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Opening of new restaurant in Huntly by whisky company boosts town centre regeneration work

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AFTER months of anticipation, The Bank Restaurant in The Square opens its doors tonight.

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Ian Rainbird is chef manager at The Bank Restaurant in Huntly which opens tonight. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Ian Rainbird is chef manager at The Bank Restaurant in Huntly which opens tonight. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

It is a landmark day for Duncan Taylor Properties who have plans for a number of town centre ventures.

The company is part of the Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky group, which was founded by Euan Shand, who was brought up in Forgue and went to The Gordon Schools.

It is making a significant investment in Huntly and in addition to acquiring three town centre properties, it also owns the Castle Hotel which is undergoing extensive refurbishment ahead of re-opening in 2023.

The Bank was designed by the famous Scottish architect Archibald Simpson, built in 1841 and is a grade two listed building.

The Bank Restaurant in Huntly opens tonight with new owners following a refurbishment. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
The Bank Restaurant in Huntly opens tonight with new owners following a refurbishment. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Bought by the company in July 2021, it has undergone a significant makeover.

Magnificent displays of whisky are key in the décor where the parent company’s mantra – ‘whisky without compromise’ will be applied.

Ian Logan, senior manager whiskies and hospitality said: “We will make The Bank the best it can be, we believe if we do a job, we do it right.”

The restaurant has 42 covers and after a soft opening tonight and again tomorro, for dinner service, it will be open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, coffee and cakes, and dinner, from 8am until 10pm.

The Bank Restaurant in Huntly opens tonight with new owners following a refurbishment. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
The Bank Restaurant in Huntly opens tonight with new owners following a refurbishment. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Key to the re-opening has been the appointment of Ian Rainbird as chef manager.

The 32 year old, who has has previously worked at the Dark Island Hotel on Benbecula and Four Seasons in Perthshire has assembled a kitchen and front of house team of around 15 to deliver the best possible service.

His plans for the restaurant include bringing an Asian and Nordic theme to the food offering.

The Bank Restaurant in Huntly opens tonight with new owners following a refurbishment. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
The Bank Restaurant in Huntly opens tonight with new owners following a refurbishment. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Mr Rainbird said: “I like classic cooking but with a twist so I’ve planned some dishes that will be cooked over a BBQ fire in the kitchen and will be doing my own smoking of meat and fish.

“I’m big into sustainability so our fish and chips will be made with Scottish hake as it’s so delicious. Plus, our sticky toffee pudding is made using aged beef fat. That might sound odd, but I use it instead of butter to give it a rich savoury note to the dish that I think our customers will love.

”We are opening with flexibility in the menu, what customers want is important to the business.”

As far as possible, local suppliers are being used, including bread from Anne Keenan at the Honesty Bakehouse.

The Bank Restaurant in Huntly has re-opened following a refurbishment. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
The Bank Restaurant in Huntly has re-opened following a refurbishment. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Donald Boyd, manager of Huntly Development Trust which is currently renovating No 30 as part of its town centre regeneration plans said: “It’s great for the town centre to see The Bank re-opening and many congratulations to Euan and his team for getting to this stage.

“It’s another tangible sign of the revitalisation of Huntly and district. With new businesses opening, new housing being built, the Castle Hotel being refurbished and various other town centre buildings being redeveloped, I cannot remember a time in recent years when there was so much investment going into the area – and from so many different sources. It’s a real sign of confidence in Huntly’s future.”

Ian Rainbird, chef manager toasts The Bank Restaurant in Huntly which opens tonight. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Ian Rainbird, chef manager toasts The Bank Restaurant in Huntly which opens tonight. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.


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