Edinburgh vegetarian restaurant Henderson's wins List award in 50th year

Edinburgh vegetarian restaurant Henderson's wins List award in 50th year

Pioneering business wins Eating & Drinking Guide's Special Award 2012

2012 marks a notable anniversary in Edinburgh’s dining history: Janet Henderson’s first city venture dedicated to vegetarian food opened 50 years ago. In 1962 Janet, along with husband Mac, an East Lothian farmer, set up a ‘farm shop’ in the city centre, followed by a restaurant, the Salad Table, a year later.

It was a bold and enterprising move, as vegetarian eating and the concept of organic farming barely had a toe-hold in Britain at the time – London’s first post-war vegetarian restaurant, Cranks, had opened on Carnaby Street just a year previously. Henderson’s provided a bedrock of veggie dining in the city that others have built on and developed, but its place in Edinburgh’s culinary landscape is unquestionable. Indeed, an estimated 90 per cent of regular customers aren’t committed vegetarians or vegans. Henderson’s didn’t respond to burgeoning competition with obscure ingredients or wacky cooking techniques, but by widening its appeal beyond sit down meals. A bistro, catering business and café now follow its ‘eat better, live better’ ethos, as well as a bakery dedicated to a real bread movement that didn’t exist when it started out. Beyond food, a professional art gallery recognises a creative community that has always been loyal to Henderson’s, and harks back to Janet and Mac’s enthusiastic support of the arts. They were followed into business by their sons Nicholas, Peter and Oliver and daughter Catherine, and now the operation, as busy and popular as ever, is turning to the next generation with Oliver’s son Barrie taking a prominent role.

The List has recognised the 50th anniversary of Henderson's in its annual Eating & Drinking Awards, announced today. The Judges' Special Award recognises the outstanding contribution of an establishment, an individual or a family to the food and drink world in Scotland.

The 2012 List Eating & Drinking Guide Awards are announced alongside the publication of the 19th annual edition of the Eating & Drinking Guide, containing reviews of over 900 restaurants, bistros, cafés, bars and pubs in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the surroundings areas. The new edition contains over 130 new entries, reflecting the level of activity within a sector often portrayed as vulnerable to the economic downturn.

Also announced in the Guide were best newcomer awards to stylish Japanese-themed restaurant Kanpai and the Indian fine-dining of Mithas, both in Edinburgh, while in Glasgow the innovative city-centre takeaway Martha's and suburban restaurant La Famiglia, run by 23-year-old chef Nico Simeone, picked up honours.

List Readers' Awards were won by Edinburgh's First Coast and Glasgow's Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery.

The List Eating & Drinking Guide for 2012/13 is available with The List magazine from Wed 25 April 2012, priced £3.50. Copies can be purchased from newsagents, booksellers and from https://shop.list.co.uk/guides.