Your carriage awaits

As you approach The Carriage in Ballater, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the fresh green and white wooden frontage of the rebuilt Ballater railway station.

Inside the leather banquettes, the Royal Waiting Room, reproduction posters for the railway era and station platform all nostalgically recreate the feeling of a bygone era. The Carriage is now a café, tearoom and bistro serving everything from a barista coffee and homemade scone Wednesday to Sunday, to lovingly created plates of very accomplished food as a bistro three evenings a week.

We headed there on a beautiful Thursday evening with great anticipation. The bistro evenings are held on the platform, with seating at tables and the comfy red leather banquettes, which come complete with overhead luggage racks. The menu features mouthwatering classics such as smoked salmon, fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding, but I went for the crispy squid with chorizo, rocket and tomato and my friend chose the grilled goats cheese with shredded beetroot and chicory, orange and honey dressing. My squid was so light and crispy and paired perfectly with the salty chorizo; while my friend was very impressed with the heights to which the often maligned goats cheese had been taken to with the contrasting tastes and textures.

Mains were no less impressive with a confit duck leg falling off the bone into a bed of puy lentils, black pudding and Savoy cabbage, while my friend’s Caesar salad with smoked salmon was pronounced one of best she’d ever had, and she has put years of effort into this quest! We finished off by sharing a fabulously lemony lemon posset with raspberry sorbet and toasted oats and pronounced the meal a resounding success, culminating in a beautiful drive home.

Ballater Station, Station Square, Ballater AB35 5RB
thecarriageballater.co.uk
Opening times: Wed – Sun 9am to 4pm, bistro Thu – Sat 6-9pm

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