We were visited earlier in the year for FoodFest15. Here’s what they had to say about the Bistro…
If we thought we couldn’t eat any more that weekend we were proved wrong and a great find was Buchanans restaurant, where husband and wife Calum and Val and team work flat-out maintaining proud Scottish traditions of smoking and curing as well as pickling, fermenting and brewing.
Sharing its rural location at Woodend Barn with an adjacent community theatre, it has a breezy, arty air with its high ceilings, wooden interior and relaxed vibe. Pretty much everything is made in its Tardis-like kitchen at the back, which is also home to a brewery.
The vegetables are grown here too as well as shared and swapped in a local co-operative and bread is made
daily with long-fermenting yeast, including sourdough and spelt. There’s also yoghurt and ice cream: the fabulous rhubarb flavour was a hit with even our one fellow diner who had no sweet tooth at all.
While our platter selection had a Scandinavian feel about it, this was local Scottish meat and fish expertly hand-cured and pickled. We could have sat all day over the hand-smoked mussels, lightly-spiced cod, herring and rye bread.
We recently featured in the local press for reaching the milestone of our 100th brew!
Read the Deeside Piper article here
Review of the Bistro from Tasting Britain’s Somewhat Short (But Hopefully Useful) Guide To @FoodFest15 [Aberdeen / Aberdeenshire September 2015
Buchanans Bistro at Woodend Barn describes itself as “a collective of self taught cooks who aspire to create something a little different from the norm”. It’s hard to pin down exactly *what* they are, but whatever you want to call Buchanans, there’s a LOT of cool stuff happening down there. There’s an onsite home brewery (in the kitchen) – where chef brews an ever evolving selection of craft beers (some using some very unusual yeast strains – such as sourdough starters). Then there’s the smokehouse where they cure and smoke fish, fowl, oil, vegetable, scallops, etc. And of course there are the breads – which Buchanans are probably best known for! Many varieties (many of them rare and unusual), all baked on site each day.
As for the food at the restaurant? Mostly salad and vegetarian options (though there’s some damn good fish), the vibe is very ‘family friendly’ (I saw many families in my short time there!). There’s also a pretty active live music schedule, with many local musicians setting up in the corner for informal live music – no stage dividing them from the audience and all that. There’s also a secondhand book store, with the books kinda equally distributed all about the bistro. Book bistro. They grow lots of their own food onsite, and are very, very involved in sustainability and fair trade. It’s great to see.
As for the decor and the feel of the place, there’s lots of floor to ceiling windows allowing you to enjoy the views of the surrounding countryside and the massive garden – it feels spacious and clean. Speaking of massive gardens, said garden that overlaps into a field which makes it feel like an almost infinitely large garden. When I was there, said infinite garden was home to a fish themed art exhibition, a few hundred locals had contributed to it! I think the individual fishes were made during textile classes, which I believe are also held at Woodend Barn (where there is also a theatre and probably more wondrous arts related things). Bloody good place doing bloody good things. Well done Buchanans!