The word homemade can often be overused in the restaurant world.
But there is one place in the heart of Royal Deeside that takes home cooking to a whole new level. Buchanan’s Bistro in Banchory makes everything – including its curry powder – from scratch and even brews its own beer.
It’s the attention to detail that has led to Buchanan’s being short-listed for the best informal eating experience in the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, which will be announced later this month.
Owners Calum and Val Buchanan were determined to put an emphasis on fresh, local produce when they took the helm of the bistro in 2010. For them, homemade food is not just something to entice diners – it’s a means to help customers take a healthier approach to eating out.
“Using local suppliers allows us to change the menu daily and lets us channel our creativity to produce delicious and healthy dishes. We have a flexible menu that includes small plates, sharing boards and hot platefuls.
“Our fresh bread made on the premises every day is particularly popular with our customers.
“Calum makes the organic sourdough bread using long and traditional fermentations which is very important for the digestive system, leaving customers to indulge without feeling guilty.
“Last year we introduced something totally new for us – our very own Bistro beers. Brewed in the kitchen, the beer comes in five varieties – Original, IPA, Dark Stout, BoHo Lager and Wild Wheat.
“As it’s only sold within the bistro, we’ve found that it’s become a major reason for some customers to visit.”
Buchanan’s Bistro is located within Woodend Barn, an art centre that was established in 1994 which hosts an exciting and creative programme of music, theatre, dance, comedy, film, children’s events, art exhibitions and workshops.
The diverse offering has allowed Buchanan’s to work with Woodend Barn, providing seasonal suppers for resident theatre groups to popular weekly music slots for performers.
In addition to looking after the wellbeing of customers, Buchanan’s Bistro also looks out for the planet with a raft of policies to ensure that all practices are environmentally friendly.
A huge emphasis has been put on staff training, with all in the team offered in-house training opportunities as well as recognised SVQs.
“Although it may sound cliché, we really are like one big family. The staff play a fundamental role in creating a hub where people feel relaxed and leave feeling restored. We offer something a little out of the ordinary, while offering wholesome and healthy food.”
Buchanan’s will face stiff competition in the best informal eating experience award category from The Mariner Hotel in Aberdeen and The Bay Fish and Chips in Stonehaven.
Final judging takes place before the end of the year and winners will be announced at a ceremony at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa in Aberdeen on January 30, 2015. Host for the evening will be broadcaster Tam Cowan. Further information about the awards is available at www.acsta.co.uk