Full steam ahead for Ballater bistro

Eatery in former Victorian train station marks milestone

The building was extensively refurbished after its near destruction by fire

A BALLATER bistro with a royal pedigree has passed a major milestone one year after opening its doors.

The Carriage, a bistro, café and tearoom, was opened in the former Old Royal Railway Station in August 2018 – two years after the historic building was gutted by fire.

The refurbishment was funded by charity The Prince’s Foundation, which had already opened nearby restaurant the Rothesay Rooms.

Both projects were undertaken as part of an effort to regenerate the town, which had suffered extensive flooding in 2015 during Storm Frank.

Carolina Cochrane, group manager of The Carriage and Rothesay Rooms, said it had been “an incredible first year”, during which The Carriage has served 3869 diners.

“Ballater is such a beautiful village and The Carriage is such a great place to work,” said Cochrane.

“We are lucky to have a great team of staff working at both The Carriage and Rothesay Rooms and I am very proud of all we have achieved during The Carriage’s first full year.”

In its original incarnation the station was the closest to Balmoral Castle and had contained Queen Victoria’s waiting room.

The Carriage features several nods to its royal past, with fine English bone china inspired by an original collection at Clarence House and the private dining space, The Royal Waiting Room, retaining nearly all of its original details.

In addition to The Carriage, the building also houses a branch of the Highgrove Shop, which sells a selection of luxury products inspired by the Royal Gardens at Highgrove.

All the proceeds from the Highgrove Shop go back to The Prince’s Foundation.

Robert Lovie, deputy executive director of The Prince’s Foundation, said: “It has been truly wonderful to see how popular The Carriage has become over the past year.

“The Old Royal Station has always been such an important part of Ballater’s rich cultural heritage and it is very rewarding to see people enjoying it again.”