Garden Arms Hotel: Gardenstown, near Banff
THERE are not many pubs in the North-east where a tall man can barely stand upright.
And even rarer, there are not many pubs which have a policy of not serving chips.
But the Garden Arms in Gardenstown has both attributes – and with great food.
The bar is part of a centuries-old former coaching house and boasts low beams and tiny windows, complete with a wood-burning stove for the chillier days.
And it was on a typical blustery autumn day my husband and I ventured in for food.
The weekend menu is priced very simply – two courses for £12.50 and three for £15, with an extra £1.50 for sirloin steak.
My husband plumped for the goats cheese, sun-dried tomato and olive bruschetta, while I went for the pate and toast for starters. The portions were generous and the bruschetta was declared excellent, and my pate was very flavoursome.
For mains, my husband chose chicken stuffed with cheese and herbs served with a whisky sauce which he polished off with gusto.
I tried the steak with pepper and whisky sauce which was one of the best sauces I’ve had.
And each meal was cooked from scratch, so we knew we got good, honest food rather than something pre-packaged and then heated up.
But the wait for the meal meant we were forced to have a drink at the bar with the friendly locals – never a hard task.
Oh, and a word of advice.
The Garden Arms Hotel can get busy so it’s best to book.