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Restaurant review: Duncano’s in Westhill impresses on all accords

The burger sliders.
The burger sliders.

When word got out that a new eatery was opening in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, I was all ears.

Not just because I love to know all about the latest restaurant openings, but because I spent a large chunk of my childhood and teens living in the suburb.

The town has seen many venues open, and then close, but more recently, despite the additions of Starbucks and McDonald’s, there has been a real uprising of independent businesses setting up shop including The Key and The Hill Deli.

Outside Duncano’s in Westhill. Pictures by Scott Baxter.

But what Duncano’s has brought to Westhill is something that has been missing for a long time.

A stylish bistro with wine and cocktail options like no other venue in the town.

Based at the Westhill Shopping Centre, you might think the former home of the Key West pub could have been a questionable location, however, owner Lynne Duncan has completely transformed the place making it look incredibly plush inside.

Interior of the venue.

Opening in December last year, I decided is was about time to pay the new haunt a visit a few weeks back.

Inviting my best friend along, it had been a very long time since we’d last arranged to meet at the Westhill shops for a bite to eat. But this time we’d be swapping our sandwich from the bakers for a much different dining experience.


When you walk into Duncano’s you can’t but notice its stunning interior.

Velvet navy blue chairs, gold finishings, marble tables, Spanish tiles and wooden paneling give the bistro its decadent look.

We were both driving which was a shame as we watched many other customers sample the cocktail menu throughout the night.

Open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner, you can indulge in brunch at the weekend and they also serve up a roast.

For a Thursday night dinner though, expect plenty of tapas-style small plates, sharing boards, nibbles and sides.

Our server for the evening, Alex, introduced herself and took our soft drinks order. We gawked at the menu, unsure just how many dishes we’d need. On her return she recommended around four or five, and gave us a few pointers on the best ones to order.

We decided on a mix of seafood, veggie and meaty dishes to please all tastes.

The food

Arriving at the same time, I was surprised we had any room left on our table for side plates as our very own game of Tetris unfolded before our eyes.

First up for me was the pil pil prawns with garlic and chilli (£7.50).

The prawns were incredibly juicy and the fresh chopped chilli worked well with a splash of the fresh lime juice squeezed all over. Like many of the dishes, it was served with a microgreen salad which made it quite light, albeit there was a good handful of prawns.

My friend picked the burger slider with caramelised red onion and brie while I got the one with the gruyère cheese (£5.50).

The burger sliders were a hit.

We were both very impressed with the quality of the meat and the sliders held all of the lettuce, tomato and additional toppings in place beautifully. This was one of our top picks of the night.

The arancini primavera (£5.50) had been recommended and I’m so glad we opted for it. The flavours were everything you could have hoped from this Italian staple and the parmesan cheese on top finished it off well.

Arancini primavera.

A large portions of mussels with garlic and white wine sauce was also presented (£5.50)
and the crusty bread was a nice addition.

We didn’t eat too much of it and mainly used it to soak up the rest of the sauce. The shellfish itself was fabulous and there was more than enough to go around. It was served in a bowl of which the top doubled as somewhere to put the empty shells.

I’m easily pleased when it comes to salad, but this parmesan and rocket version was a great addition to the meal (£4.50). It was light, but packed a punch of peppery goodness, with the parmesan balancing out the spicier notes from the rocket. It too was served with plenty of microgreens in the mix.

The parmesan and rocket salad.

The only downfall would have been the tempura calamari with wasabi mayonnaise (£7.50).

We just didn’t think the tempura was cooked enough and the calamari itself was very tough to eat so it was the only dish we left. However the mayo was delicious.

Calamari was the one downfall.

We were pretty full after, but the temptation of dessert was too much.

I’m just glad we decided against ordering the truffle oil and parmesan skinny fries to go with our tapas as we would have been rolling home!

To finish, I tucked into sticky toffee pudding (STP) with vanilla ice cream and double cream (£6.50) while my date dived into the creme brulee with caramelised glaze (£5.50).

Sticky toffee pudding.

I could have licked the plate of my STP because of the sauce. The sponge itself was soaked in the stuff, but if I could have taken a jug of sauce home, I would have.

My friend remarked at how good the brulee tasted and the crisp crunch of her breaking through the caramelised sugar on top was just too satisfying.

Creme Brulee.

The verdict

If you are looking for a great date night venue, somewhere to meet your girlfriends, or just a restaurant to treat yourself to a pleasant evening out, I cannot recommend Duncano’s more.

Service was slick, our server was knowledgeable, and the food was excellent. While our meal wasn’t perfect, I will say it was pretty close to it.

What I love is that there’s also options to pick and choose a bit of this and that, and for those who love tapas, there’s not many venues in the north-east that you can do that.

The venue also runs an offer if you choose three or five dishes, from around £19.95 to £24.95 which I found to be very reasonable given the portion sizes and quality of the food.

This is an excellent addition to Westhill’s foodie scene and I’ll most certainly be back.

And definitely get the burger sliders and the pil pil prawns!


Address: Duncano’s, Westhill Shopping Centre, Westhill, Aberdeenshire, AB32 6RL

T: 01224 473400


Price: £48 for five tapas dishes, soft drinks and two desserts

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