Known locally as the ‘The Heart of the Garioch’, the town of Inverurie has been no stranger to bustling activity with its market town origins dating back to the 9th century.
It’s detailed as a town on paper but looking at the expansion of Inverurie over the past years, a visitor could easily confuse it with a city looking at its abundance of cafes, restaurants and bars to its name.
From vegan finds to prime Scotch beef and cosy bars to grand escapes, here’s a flavour of what to expect from this Aberdeenshire town.
On first look at Ardennan House, it’s easy to assume that it will be your typical country pub grub options on offer. Those were my thoughts before I dined at the family-run hotel and I was soon corrected.
It’s all going on in the starters section with the likes of Katsu bites, scallops, goats cheese bon bons to black pudding scotch egg on offer – which you can also order a medley of as a tapas man course. And on the topic of mains, serious concentration is required to make your choice. I was in awe of the impressive Lava Stone Steak which arrives with your choice of steak ready to cook to your taste.
The menu is constantly evolving to take in seasonal flavours and culinary flair with past options of king prawns in a gin & tonic batter, smoked paprika sliced sirloin and BBQ hanging skewers.
“On Tuesdays we wear pink” is the code of conduct set by The Plastics in Mean Girls but at Ardennan House they dine tapas with its three for two offer. If your ears prick up at the sound of a deal, Monday also sees their towering burger selection (and a few special additions) on offer for £9.50.
It’s no surprise that the world-wide domination of BrewDog bars includes a hefty chunk of North-east Scotland and you can find one of its bars in the Inverurie town centre. Beer fans can explore the 28 taps of craft beer at their leisure or take part in a Beer School to delve into five of its beers.
Plant-based and vegetarian diners are well catered for here with over half of its menu vegan or vegetarian friendly with the added bonus of a two for one offer on Mondays.
I finally ticked Dreamy Goat Coffee Co. off my hit list recently and it did not disappoint. I went for the Breakfast Burrito which made a perfect brunch option to start the day. Scrambled eggs, veggie sausage, oozings of cheese, peppery rocket and homemade chilli jam all bundled up in a toasted wrap – just glorious.
Find out more about Dreamy Goat Coffee Co. in my previous article about where to dine for vegetarian and vegan food in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
A top recommendation of mine is Sabai Thai which never fails to bring the authentic tastes of Thailand to Inverurie.
It’s an ideal group dining spot with a menu that lends itself well to order a few options to make your very own Thai banquet (plus, a perfect excuse to try out a good chunk of the menu). The mixed starter is a must along with the crispy duck, beef in black bean sauce, chicken pad thai and the coconut rice never misses a trick.
Steak fans are in for a treat at the Porterhouse as Aberdeenshire’s award-winning steakhouse serves up a hefty portion of prized cuts.
Spoiled with a selection of scotch beef dry-aged for a minimum of 21-28 days, diners have a selection of tomahawk, sirloin, ribeye and fillet cuts to choose from. And for those who have a bigger appetite – or just fancy a challenge – sharing options await with the Chateaubriand and the mammoth 1.2kg T-bone!
Connected to the home of farming – ANM Group, also known as The Mart to locals – it’s here that the local agricultural community joins so expect a showcase of local produce.
If steak doesn’t float your boat, there’s a handful of non-steak options to choose from – the Peterhead langoustines have my name all over it. Plus, the chips here look like golden chunks of heaven and as for the desserts *chefs kiss*. Rhubarb souffle – need I say anymore?
Just across the road, the 18th century mansion house of Thainstone House Hotel awaits with two restaurants to enchant diners within its grand setting.
Its Green Lady Restaurant acts as a time capsule with brass chandeliers, candelabras, historic paintings and plenty of elegant Directoire style finishes. With grandeur comes grand titles and the restaurant holds an AA Rosette to match its fine selection of food. Dine here on the lighter nights and take in the sunset over a stunning countryside vista.
Down below the hotel, there’s the cosy Stockman’s Bar decorated with pictures of prized livestock and farming heritage giving a nod to the neighbouring mart across the road. Enjoy prime cuts of beef straight from the Josper Grill which serves The Green Lady Restaurant but in a laid back setting.
Crowned ‘Restaurant of the Year’ at the Food Awards Scotland in 2021, it’s really no surprise that the accolade was in its path with a modern menu that refuses to compromise on Scottish quality.
I last stepped foot in the restaurant a few years ago but with my ear to the ground, I’m never short of hearing good reviews. After seeing pictures of its Teriyaki duck and parma ham and mozzarella focaccia, I’ll be getting booked in prompt!
“Sit long, talk much, laugh often” greets customers as they enter the Cocoworks cafe and you can tell its selection of cakes, lunch and drinks options provide perfect company to customers.
Freshly baked scones, triple chocolate brownies, rock cakes – the full bakery works are on offer at this friendly cafe located on the platform of Inverurie train station.