An empty cafe in Aberdeen city centre will be brought back to life as a “niche” Italian-inspired wine bar.
The unit at 40-42 Thistle Street has been taken over by Carolina Cochrane and husband Ross, who used to run the plush Rothesay Rooms in Ballater.
King Charles founded the restaurant, now located in the Old Royal Station, back in 2015 to encourage tourism and employment in the town after Storm Frank.
While it was overseen by The Prince’s Foundation, Carolina led the operation as general manager while Ross was executive chef there.
However, Rothesay Rooms was taken over by independent hospitality provider BaxterStorey earlier this year – shortly after its chairman bought nearby £23 million Abergeldie Estate.
Plans for the new Aberdeen bar were unveiled at the city council’s licensing board meeting this morning.
The couple had applied for a licence to sell alcohol as part of their plans to reopen the unit, which is currently being converted by workmen.
Wine bar to bring ‘high-class’ quality to Aberdeen
Solicitor David Scott attended the meeting on behalf of the duo.
He revealed Ross and Carolina’s vision to transform the vacant former Tasty Thistle into a “niche” wine bar called Mara.
Mr Scott noted that the couple have “significant” experience in the hospitality industry, giving a nod to their time at the “high-class establishment” in Ballater.
He went on to explain: “This is their attempt to bring something of that quality to Aberdeen.”
The new venue will serve Italian-influenced small plate dishes, using fresh Scottish produce, along with top class wine.
Given his culinary background, Ross will be in charge of the food at Mara.
While an exact date hasn’t been confirmed, it is expected to welcome customers sometime in December.
Mara to bring new lease of life to former cafe
The Thistle Street unit has been occupied by a handful of much-loved businesses over the years.
This includes Japanese restaurant Oryza Hotpot and cafe Bagels and Stuff, which closed its doors back in 2019 after four “fantastic” years of business.
Do you think Aberdeen needs more places like this? Let us know in our comments section below
Most recently, the unit was the home of the Tasty Thistle.
However, it was hit hard during the pandemic and owners Nicky Robertson and Sarah Smith had no choice but to close for good.
The premises was later put on the market in a bid to find a new occupant.