North-east restaurateur Paul Mair has his sights set on coastal town as he updates cafe’s offering.
The owner of a popular French-inspired eatery in Aberdeen has revealed his plans for a new venue in Stonehaven after taking on The Old Pier.
The restaurateur, who bought The Old Pier and Cafe Boheme’s former owner Dominique Mancello, says the move was primarily as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and was “an opportunity he couldn’t pass up”.
We're proud to announce that The Old Pier has joined the Cafe Boheme Restaurant Aberdeen family 😊Cafe Boheme is a wonderful restaurant in Aberdeen serving incredible French food. We're delighted to be joining such a highly regarded team!We have lots of exciting plans for the coming months involving great food & coffee 🍴☕
Posted by The Old Pier on Friday, November 27, 2020
Grabbing the opportunity
Moving into the premises at the end of August, Paul has spent the past few months getting to know his customers and testing out new dishes, but says the real driver in acquiring the venue was as a result of wanting to keep all of his staff in employment during the pandemic.
He is now in the process of establishing a unique supper club at the premises which will see customers enjoy a specially selected three-course menu on Saturday evenings.
Paul said: “I didn’t want to have to get rid of any of my staff at Cafe Boheme so I thought, ‘If I remove myself from the business, that might just work’. I was looking into doing weddings and had spoken to a few estates to be their food planner – very similar to a wedding planner, but for food – and I would take that on.
“I could do all my tastings in Cafe Boheme and then this place came available and I decided to go for it. I’m not sure if it is madness or what, but you never know what is around the corner and I thought, ‘just go for it’.
“When I bought Cafe Boheme, the former owner Dominique had a clause where he couldn’t open up anywhere else in Aberdeen. He messaged me to say he wanted to do something in Stonehaven which I thought was great.
“Jane’s Design Studio was up for sale and had planning permission. I showed it to Dominique’s daughter, who works for me at Cafe Boheme. It became apparent he’d bought it and turned it into The Old Pier and she moved over to help him set it up. I got a call from him seven months ago and the rest is history.”
What’s on offer?
Offering up something quite different to what he is used to at Cafe Boheme, Paul has enjoyed experimenting with dishes which are quick and easier to make in comparison tothe fine dining offering he is well-known for.
He has also relished in seeing more and more people try out his updated offering and is kept busy operating seven days a week at the 20-seater venue.
“It is immediate service here and constant, but what I’ll really be looking to do here is introduce an evening offering. In time there will be four starters, four mains and a few desserts. It will be nice and simple and will be more comfort food,” said Paul.
“With the fishing boats coming in, seafood will be a big focus, as will game with a local estate not being too far away. And The Marine Hotel which is owned by the team behind Six°North is next door so I want to incorporate their produce into some of our dishes.
“I’m trying to incorporate different dishes into the usual lunch offering as well, like filled baguettes toasted and cakes and bakes. In summer we’ll make our own homemade ice cream for people to enjoy. We also do breakfast up until noon with filled rolls, a breakfast croque masseur, or poached eggs on a muffin with smoked bacon or eggs benedict/eggs royale and so on.
“I’d like to get people within the town engaged in what we are doing. If someone is growing their own potatoes then we could use some of that, or produce from local allotments and that sort of thing.”
Hosting the first event in a series of supper clubs, the seasoned chef and restaurateur is looking forward to welcoming guests to a dinner service with a twist.
Focusing on one three-course menu, diners will have the hassle of picking what they want taken away, and will be advised to arrive at 5.30pm for a 6pm start.
At £30, reservations must be booked in advance and for those looking to have wine, a £7 corkage fee will be in place for them to bring their own.
ARE YOU COMING FOR YOUR TEA? 🍴We're holding some tea time sittings over the next few weekends. 5.30pm arrival. One…
He said: “I don’t have the equipment or facility to operate the venue as a fine dining restaurant like Cafe Boheme. Things are much more laid back and I really want to offer dinner service, but in a different way. I wanted to be able to do it by myself and to have it quite chilled. I don’t want it to be too ‘restauranty’. The food will always be more restaurant as that is the style I do, but everything else will be more laid back and casual.
“It is the food I want to cook and this week we have some crab from the harbour and venison from the estate on the menu, and it will change every weekend so people can try different things. It’s a three-course menu and I’ll also have vegetarian options available, and I can accommodate to dietary requirements providing people book in advance.
“I want it to be as if they are round at someone’s house for dinner. I’ll charge £7 for corkage for wine and just now because of restrictions we’ll close for 8pm. There will also be a range of 0% ABV beers and non alcoholic drinks here to enjoy.
“This style of service also streamlines the dinner service so people can enjoy themselves much more than having to pick from menus. I really want the quality there and for people just relax and let us take care of them.”
To book a place at the supper club, 01569 766035 and ask for Paul.