A few weeks ago I got to meet our new CEO, Rebecca Miskin, for the first time.

We were able to ask her a number of questions, which, naturally, as journalists, we did. But while majority of my colleagues focused on the business, I was interested in finding out a bit more about Rebecca.

I asked her what the best advice she had ever been given was. She told us a story about her godfather, and how he had told her to enjoy the journey, not just the destination. This stuck with me a lot.

In life we’re always chasing the next big thing like the next promotion or the next milestone. It is quite rare we take a moment to appreciate what is around us and slow down to enjoy the calm.

Recently my friend asked me to go to Findhorn and quite frankly it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. A tiny coastal village with panoramic views – it sounded like the slower pace of life I desperately needed for a few days after a hectic few years.


The Bothy Bistro

She’d spoken about The Bothy Bistro in Burghead a few times, so I thought it would be nice to treat her to lunch.

She suggested we walked, although it is around a two hour walk from Findhorn to the restaurant. The weather had been kind to us thus far, but there was a chance it could change so I packed some supplies in case of emergencies.

I make it sound like we are away on a treacherous expedition, but if you fail to plan, then plan to fail.

The Bothy Bistro in Burghead.

So off we set at 11am for a 1pm sitting. Findhorn Beach is beautiful, and the warm winter sun took the chill off the wind hitting our faces for the length of our walk along the front of Roseisle Country Park. We had eyes our our destination the whole way so it made it easier to judge how long we had to go before we could tuck into lunch.

It took us exactly two hours to get to The Bothy Bistro and boy had we worked up an appetite.

The roaring fire near the front of the venue was so inviting and the friendly staff member who welcomed us through the doors led us right towards it.

Decked out with baby blue wooden paneling – some of which were painted to resemble waves, gold trimmed blackboards and pictures, there’s also a nod to its nautical setting with old helms featuring.

One of the dining areas in the restaurant.

The food

The specials boards caught our eye with Shetland mussels, steak, beer battered haddock, with plenty of local suppliers on show.

We didn’t want to eat too much, so thought a dish from the tapas menu – the smoked mussels – and the carrot and red onion bhaji special starter (£ 8) from the blackboard would be perfect.

My friend vouched that she’d had the best burger from The Bothy so opted for that again, while the panko breaded haddock with mashed tatties, cockle butter sauce and kale (£ 16.50) piqued my interest. She ordered a portion of fries on the side, too.

The smoked mussels.

The lovely waitress who had suggested the bhajis to us brought us our Diet Coke and fresh orange and lemonade. She confirmed our choices were spot on.

There were four mussels on the plate and while they may have been small, their flavor was mighty. The crispy onions they were served with added a delicious texture, but the mussels alone were outstanding.

While the five crisp bhajis were also very good, the harissa yoghurt lacked a little in flavor and was very subtle. That being said, when you got a mouthful of bhaji, yoghurt and the fresh mint which was chopped and sprinkled all over, it was absolutely delightful. With that added herb, the whole thing came to life.

The red onion bhajis.

We cut the fifth in half, although we each secretly hoped the other would offer it up.

Our mains looked even better than the starters so we had high hopes. My friend’s burger (£ 9) was perfectly put together with each layer carefully assembled, with the fresh lettuce, chopped red onion and crisp bacon (which she added for an extra £ 1) all pocking out the sides. She doesn’t like cheese so there was no addition of fromage made.

The milk bun was a mesmerising golden brown and I watched on as she consumed the “famous” burger with the secret sauce. She reckoned it was the venue’s own take on burger sauce, but couldn’t be sure. The meat was juicy and moreish and the French fries with salt on them filled a hole.

The Bothy burger.

My haddock was lovely and soft inside its panko casing. The mash was as good as you’d expect in most restaurants but that cockle butter sauce was sublime. I only wish there was more than a couple of drizzles of it around the plate as it really helped moisten the dish and brought with it an incredible flavor. The kale added some color into the mix and was a nice addition.

There was a lot of eating in it and I struggled to finish it. There was plenty of mash tatties hidden under the two haddock fillets, but I knew I’d need the energy with a two hour hike home.

Haddock goujons.

Taking one look outside and the weather beginning to turn, we decided it was time to hot tail it home – not before purchasing an empire biscuit and a gypsy nut made with a chocolate oatcake biscuit for the trip.

We powered our way through hail, sleet and snow on the way home and managed to get ourselves lost in the forest for a bit while we were at it. But two and a half hours later we made it home and enjoyed a hot cuppa with our bakes.


The verdict

The Bothy Bistro is a brilliant addition to Moray’s dining scene. Not only is there nothing else really like it in Burghead and the surrounding villages and towns, but the staff were super helpful and up for a chat which made us feel right at home.

There were plenty of families and couples in for a bite to eat at lunch on the Thursday we were there which was also great to see.

If you go, be sure to take a peek at the blackboard menus as there’s some real gems on those.

And I have to admit that Rebecca’s godfather was right. It is definitely more about the journey and the experiences you have in getting to where you need to be that truly matter in life, although I will say, I very much enjoyed the destination, too.


Information

Address: 16 Grant Street, Burghead, Elgin, IV30 5UE

T: 01343 830006
In: thebothy.co.uk

Price: £ 51 for a small plate, a starter, two mains, a side, two homebakes and two soft drinks

Scores:

  • Food: 4/5
  • Service: 4/5
  • Surroundings: 4/5

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[The Bothy Bistro in Burghead is worth the journey]

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