If you’ve ever fancied dining in a cutesy garden shed, this hotel in Banchory is giving customers the chance to do just that….
A new extension to the patio area of Banchory Lodge will see space for an additional 50 covers and a new kitchen area be installed.
The al fresco concept, which should be completed by the end of March, will give customers the opportunity to dine in quirky garden sheds or enjoy watching the chef cook up a storm from the outdoor kitchen area which will house a grill, barbecue and pizza and flatbread oven.
With seating for 50 covers already available, this will bring the total of covers at the venue to 200, with 100 seats available inside, too.
Director Carol Fowler said the hotel had “invested heavily” into prepping it for customers returning when the venue reopens in line with the Scottish government coronavirus restrictions.
She said: “The extension will be part of the patio area we already have. I think everyone will be looking to dine al fresco rather than indoors this year. We expect it to be finished by the end of the month and we’re really excited to see it all in action when the time comes. We are committed, to continue to invest in the Lodge. It’s important that
we keep developing fresh and innovative ideas that we know our customers
“We’re painting the outside of the building and are doing work internally, too, so when we reopen it feels fresh. We’re investing a lot of money into it which is dangerous as we’re still shut and don’t know how long we’ll be closed for, but now is the time to do it.”
The new “sitooterie” will feature a covered seating area, four dining sheds seating up to six guests which will be available for private bookings, and a new outdoor kitchen area, too.
She added: “Because of the extra covers it would put a lot of pressure on the kitchen we have, so we’re going to have the space operating as a sitooterie, and it will have a Mediterranean kind of feel to it, but will have a Scottish twist. It will be grilled food, salads, small and large plates, and we’ll have sharing dishes, too.
“We need to make sure this menu is serviceable outside so that the main kitchen can serve the other 100 plus guests we usually serve inside.
“There will be a barbecue, a pizza and flatbread oven, a grill, and it will be set up as a proper kitchen. Customers will be able to sit and watch the chef cooking and there will be some theatrics with that.
“We’ve got these garden sheds which we’ve had built specifically and they will have a table with two benches in them. They will be available privately and customers will pre-order their meals. It will be something totally different that you can’t get anywhere else in Deeside.
“We will be able to use the area all year round as there’s heaters installed and also in the sheds so you’ll be able to eat and dine out there at any time.”
Food for thought
Using a range of local producers, the new menu, which is still in the works, will feature some Banchory Lodge favourites, as well as new local producers.
“We’ll be working with HM Sheridan’s The Butcher in Ballater and Angus & Oink as there will be lots of barbecue food like steaks, chicken, seafood and fish, and there will be popular and trendy food, too.
“We also plan on working with an artisan baker to make us some specific breads and we’ll put on guest products too like Grace Noble’s Aberdeenshire Highland Beef. This ensures small local producers who may not be able to keep up with the demand to suit our main menu, can be featured as specials for a weekend or something.”
“None of this would have been possible without the support of the Scottish
Government’s Hotel Support Scheme, which has been administered very
professionally by Scottish Enterprise. We would like to thank Scottish Enterprise for
not only the financial support but also for looking at other areas of support,
like energy saving surveys which will support us on a longer basis.
“Bookings will open for the new facility when we have a firm reopening date for the hotel.”