Aberdonian.com sent its representative family to Braemar to sample the food and drink on offer at the recently opened Farquharson's Bar and Kitchen at Braemar. So what did they discover? Read on..........
On entering the establishment, well-spaced tables and chairs were evident, and bar staff were diligently wearing face masks. It appeared Coronavirus measures were taken seriously. We decided against using the attractive outside terraced seating and chose a table inside.
Table service was mandatory and we were made to feel welcome by the young lady that promptly served us and engaged in conversation with all members of the family. A good start!
A drinks order was taken. The 16 year-old amongst us politely requested whether he could have a cider with his meal, given he was with adults, was having a meal and carried identification. The young waitress initially said, "yes, of course", checked her father was approving (he was), and my young son was delighted. However, delight soon changed to disappointment when after consulting with an older female member of staff (I suspect it was the bar manageress), she returned to the table to tell us that "the rules were he could only have wine with his meal". My son declined and ordered a Coke instead.
Farquhar's Bar and Kitchen were incorrect on this ruling. Paragraph 256 of the "Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 section 142: guidance for licensing boards and local authorities" clearly states:
"There is an exemption provided in respect of these offences so that they would not be committed if a person other than a child or young persons buys beer, wine or cider for a person aged 16 or 17 to consume with a meal on relevant premises, in circumstances where the 16 or 17 year old is accompanied by a person other than a child or young person".
And this was not the first time in our visit that the same manageress displayed some "unusual" behaviour towards us. Shortly after ordering our meal, she approached our table and asked for details for "Covid Track and Trace". First she asked where I was residing in Braemar. Then she took my mobile number. All of this was written into the same small pad of paper that food and drinks orders were recorded on. I was surprised she did not ask my name. And I did not note anyone else's details being recorded in this manner. Was the manageress worried we were going to do a "runner" after eating our meal? What use are these details without my name? And how was my personal data to be stored and handled if it was simply written down on a scrap of paper? Bizarre. And it had the effect of making me feel unwelcome and not trusted.
The meals arrived fairly promptly (well nearly all, read on...), and they were very nice. Warm, tasty and at a reasonable price. I would recommend this bar for family dining if food quality and price are the defining criteria.
That said, the bar manageress definitely wound me up again when she served all members of my family, except me, their meals at the same time. Between serving the rest of my family and myself, she delivered food to another table. The delay was only about 2 minutes, nonetheless it was unsettling not knowing when my food was coming, and it meant the rest of my family sat watching their food grow cold whist I waited for my meal. Take note please Farquharson's!
Good food, tasty and reasonably priced. Relatively prompt table service. A welcoming attitude from the younger members of the bar staff!
Mark out of 5 - 3/5. It would have been more, had the quirkiness of some aspects of our visit not occurred.