Taste the Best of Scotland at Ayr’s Brand New Eatery
Despite the challenges faced by the hospitality sector during and since the Covid pandemic, The Smoking Goat remains one of the top places to meet, eat and drink in Ayr town centre. In fact, it was named Scotland’s Best Independent Bar in 2022.
Unfazed by the difficulties that saw many others leave the industry, owner David Storrie not only emerged from the pandemic with the thriving basement bar in Academy Street, but then decided to open an additional restaurant in Sandgate.
The Bistro, previously known as Macfarlane, opened in December last year and David couldn’t be happier with the response so far.
“To be able to open another restaurant, I’ve been quite lucky. I’ve got a good business model and I know from being in the trade and being in this town, what people want and what people like and don’t like.”
David has worked in the trade for 25 years and jumped at the chance to open a restaurant that serves good, Scottish food. The kind of restaurant that is popular in cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh but is somehow lacking in Ayr.
I know exactly what he means.
The décor alone embraces you as soon as you walk through the door. Rich, teal-coloured walls blend with lush foliage and decorative brickwork. Light bounces from mirrors, gilt-framed artwork and copper accessories. Leather chairs complement luxuriously upholstered booths. Not forgetting the window seats for that perfect people-watching spot!
But it’s the food that really excites David.
“Our chef, Dave Richards, is from Arran. He’s phenomenal, and he’s really able to express himself. He can make something out of nothing. He used to forage and grow his own herbs. He’s so talented. He loves cooking with fresh, seasonal food.”
David also supports local suppliers, sourcing meat from Jim Nisbet of Sorn Mains Farm, wine from Corney & Barrow, and whiskies from Robbie’s Drams.
The choice of food includes everything from a 2-course set menu, to soup and sandwiches and the mouth-watering offerings of à la carte. Scottish Mussels, Slow Braised Lamb-Chetta and Duo of Duck are just three of the tempting main courses I spy on the menu. They even serve homemade bread. And with gluten free, vegetarian and vegan dishes available, as well as a variety of specials and a kids’ menu, there really is something for everyone.
“It’s quite different from The Smoking Goat,” says David. “That’s more of a social bar with chicken wings, pizzas and burgers. The Bistro is more laid-back, more intimate. Our menu is a modern take on old-style cooking. It’s great that I’m able to do both.”
He also has a team of hard working staff, both front of house and behind the scenes, all committed to offering friendly and efficient service, with customer satisfaction guaranteed.
The background music, I notice, is pitched at just the right volume i.e. loud enough to appreciate without being intrusive. It somehow adds to the welcoming vibe that David has created in this cosy yet modern space.
He credits Kris Kirk at Big Blue Dog for the interior design. The quick turnaround between acquiring the premises in June and opening in December was also thanks to Kenny Stewart at Artisan Woodworking Company (joinery), Jennifer at Daisy D Does (flowers) and Alec at AB Upholstery.
The Bistro is currently open seven days a week from 12 noon, with bookings taken up to 9.00pm. That said, if you wish to indulge in a cocktail, sample one or two of the whiskies, or while away the evening with a bottle of wine, it is open until 1am on a Friday and Saturday (midnight during the week). As well as lunch and dinner, they offer Sunday roast and afternoon tea. A takeaway option is also available.
“Now the weather is getting better and summer is almost here, we’ll be opening for breakfast at some point soon.”
My mouth is watering at the thought!
With a brand new website, customers are not only able to make reservations online but they can also browse the food and drinks menus too.
“And we’re not over-priced,” David confirms. “For the quality of food, the price is very reasonable.”
You will find The Bistro at Sandgate, Ayr or by visiting www.thebistroayr.com.