Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

A feast to be had at The Newmachar Hotel

The Newmachar Hotel is a must visit.
The Newmachar Hotel is a must visit.

It’s no secret that Aberdeenshire boasts an amazing foodie scene, but I’ve always felt that city centre venues get far more attention.

Geography and ease of access of course plays a part, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t opt for a jaunt to the countryside.

Having recently relocated (all of 30 minutes) to the shire, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and headed for The Newmachar Hotel.

The award winning Newmachar Hotel.

I’ve driven past plenty of times but had never ventured inside, so eagerly booked a table for 5pm.

A tad early maybe, but it was the same night as a certain football game; the less said the better.

I need not have worried about a noisy set up however, as the revamped restaurant, named Scullery Bar + kitchen kept diners separate from those wanting to watch the match.

Trendy, with a mixture of booth seating and free standing tables, the decor alone made a good impression.

I immediately noticed a colourful display of ice cream on my way in, and the staff are proud to serve S. Luca Ice Cream.

You won’t be disappointed by the ice cream collection.

Having joyfully hugged my colleague who I haven’t seen in person for 16 months, we cast our eye over the menu.

We were spoilt for choice, and an impressive selection was on offer for small plates.

Torn between black pudding & haggis truffles, or grilled chorizo with BBQ chickpeas, I did a U-turn when my attention was caught by crispy squid.

I’m a seafood lover and couldn’t resist, and my dining partner was in a similar vein with her selection of Queenie scallops served with chorizo and black pudding.

The menu was sophisticated without appearing fussy, and it came as no surprise that head chef, Graham Mitchell, has won numerous awards.

Despite the fact it was early, there was a lovely atmosphere with plenty of locals arriving for dinner.

I always think it’s a good sign when local residents give their nod of approval, and even better when the staff clearly know them well.

Our starters arrived quickly, and oh wow!

The squid was incredible.

My squid was served with crispy kale and sweet chili aioli, what a combination.

I would go as far to say it’s the best squid I’ve enjoyed to date, succulent and not overly chewy.

The aioli was the perfect accompaniment, and having never tasted it before I was pleasantly surprised.

My colleague was equally complementary of the scallops, and our plates were cleared in record time.

Scallops served with chorizo and black pudding, yum.

Onto the mains, and I must admit I was slightly nervous having ordered outside of my foodie comfort zone.

From Bao buns to loaded fries, burgers and foot long dogs, there was a well thought out selection.

I noticed each dish offered a twist on the standard serving, with the vegan burger served with tomato jam, and pate complete with pickled watermelon.

Not a particular fan of spice, I opted for pan seared lamb rump served with Moroccan Cous Cous and warm Morrocan curry sauce.

A chef’s special, my faith paid off.

I have not one nit to pick, because it was gorgeous.

An outstanding man, lamp rump.

Fragrant, cooked to perfection with a subtle combination of flavours. I would happily order again.

I couldn’t get enough of the sauce, and was relieved that there was no sudden kick to the taste buds.  Could it have done with a side order of nann bread for added dipping power? Maybe.

Could I have finished the dish with said bread? Definitely not, less is more and it was a job well done.

There was also silence across the table, thanks to an 8oz Aberdeenshire Highland beef fillet, served with a pepper sauce, hand cut chips, mushroom, tomato and onion rings.

Did someone say steak?

Having requested that the steak be “as rare as can be,” my dining companion was not disappointed.

The chips were particularly impressive, and her summing up of the local beef was in one precise word: “juicy.”

The sauce was a touch too peppery for her taste, but honestly, we struggled to find a single imperfection.

We noticed that tables quickly filled up during the course of our meal, with a combination of couples, friends and young families.

The fact that The Newmachar Hotel can cater for all ages with ease, is testament to its staff.

Both myself and my colleague have worked in hospitality, from washing dishes to long shifts behind the bar.

The staff were excellent at The Newmachar Hotel.

We know how hard the industry can be, and we also know good service when we see it.

Staff took the time to chat to diners, and we were made aware of the one way system to the toilets, QR codes and hand sanitiser, without feeling like the necessary safety measures encroached on our evening.

Had we been drinking, we’d definitely have opted for a cocktail or two, and I particularly liked the sound of the apple and elderflower gin fizz.

Having protested that we were beyond full, we of course opted for a quick look at the dessert menu.

There was a much smaller selection then I was expecting, but the focus is very much quality over quantity.

There was a wide range of ice cream to choose from.

I decided to revisit my childhood with a cookie nero sundae, which consisted of double cream vanilla ice cream, cookie nero, mini oreo biscuits, milk chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

My summer body is delayed, and it was absolutely worth it.

Surprisingly not too sweet, but be warned I am a pudding fiend and therefore cannot  give independent dessert advice.

My colleague chose fudge cheesecake, and was equally delighted with both taste and texture.

Finishing our evening with a civilised cup of tea, we were shocked to realise that three hours had hurried past.

The Verdict

Incredible food and excellent company, neither must be taken for granted in this strange post pandemic world.

I could not recommend The Newmachar Hotel enough, and I’m already planning my next visit.

If you thought that meant greedily looking at the menu in advance. Well, I’m not going to deny it.

Cost: £79.50

Venue: The Newmachar Hotel, Oldmeldrum Road, Newmachar. Tel 01651 862636




This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.