now my mindset is changing back into development. I really want to push myself and Edinburgh is the main stage, a huge stage in the Capital in one of the best locations in Scotland, and I will give it my all.

“This is definitely the ultimate encapsulation of what I want to do from the kitchen to quality of equipment. Two years ago I started a business with less than 10k, so was buying whatever I could just to get open. Now we have built businesses and funding and can put everything I have into this project and give the ultimate Dean Banks experience and take food to where I envision it.

“Of course we are using locally-sourced produce and working with many of the suppliers I have built relationships with through Haar. We have meat from all over Scotland, shellfish and fish from Fife and Angus, the organic farm we work with in Fife for vegetables, and in general will work with local suppliers as always – that’s at the heart of everything I do.”

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 27th May 2021

MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 finalist Dean Banks to open restaurant at The Pompadour