EXPLORA7ION

#4 ANGELS WITH BAGPIPES

WELCOME TO OUR FOURTH EDITION OF EXPLORA7ION, SHOWCASING INTERVIEWS WITH SOME OF OUR DYNAMIC, CREATIVE AND ENTREPRENEURIAL CLIENTS.

In EXPLORA7ION #4, we’ve been chatting with another one of our clients, restaurateur, Lyndsay Hamilton, who, alongside her brother-in-law, Fraser, runs Angels with Bagpipes within the heart of Edinburgh’s infamous Royal Mile.

READING TIME: 10 mins

EXPLORA7ION

#4 ANGELS WITH BAGPIPES

WELCOME TO OUR FOURTH EDITION OF EXPLORA7ION, SHOWCASING INTERVIEWS WITH SOME OF OUR DYNAMIC, CREATIVE AND ENTREPRENEURIAL CLIENTS.

In EXPLORA7ION #4, we’ve been chatting with another one of our clients, restaurateur, Lyndsay Hamilton, who, alongside her brother-in-law, Fraser, runs Angels with Bagpipes within the heart of Edinburgh’s infamous Royal Mile.

READING TIME: 10 mins

EXPLORA7ION

#4 ANGELS WITH BAGPIPES

WELCOME TO OUR FOURTH EDITION OF EXPLORA7ION, SHOWCASING INTERVIEWS WITH SOME OF OUR DYNAMIC, CREATIVE AND ENTREPRENEURIAL CLIENTS.

In EXPLORA7ION #4, we’ve been chatting with another one of our clients, restaurateur, Lyndsay Hamilton, who, alongside her brother-in-law, Fraser, runs Angels with Bagpipes within the heart of Edinburgh’s infamous Royal Mile.

READING TIME: 10 mins

“We walked into St Giles, cathedral, just opposite, and there were two incredibly beautiful carvings of Angels playing the bagpipes…”

LYNDSAY

“When you work as a family it’s important to recognise the different strengths each other has.”

LYNDSAY

JANE: Angels with Bagpipes is up there as one of my top Edinburgh dining experiences, not only because of the food but the location and overall guest experience. How did the name come about?

LYNDSAY: Well, when we were about to launch in 2010, we spent a lot of time really getting to know the area and the history of the Mile. We walked into St. Giles’ Cathedral, just opposite, and there were two incredibly beautiful carvings of angels playing the bagpipes, designed by two brothers centuries ago and we immediately went “yep, that’s the name!”

JANE: I’ve seen those angels, they do put a smile on your face, as does the name of your restaurant!

Sticking with the topic of angels and history, you have a very special, intimate private dining area called Halo which floats above Roxburgh Close, with a wall to ceiling window overlooking the mile. I’ve read that when you walk under that from outside there are some paintings that date back to the 16th Century, have I got that right?

LYNDSAY: Yes, it wasn’t that long ago that they were discovered, just down the close, and when you look up at the ceiling there are different artworks carved into the wood in colour. It’s a mystery where they came from. When you are in Halo and you’re floating above the close you can see it all!

JANE: Halo is a very beautiful space, it’s perfect for a special occasion.

LYNDSAY: Yes, people book in there for anniversaries, birthdays and for proposing. It seats a maximum of four so, as you say, it’s a very intimate space for that special night.

JANE: Angels with Bagpipes is a family business, what’s it like working with family? Or would you rather not say!

LYNDSAY: Not at all! It can be difficult, but it can be the best thing too, as we are all so close. The biggest challenge is trying to divide our work life with our personal life. When we come out of work and get together it’s all about trying not to talk about work all the time!

When you work as a family it’s important to recognise the different strengths each other has and allow one another to do their thing, so you don’t step on their toes! Good communication is key too and we have learnt to recognise and understand our own areas of responsibility. All of that has helped us come together to create a really great team.

JANE: You certainly feel that when you walk through the doors, there is a real warmth and family feel from the entire team.

“When you work as a family it’s important to recognise the different strengths each other has.”

LYNDSAY

JANE: Tell me, what did you want to be when you were growing up?

LYNDSAY: Ha! Well, I wanted to be my dad when I was a kid, doesn’t everyone?

I studied sports science at Uni and got my degree and during that time I watched my parents work hard as they built the business. I really loved their passion for it.

When I stepped into it for the first time, I immediately felt that same passion and it was totally unexpected. Hospitality was never a space I thought I’d belong in, but working with the team, the customers and seeing the service we offered, I realised how much I loved it. A really unexpected passion.

JANE: What is the main passion? Is it the people?

LYNDSAY: Definitely, I love meeting people and you meet people from all walks of life here. You don’t know what people are going through when they come through your doors and it’s so important to me to make sure we give them the best experience and make them happy while they are with us.

JANE: So, you are more than the food you offer. You are about the needs of the individual.

LYNDSAY: Absolutely. This so important to me and important to the team. They all feel the same. It’s not just about serving someone, there’s a lot more to it, it’s about giving them an experience that lifts their week.

JANE: People following the leader, what emulates from you filters down to the rest of your team. And you certainly feel that when you walk through the doors.

LYNDSAY: If there’s one thing I’d love to do, it is to walk into our restaurant and experience it for the first time! It’s like the Royal Mile too, the first time you are there it’s amazing and its only when you go away, like when I went travelling, that you come back and appreciate it all the more.

JANE: Did going travelling settle you?

LYNDSAY: Not sure if settling is the right word, perhaps it is. I was away for 14 months and it was something I needed to do. When I came back it was definitely a fresh start after being away because I could see things in a different light, in a new way.

“It’s not just about serving someone… it’s about giving them an experience that lifts their week.”

LYNDSAY

“A lot of restaurants struggle with a divide between kitchen and front of house, we don’t have that.”

LYNDSAY

JANE: Your menu is packed full of amazing traditional Scottish cuisine. I am always spoilt for choice and get Doug to order for me! What’s your favourite on the menu at the moment, what’s your speciality?

LYNDSAY: Oh, that’s hard! Our menu changes a lot and it’s seasonal so, at the moment, I would say our haggis. The way our chefs create the haggis, well, you’ve never had anything like it anywhere in Scotland. Our beef tartare is out of this world and the lamb rump is incredible. It’s so hard to say!

JANE: What would your last supper be and who would it be with?

LYNDSAY: Oh, a good old chippie with my grandma!

JANE (laughs): That was unexpected!

LYNDSAY: If you had said something from our menu, I’d have chosen off that, but I like to keep it real!

JANE: Love it! Tell me, what are you most proud of?

LYNDSAY: The staff. They are my number one, we are family, and there is nothing finer. When you respect them and they respect you, then your work is the happiest place… A lot of restaurants struggle with a divide between kitchen and front of house, we don’t have that. We help the chefs, they help us. We are one.

JANE: And again, that comes from the top. You breed that culture. Family creates family. And the best brands come out of the best people. You can have the best food and the most stunning of interiors but if your culture isn’t right, customers feel it. They aren’t stupid.

JANE: Covid must have been hard for you, aside from the effects on the business, tell me how you coped personally?

LYNDSAY: Yeah, it was difficult, seeing the Royal Mile empty was eerie but cool at the same time, hopefully we will never see that again.

Not communicating with people every day was hard, you start to kinda go into yourself and you forget what it’s like to be part of a community. I think that was where Angels Wings came in, it was all about keeping the kitchen alive and serving our guests, even when we couldn’t have them in our restaurant. Fraser did an incredible job creating restaurant quality food that people could enjoy at home. We took our food to them, and people enjoyed a night in pretending they were having a night out. They’d get dressed up and even order a bottle of wine from us and at the end of it they’d say they felt like they were in the restaurant. That was what was cool about it all.

I was the delivery driver and I loved it and I got to see the customers again!

JANE: Angels Wings, a stroke of genius about bringing Angels with Bagpipes home. The creativity that has come out of Covid is one of most positive things of last year, and indeed the start of this one.

Off topic question… Tell me about Max!

LYNDSAY: Aww he’s the best thing ever. He’s perfect and ENGINE710 brought him back to life.

JANE: We better tell our readers, Max is your 60th edition Defender!

LYNDSAY: Yes! I’ve always loved Land Rovers, especially Defenders and when Max came along, he was perfect, and the guys managed to keep an authentic look about him while changing him a lot. I feel such a sense of freedom when I am in my Defender!

And it’s such a lovely community with the Land Rover wave! It always makes me smile. You have this weird connection with people you don’t know and probably will never know!

JANE: It’s like being part of a secret club!

“You have this weird connection with people you don’t know and probably will never know!”

LYNDSAY

“At night, when the kitchen has closed… I’ll hear footsteps and clattering of pots and pans.”

LYNDSAY

JANE: Seeing as you are in the heart of the Royal Mile, give me your best ghost story!

LYNDSAY: Oh my, the prep kitchen has a story. At night, when the kitchen has closed and everyone has gone home, I’ll hear footsteps and the clattering of pots and pans. I’ve seen someone, a shadow, standing there more than once. Sometimes it gives a deep manly laugh, the same one every time. I was so intrigued I did some research and found that a chef lived here way back in 1635. His name is John Roxburgh. We’ve become friends!

JANE: Wow that’s amazing. Someone walked the kitchens before you!

LYNDSAY: Yeah, people laughed at me but Fraser, our head chef, GM and my brother-in-law, saw him a few months ago. So it’s not just me. Other members of staff have also heard unfamiliar noises in the evening.

If there is someone in here, he’s more than welcome.

JANE: Maybe he did the paintings?

LYNDSAY: Yeah, maybe! I’d love to spend a night here and see more of him, but no one will take me up on that. Do you want to?

JANE: Hmmm… not sure I want to take you up on that!

LYNDSAY: I bet he comes up tonight now that we’ve talked about him!

JANE: Well, keep me posted! Perhaps he’s the guy that cooks the Haggis, you never know!

Book your own experience at Angels with Bagpipes in the heart of the Royal Mile by calling 0131 220 1111 or by making an online reservation

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SOUTH QUEENSFERRY
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EH30 9SQ

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