The Gassabi family launched Maison Bleue in the heart of Edinburgh over 18 years ago, serving a unique menu of French, North African and Scottish cuisine from locally sourced ingredients.
As an extension of the Maison Bleue brand, the father-daughter team are opening Le Bistrot in Morningside. According to Dean Gassabi, “This is a major investment for us and comes just a year after the extensive refurbishment of our Victoria Street restaurant.”
Close to two decade of building a name in Edinburgh’s old town has helped the family run business develop a strong base of regulars, which is what prompted Dean and Layla to expand the brand with a niche bistrot concept. “The number of people who have been stopping by and asking when we are opening is amazing,” Layla Gassabi said.
“While Le Bistrot will me unmistakably part of the Maison Bleue family, it will be different and distinctive in its own right.
“We have space outside for tables and chairs for that real sense of Parisian café culture, so really want to see people making the most of that, particularly as we’ll be serving Saturday and Sunday brunch,” she added.
Same brand, different twist
Maison Bleue’s decor is as eclectic as its cuisine, with centuries old brickwork exposed, neon signs, velvet boudoir style seating and mismatched chairs. Le Bistrot will follow a similar style, differing to include outdoor seating and Moroccan Jardin Majorelle colour palette.
While the menu is still being finalised, it will veer toward traditional French with elements of Maison Bleue’s colonial specialities from North African, Creole and Vietnamese cuisine – often with a Scottish twist.
“The menu will be focused on bistro-style food and we’ll be encouraging guests to sit outside and enjoy a café noir, croissant, croque monsieur or a small draft beer in the French fashion, biere a la pression,” Layla said.
According to Dean, Morningside and Bruntsfield have developed a great reputation for quality pubs, gastropubs, cafés and restaurants. The Gassabis were biding their time to branch out to the right venue in the right location for their brand. “When this opportunity came on the market we knew it was perfect for us,” Dean added.
“We saw an opportunity for a quirky French bistrot and decided that this is exactly what the neighborhood needs. The added bonus of being the wee sister of Maison Bleue is that we come with 20 years of culinary success behind us.”