A new day in Balerno

Extensive refurb transforms former pub into restaurant with rooms

New lease of life: The Balerno Inn opened late last year under new owner and operator Ben Watson

IT took eight months to transform a vacant old pub in the Edinburgh suburb of Balerno into a five-bedroom restaurant and bar, but the newly renamed Balerno Inn was able to get its doors open in time for the busy festive season.

The extensive refurbishment of the inn, formerly The Malleny Arms, included the creation of three function rooms – the Malleny, Library and Garden rooms – as well as the retention and restoration of the building’s original beams.

Design features include the use of fabrics such as Harris Tweed in the venue’s five letting bedrooms, as well as photography and artwork from locals throughout the inn’s public areas.

Families were very much in mind when the space was designed, and owner Ben Watson – who lives in nearby Ratho and cut his teeth working as a chef at Ratho’s Bridge Inn – said he knows the area “and what makes it tick”.

“My aim is to make The Balerno Inn very much the heart of the local community,” said Watson.

“We plan special events in the bar like quiz nights, game nights and ladies nights and our menu is driven by quality, provenance and great value for the entire family.

“That is why we designed a space with the kids in mind, offering a play area that is safe and secure.

“Guests can relax and keep a watchful eye whilst the wee ones enjoy the enclosed play area.”

Food is central to the offer at The Balerno Inn and Watson recruited head chef Andy Robson to lead a team of three in the kitchen, which also includes a sous chef and pastry chef.

The team prepares everything fresh in-house, with dishes ranging from pub fare like burgers and fish and chips to more bistro-style dishes like pheasant, Scottish mussels or ‘fire cracker’ cauliflower with roast garlic mayonnaise.