Discovering ISHKA – a stylish restaurant and cocktail bar in Edinburgh’s West End

Martin Scott in Ishka

Today we meet Martin Scott, the owner of ISKHA, a contemporary cocktail bar and restaurant in Edinburgh’s West End, to find out what makes ISHKA such a popular destination.

ISHKA is renowned for its magnetic ambience but how do you create this?

Well, I have a great team here at ISHKA and a fantastic Executive Chef, Claire Lund, who creates all the menus.

This allows me to focus on our strategic direction, developing the menu, organising events and managing our PR and marketing.

We focus on Scottish ingredients – all freshly prepared in-house – with a Mediterranean twist. Our menu features a lot of seafood and game, as well as some great vegetarian dishes. We also have a fabulous cocktail bar, which is run by some of the best mixologists in Edinburgh. They have created an incredible range of new and classic cocktails.

You opened in April this year – why did you choose the West End?

I didn’t want to join the hustle and bustle of the city centre – with so many big restaurants you can get lost in all that noise. So, I spent almost two years searching for the right location.

Morrison Street was the perfect place to really establish ourselves among the local businesses.

It’s also ideal for people visiting the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, right across the road.

Edinburgh is full of amazing places off the beaten track, so it’s nice to have this location to ourselves.

What makes this part of the city so special?

I’ve always liked the feel of Edinburgh’s West End. It’s somewhere between the feel of the old town and the new town, retaining the charm of historic Edinburgh but offering a thoroughly modern flavour – especially given the innovative businesses located here.

The West End offers a respite from the sometimes overly busy centre – I love the slower pace of this location.

Cities are constantly evolving: have you seen many changes in this part of Edinburgh?

Yes, there have been huge changes. The West End is undergoing massive developments, with Fountainbridge a particular focus for investment.

Next year will see a major transformation of the area and this will bring new houses, offices, bars and restaurants to the area.

Like most of Scotland’s capital city, the West End is historic in its design, so to see this development happening around us is very exciting.

When you’re not busy with ISHKA, where do you like to visit nearby?

That’s one of the greatest thing about the West End, with the city centre at walking distance, I tend to venture back to the old town, the Royal Mile and surrounding cobbled streets. It’s like nothing else in the world having modern bars and restaurants built into Twelfth Century surroundings. Places like The Devil’s Advocate and Angels with Bagpipes have a special charm to them and walking down the Royal Mile at night is a special experience.

People love to live here – what do you think makes this part of the city so attractive?

Everything is on your doorstep: shops, parks, museums, bars, restaurants and cafes . . . in my opinion the best in the world. If you’re a foodie or cocktail lover there is no comparison.

The standard of amenities is incredible in Edinburgh – with more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere in the world you’re spoiled for choice.

From the West End you can see the castle, the mountains, the city and the ocean – where else can you see all that in one place?

Do you have any new plans for ISHKA?

Always! ISHKA is built upon an ethos of evolution so we’re forever changing our menus and offering daily specials. We have fizz masterclasses planned, Calvados experience evenings, cocktail events and we recently launched our afternoon tea.

We aren’t static, so we can move with the demands of the market. ISHKA will continue to evolve and surprise our guests and, of course, we have Christmas to look forward to!

If you like the sound of living in Edinburgh’s West End, why not check out the hot properties for sale or rent on s1homes?

And, of course, no visit to Edinburgh would be complete without savouring the delights of ISHKA!







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