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Aberdeen’s Fusion Bar & Bistro to reopen after two-year closure

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Parent company CranberryCo are opening the popular venue as their other establishments remain closed due to social distancing restrictions.

An Aberdeen restaurant which has remained closed for more than two years will finally reopen its doors.

Fusion Bar & Bistro on North Silver Street, will welcome guests back into its premises from tomorrow ( Tuesday September 15) from 5pm after closing in March 2018.

Operated by independent hospitality group CranberryCo, which is owned by Mark Cavanagh, the eatery has reopened as a result of the need for additional restaurant space during the coronavirus pandemic as Mark’s other venues including Angus & Ale on Adelphi Lane and the Clachan Grill in Ballater, Aberdeenshire, are too small to currently welcome guests back safely.

Fusion Bar & Bistro interior.

Fusion was scheduled to relaunch early last year after being closed for kitchen renovations.

The Red Lion pub at the Spital in Aberdeen is also part of the business portfolio and remains closed.

Reopening for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday, Neil Hudson, who was the head chef at the Clachan Grill, has been brought to the eatery as head chef to lead the team of four running the venue.

He said: “Mark Cavanagh who owns the restaurant has branched out in recent years with a series of other venues including Angus & Ale, The Red Lion and the Clachan Grill.

Head chef Neil Hudson.

“Due to social distancing regulations in place, most of the units are slightly too small to welcome a reasonable volume of guests back safely. He’s in the fortunate position of owning Fusion which has a large floor space over two levels where we can get around 32 covers in.”

Neil added: “The restaurant underwent several renovations quite a while ago before its closure. The markets had changed and the plan was to reopen it, but after seeing the success of Angus & Ale and Clachan Grill, and not wanting to upset the balance of the teams to reopen, the compromise was we kept Fusion closed and kept the strong operations going.

“The Clachan Grill is highly dependent on tourists with 90-95% of our business tourists, so with less visitors to the area, it has given us the opportunity to focus on Fusion. The pandemic has just sort of thrown itself forward as the opportunity for this to happen and we can’t wait to see everyone.”

Fusion Bar & Bistro interior.

Operating as a one-metre socially-distanced venue, the team at Fusion are taking every precaution to ensure staff and customer safety is at the forefront of the restaurant’s offering.

Like many other eateries following government guidelines, face masks will have to be worn when entering the premises and travelling around it while using its facilities.

Customers will also have to book a table in advance of their visit, too.

Neil added: “We will operate as a one-metre socially-distanced venue, purely because of the layout of Fusion. Customers will need to wear their masks when not seated.

Aberdeen Angus beef with Ayrshire bacon, watercress puree, cepes and burgignon garnish.

“The covers are sitting at 32 for now, and that includes some seats on the mezzanine floor with the balcony. We will regulate the bookings on Open Table and we can only seat around six people every 15 minutes. We will also stagger the zones in which we seat people as well, so we don’t fill up one area. You’d usually want to fill up certain areas within restaurants, but what we want to do is create space between bookings so those visiting won’t have as many people around them throughout their time in the restaurant.”

A popular haunt with customers in the north-east, Neil is looking forward to bringing touches of the Clachan Grill to the venue which is renowned for its modern twists on Scottish and British cuisine.

“Fusion had built up a great reputation and it was synonymous with a lot of customers so what Mark wanted to do was keep the name as a familiarity, especially during this time, but the food will be inspired by some of the dishes at the Clachan Grill, and some that have a really modern twist,” said Neil.

This smoked Loch Fyne salmon with creme fraiche, shallots, capers, whisky, honey and vanilla dressing will be available on the starter menu.

“The Clachan’s food is based on classical techniques and preparations, and uses the best ingredients we can source from local and Scottish suppliers. We’re taking that ethos into Fusion, too.

“A lot of the new menu will also be matched with the wines we’ve brought in so there will be easily recommended wines to enjoy the food with. We’ll have a daily special cocktail and a few staples that everyone loves. The thing that Fusion is best known for is Champagne, so we’ll have a lot of that here for everyone to enjoy.”

As well as reopening, the team have a busy week ahead of them as they also plan to launch burger joint Angus & Ale’s takeaway service from the kitchen of Fusion as well.

With demand from customers increasing throughout lockdown, Neil says this is the perfect opportunity to give customers a taste of Angus & Ale while it is unable to reopen.

Angus & Ale’s buttermilk chicken burger and Schoolhill special burger.

He added: “We’re also going to be operating Angus & Ale on a takeaway basis from the Fusion premises. We’ll be kicking that off tomorrow, too. We had a lot of enquiries about offering takeaway and getting Angus & Ale back open. The number of people allowed in restaurants has been continuously changing and in the restaurant we don’t really have the floor space to socially distance numerous people in a small space at the same time.

“The Angus & Ale takeaway will also be open from Tuesday lunchtime to Saturday evening. Customers will be able to order on Deliveroo, Just Eat and I think we will also be looking to get listed on Uber Eats, too.”