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Aberdeen’s Bev’s Bistro offers unusual seasonal dishes for delivery

Bev's Bistro
All photos by Neil Gordon from Aberdeen Photo

Setting up Bev’s Bistro in 2014 to combine her passion for food and entertaining, owner and executive chef Bev Lee had to adapt her business due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Located on Holburn Street and focused on offering seasonal dishes made from quality local ingredients, Bev is delighted her loyal customers supported her through the pandemic.

We caught up with Bev to find out more about how she got into cooking, the cosy bistro, its current menus and famous afternoon teas and more.

What’s your first foodie memory?

Although born in Yorkshire, I spent my early years at my grandparent’s hotel in Lancashire, where the focus was very much on food which had been grown and farmed in the gardens.  Some of my earliest memories are of picking fresh peas and shelling them with my grandfather on the kitchen steps, chasing the chickens around and the excitement at collecting the fresh eggs each morning. Then watching my grandmother create the most amazing food from the homegrown produce.

When did you first start toying with the idea of opening your own bistro?

After moving south, my next-door neighbours had a big influence on my foodie life from the age of 11. They had moved to Kent from Italy and owned an Italian restaurant in Bromley.  Sundays were days for dressing up, long sharing lunches starting at midday and finishing in the evening with lots of banter and fun.  I think this is where my love of food to be eaten slowly and savoured with good friends and family first came from. This is very much the ethos behind the bistro.

As a person who truly loves and delights in food at the highest level, I am honoured to welcome guests to my cosy bistro. I want everyone to feel like and be treated like friends and family as soon as they walk through my door.

Where did you work before launching your own business?

I started my working life at McDonald’s in London in 1983 and feel very strongly that the discipline, the methodical, structured learning and development that each staff member undertakes to achieve their five stars has shaped my life in many aspects. I then moved on to a trainee apprentice scheme at the iconic Waldorf Hotel in London through Rocco Forte, the then owners.  Being part of the team meant having the ambition to excel and being committed to delivering the highest quality of service, tailored to suit the individual needs of every guest.  This is something I still draw on today in the bistro. I worked every hour I could to save up my money to attend a hospitality school in Italy.  While cooking has always been a passion I am much more at home ‘front of house’.

Bev's Bistro
Bev’s Bistro on Holburn Street in Aberdeen

When did you move to the north-east? Did you work in the food and drink business here as well?

I moved to Fettercairn in 1995, the first nine years I focused on my wedding cake business ‘CakesbyDesign’ which I promoted at the local farmers’ markets, where I forged great relationships with other traders who are now suppliers to the bistro.

What would you like everyone to know about your cosy bistro? What’s at the heart of everything you do?

Welcoming guests to Bev’s is like inviting people to my home dining room. It reflects me. I love entertaining.  I love introducing my guests to new flavours. All our food is made to order using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, with no added preservatives. I am a huge believer in devil is in the detail, which is why I personally undertake quality assurance checks on all food that leaves the kitchen.

Your customers are often raving about your afternoon teas…

I have built up quite a reputation for the quality and quantity of food in my afternoon teas over the last year. Even our bread is baked freshly. The chicken and ham is home baked – I think it’s the little details like this that make the most difference to the quality and freshness. The sausage rolls are hand made with sausage meat and freshly made pastry.

What can you tell me about the private dining experiences that you offer? What kind of food do you specialise in?

I am more than happy for clients to book the whole bistro for the evening for their guests or to provide dining at home for my clients.  My private dining menus are created around the clients and their requirements.  I personally take charge of all private dining as I like everything to be just right, whether it’s at their home or in my bistro.  I believe there is nothing better than an evening with friends over good food and good company.

Which dishes are some of the most ordered ones?

I would say our afternoon teas are the most popular items on the menu. I get wonderful reviews from customers who always comment on how fresh the ingredients are and how they can tell the produce is home-made or home-baked. When it comes to my private dining menu, I would say the one dish that my customers go mad for on the Bistro menus are the slow-cooked beef cheeks in red wine or chicken lasagne.

Chicken lasagne

And which dishes are your favourites?

My favourite type of food is sharing food so you can try lots of different things. I’m a real fish and meat eater. I love slow-cooked food like lamb kleftiko or slow-cooked beef cheeks in red wine.

I believe you offer European-inspired sharing menus in the bistro. Can you tell our readers more about this?

I have two menus that focus on sharing food as I think this is a great opportunity to try foods that you otherwise probably wouldn’t.  I love taking clients out of their food comfort zone and seeing the happiness it brings them to try new food pairings and tastes.

You also offer a lot of vegan and gluten-free options…

Our sous chef Alan is a coeliac, so he has a passion for creating beautiful menus that are gluten-free. He is also a master butcher. I am a firm believer that you can still enjoy fabulous food packed full of tasty ingredients whether you are a meat-eater, vegan, vegetarian or have food intolerances. I like my menus to be interesting, something a little out of the normal and this runs across everything we do.

Bev's Bistro

Do you work with any local producers? Is supporting local important to you?

Yes, I do, in fact, many of my suppliers are local businesses I have known for many years. Our tender meats come from Sheridan’s of Ballater and Bannerman’s of Inverbervie. Dairy products are supplied by Devenick Dairy, while our plump berries are a credit to Castleton Farm.

How many staff do you employ? Are you a good team?

There is just Alan and myself in the business full time – we make a great team and our skills complement each other. By keeping the bistro small, I can maintain the high quality of food and presentation. Occasionally, my friends help with the deliveries as I know I can trust them to look after my clients the way I do, when we are really busy, like on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Would you say you have loyal customers?

I am very lucky to have lots of loyal clients who have become friends over the years.  The atmosphere in the bistro on a Friday and Saturday night is amazing, everyone is chatting to everyone else and sharing experiences and food.  People that have never met all join in with the banter.

How did coronavirus affect your business?

In the first lockdown I had to close the business altogether. After a month or so, I started sending my strawberry tarts to staff at the local hospital as a way of saying thank you for their service. I received some lovely feedback off the back of this so I started to explore ways to offer my sweet treats and afternoon teas for home delivery and collection.

Strawberry meringue

During the summer, when the bistro could open, I was determined that the bistro would be Covid safe, so I bought Perspex screens to put up to ensure that I could keep my customers safe. I have had lots of positive feedback about this.
Before Christmas I had my website redeveloped and this has been instrumental in keeping the bistro in business, now my customers can order online with ease and I am about to launch a book online functionality too for when the bistro reopens its doors for dine-in guests.

Since Christmas, I also created menus for special events in the calendar too, such as Burns Night, Valentine’s weekend, as the feedback I got from my customers was they still want to treat themselves to homecooked food and afternoon teas even if they were eating at home.

Where do you see your business in a few years’ time?

I love my wee bistro just the way it is and simply want to carry on doing what I do best, creating exquisite food and flavours for my guests to enjoy.

Bev's BistroVisit for more information and to place an order

If you wish to recreate Bev’s Bistro’s loaded baked potato soup, check out the recipe below.


  • 9 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 12 Tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 5 russet potatoes, baked in the oven already, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 2 cups leftover ham, diced
  • 2 cups grated extra strong cheddar cheese (do not use already grated cheese)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper (not fine)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Bev’s Bistro’s loaded baked potato soup


  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. Remove and set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot, melt butter over med-low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth (no lumps).
  3. Gradually stir in milk, cream and buttermilk, whisking constantly until fully incorporated and slightly thickened.
  4. Add potatoes and onions. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, making sure to scrape the bottom.
  5. Turn heat down to a low simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add ham, bacon, cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted. Season to taste and serve.
  7. Optional finishing touch: add more cheese to the top and place the soup under the grill for 30 seconds to get that melty cheese look.

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