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San Francisco Restaurant Avery Transports to Edinburgh 

Restaurant of the Week: Avery first opened in San Francisco in 2018.

By Kim Ayling

From its beginnings as a hot pop-up to bona fide restaurant, Rodney Wages’ Avery was routinely listed as one of San Francisco’s best restaurants. But, much to many loyalists’ surprise, last year Wages made an unconventional decision: following a family holiday to Scotland, he shut Avery in its San Francisco form and announced plans to relocate the entire restaurant to Edinburgh.

Marking Wages’ first UK restaurant, the new Avery has the same style, same concept, same chef, even some of the same dishes – just on an entirely different continent. 

Avery launched as a rotating pop-up RTB which took over various San Francisco homes and kitchens before evolving into bricks-and-mortar Avery by 2018. Inspired by and named after visionary American painter Milton Avery, from day dot the restaurant was intended to be a bright, inventive take on modern fine dining. Wages was rewarded for his vision: Avery weathered the Covid-19 storm and was awarded a Michelin star in 2021.

[See also: Eleven Madison Park to Host De Vie Cocktail Bar Pop-Up]

menu at avery restaurant
The menu is heavily Japanese inspired / ©Avery

On May 21, Avery 2.0 opened its doors in Edinburgh’s charming, village-like Stockbridge, treating the people of Scotland’s capital to a taste of what was once one of San Francisco’s hottest reservations.

[See also: Stuart Ralston’s Lyla Opens in Edinburgh]

Chef

Kansas-born Wages had his sights set high from the beginning: early in his career he relocated to California for a role at Thomas Keller’s inimitable The French Laundry. Experience at one of the country, nay the world’s, best restaurants under his belt, Wages went on to help open Benu – the San Francisco institution that is now the proud bearer of three Michelin stars. 

His time at Saison and a chef de cuisine role at Atelier Crenn really put Wages’ name on the map and bolstered him with enough personal credit to launch his inaugural pop up, RTB, in 2016. After two years, RTB found its forever home and merged into Avery, a sleek two-story restaurant co-owned by Benu and Saison alumni Matthew Mako.

[See also: The Best Restaurants in San Francisco]

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rodney wages chef
Wages has maintained many of his signature dishes in the new restaurant / ©Avery

Menu

Lovers of Avery’s first edition are in for a treat: Wages has maintained many of his signature dishes and simply reworked them to incorporate ingredients from Scotland’s natural larder – his first menu is a seasonal celebration of the nation’s local produce. Naturally, seafood gets its spot in the limelight, but Wages has also worked closely with Scottish suppliers to highlight foraged ingredients and game.

Across a 15-course tasting menu, guests will be taken on a geographical tour of Wages’ influences – he cites Japanese cooking techniques as being a primary focus, but also lifts from Nordic styles as well as classic French cookery.

Signatures lifted from Avery include handmade mushroom tortellini in garlic, burnt onion butter and chive broth; Æbleskiver, a Danish pancake filled with Scottish crab, grilled Swiss chard and roasted garlic; and a cheese tart that acts as Wages’ take on a classic pecan pie, with toasted pecans, cognac and sharp Loch Arthur cheddar cheese.

[See also: Inside Edinburgh’s Hotly Anticipated Gleneagles Townhouse]

brodo tortellini at avery resturant edinburgh
Tortellini in brodo / ©Avery

The accompanying wine list is champagne-forward but also draws from Italy and California. A significant sake selection also forms a core part of the restaurant’s drinks program.

Interiors

Like the cuisine, Avery’s interiors have been lifted directly from the original: Wages and his team have transported ceramics, tableware and even furniture over the Atlantic to recreate the spirit of the SF dining room.

Dark and atmospheric with walls of dark paintwork, Avery’s interiors rely on pops of color from artwork by San Francisco artist (and friend of Wages), Victor Reyes, who is known for his larger-than-life abstract murals. 

Avery, 54 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, UK, EH3 5AL, averyedi.co.uk

[See also: Rising Stars: Next-gen Chefs in the Michelin Guide]

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