Smiddy forges ahead with fresh ideas

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It has been one of the most popular venues in Lochgilphead for many years for that sociable cuppa-and-a-cake or a tasty lunch.

The popular Smiddy Bistro now has new owners – and they have given the place a makeover. The bright and more airy appearance inside is nonetheless welcoming, and the proprietors are excited.

After nine years leasing the community-owned shop, post office and café in Tayvallich, Rosie McAllister and partner John Anderson have fulfilled one of 52-year-old Rosie’s long-held dreams and bought the Smiddy.

‘I worked here for many years under Alison Sykora, then Jimmy and Brenda Angus. After that I went off to explore the world,’ explained Rosie.

‘But to be honest the Smiddy was always in the back of my mind. It was like an itch I needed to scratch.’

After ‘plenty of sleepless nights’ and hard work, the new Smiddy is open. There are attractive new downlighters, freshened-up tables – fewer of them to create more space – and customers can look to a warm welcome and delicious food.

‘I enjoy making people feel welcome,’ said Rosie.

As for the food, the focus is on freshness and seasonality. Rosie picked up ideas on her global travels and diners can expect tempting vegetarian and vegan food, with a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean twist. It’s not entirely vegetarian, however, and there will be a few Scottish dishes with a surprising twist.

Delicious home-baking will be supplied by Alex Aldum and look out for afternoon teas – maybe even with a hint of Prosecco.

Rosie added: ‘John Fisher, who ran the Smiddy before, has been a great help to us, as have the former owners Sheila and Bruce Johnstone.

‘Now we’re looking forward to getting stuck in and making a success of this.’

Bookings can be made by calling 01546 603606.

Rosie, left, with cake baker Alex. 06_a10Smiddy01

The interior is bright and welcoming. 06_a10Smiddy03