Review

Quick lunch – meat board at Buchanan’s


I’m off for a couple of days which gave a great opportunity to meet my brother for lunch. He’s recently started working for Woodend Barn, a local arts and music venue. Last year it completed an extension to the main building which includes a small restaurant called Buchanan’s.

The room is bright, sometimes a little too bright should you sit by the large glass windows on a sunny summer’s day. However the views over the fields towards Crathes are worth that little discomfort. It feels very comfortable with a relaxed atmosphere and a varied range of tables. They’ve also added a long table in the centre with newspapers and books for their more casual visitors.

I had lunch there just after it opened and thought it was excellent but the staff said they were still working on the menu so I was looking forward to seeing what their lunches looked like now.

They have a few soups as starters, the lightly spiced parsnip was tempting. All served with freshly baked bread. Then further down the page there are a number of main courses (plate fillers they call them) – a risotto sounded good as did the Aberdeenshire beef casserole. In between those was a selection of boards and it was these that really caught our eye.

There were two cheese boards (one normal, one sheeps cheese I think – really should have taken a picture of the menu), a fish board containing smoked fish, smoked mussels and pickled herring. All the boards were priced individually or to share and we both had our eye on the meat board with a selection of cured game, chutney and breads.

The meats were amazing. Strong, full flavoured and rich just as you’d hope from cured game. The chorizo and salami were nice and tender, with no awkward chewy bits and the mini tartlets were gone in seconds. The chutney, cornichons and sundried tomatoes gave a pleasing accompaniment to the rockstar meats on the table and were scooped up onto the crisp bread slices (soft, fresh bread was also served alongside the board).

Portion size was perfect for lunch. I’m sure we could have eaten more but then I would have spent the afternoon snoozing in front of the TV instead of managing to keep our new kitten entertained.

The bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as offering a selection of cakes and fresh coffee if you just want to pop in for a relaxing snack. Booking is recommended for dinners on nights when the barn has a show on. This is an excellent, relaxed room with some fantastic food. I can’t wait to come back and try their evening menu sometime soon.

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2 thoughts on “Quick lunch – meat board at Buchanan’s”

  1. Ah – funny you should review this place today as friends of ours went recently and were pretty disappointed. The service was pretty poor when they went – not just slow but the staff really not interested. Sounded like the kind of service you can get sometimes from bored, uninterested teenagers but when I asked, my friends said that the staff were not teenaged and, in fact, “old enough to know better”. It was the service that really annoyed them but they also said that they had ordered some of the sharing plates and really felt that the portions which were supposed to be for two would barely had fed one.
    So, obviously I didn’t feel in any great hurry to go and try the place.
    We’re moving to Westhill in the Spring so I’ll wait til we move nearer and then I might try them then.
    I have to say, that even though I am a foodie, I won’t generally return to somewhere if the waiting staff aren’t friendly even if the food is great. I think it really makes a huge difference. I don’t mind mistakes or people dropping things or slow service as long as the staff are friendly and helpful.

  2. Ah that’s a shame. It really annoys me when I hear about inconsistent service or a bad experience from somewhere I’ve enjoyed. I want other people to enjoy places that I like!

    I guess the service could have been better for us as my brother is a member of staff (albeit not in the restaurant) but the service was pretty good the first time I went last year as well. As for the sharing platter that’s just a matter of personal preference really! Something you always hear about restaurants is wildly different opinions on portion size. One person’s just enough is the next person’s light snack.

    The platter pictured is what we were served plus a basket of 6 pieces of bread which isn’t pictured. It was enough that I didn’t feel hungry for the rest of the afternoon, so it really was the perfect size for me.

    Anyway I totally agree about service in general. Bad service will tarnish the whole meal and can really put me off a place. Why should I go back if the staff didn’t seem to want me there in the first place?

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