Last time I visited Marshall’s Farm Shop, it was, uh, considerably smaller.
There was no fancy kitchen space, no fancy retail space, and there certainly wasn’t as much food and drink on offer as there is now.
To me, it’s like the North Eastern equivalent of the Highland Brodie Countryfare – minus the household items, of course.
I had arranged to meet some of my family for lunch a few Sundays ago as I was craving something delicious and homemade. I wasn’t very well and wanted a good home-cooked meal – a meal I didn’t have to make.
Marshall’s Farm Shop and Kitchen
The parking lot itself the day I visited was packed. Cars were everywhere. And while it didn’t hit me at first, when I saw the queue for the restaurant, it finally clicked, I wasn’t the only one looking for a bite to eat.
My sister and I arrived before my father and mother-in-law and we had only waited in line five minutes before they arrived.
“It’s always like that on weekends,” said my mother-in-law.
Five to 10 minutes later one of the staff yelled if a table of four wanted to take the bar seats. Those in front declined the offer, so we jumped at the chance.
Although tall, the chairs were very comfortable and fitted well under the large, thick wooden table at the top of the restaurant. The number 34 was printed on a metal pad so we knew where we were seated when ordering at checkout.
Menus were placed in a condiment holder that also housed household favorites including Heinz ketchup and mayonnaise.
After gathering the drinks and food order, and a quick glance at the blackboard of promotions, I headed to the cash register which was conveniently between a large cake counter and the ice cream display.
Decided to try the BBQ Pulled Beef Brisket Tacos (£13.50) while my dad loved the macaroni and cheese. My sister Nicole opted for the hunters wrap and my mother-in-law opted for the goat cheese, figs and caramelized walnut salad (all £11.95). “It looks quite different,” she said.
I couldn’t believe how busy it was. People of all ages filled the tables as dishes flew out of the kitchen on massive platters. A large plate of Sunday roast, burgers, nachos, and a hot plate of fajitas all caught my eye.
The huge wood stove went out and shortly after ordering, a member of staff served our fresh orange, sparkling water, Americano coffee and diet Irn-Bru.
We waited about 15 minutes thereafter, until our food arrived.
I first saw the tacos and knew I had ordered correctly. They looked phenomenal in the taco holder. Three big fillings were stacked with the most delicious pulled brisket, which had been finished in barbecue sauce.
They were topped with apple salad, picked vegetables and fries. The tortilla had been heated and lightly toasted on the grill, which I loved, and there was plenty of succulent beef that went really well with the tangy pickled vegetables. It was a little messy to eat as the juices were starting to run down my hands, but it was so delicious I couldn’t shake it off. There was a little salad at the bottom which I appreciated as it meant there was a lot more meat.
As for the fries, they were just like the ones my mom made when I lived at home. Hand cut, they were extra crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Across the table, my dad tucked into his macaroni and cheese which came with the same fries.
He avoided adding black pudding, haggis or honey barbecue pulled pork for an extra charge and commented on the portion size. Neither too big nor too small, just right.
Creamy, there was a touch of mustard although its only bug was that the cheese on top hadn’t melted properly. A few more minutes under the broiler would have solved the problem.
My sister was silent as she tucked into the scarf. Breaded chicken goujons, melted cheese, red onion and barbecue sauce, “what’s not to like?” she said as she walked in for another bite.
Served with salad and fries in small ramekins, the toasted wrap was definitely the highlight of the plate. It had been cut in half and had a lot of filler.
As for the warm goat cheese salad, it was one of the biggest salads my mother-in-law has seen. Two slices of warm goat cheese rested on a bed of small cherry tomatoes, large chunks of tomatoes, green peppers, iceberg lettuce, cucumber and red onion, all tossed in a sweet dressing.
Honey had been drizzled over the hearty dish, and it also featured a quartered fig and crushed walnuts, which added a nice crunch. She struggled to finish it and said it was great value and could easily be sold as a half portion.
We all felt quite full after our meal, but not enough to resist stopping at the cake counter on our way out.
Strawberry pie, Aero tiffin, frozen pumpkin and carrot muffin and slice of Biscoff all came home with us – and were well enjoyed with a cup of tea later in the day.
What I really liked about the menu was that it clearly identified vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, and there were plenty of options on it.
From paninis to baked potatoes, scampis, soups, fish and chips, loaded nachos and more, there’s plenty to eat on the lunch menu. They also have a stacked breakfast and lots of sweet treats.
To end our trip, we browsed the store admiring all the local food and drink brands on offer. My sister decided to try the sit-down tractor, which would also be something fun for the kids to try.
Marshall’s has certainly pushed the boat out when it comes to its food offering. I was very impressed with the quality and love what they have done with this place.
It’s a great place for a quick coffee with friends or a slow Sunday lunch. I urge anyone who goes there to check the specials signs, and don’t forget to pay a visit to the cake fridge!
Address: Marshall’s Farm Shop, Boghead Farm, A96, Kintore, Aberdeenshire AB51 0XD
P: 01224 790493
Price: £57.75 for four main courses and four drinks
- Food: 4/5
- Service: 3.5/5 (because it was partly self-service, otherwise it would have been 4)
- Surroundings: 4/5
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[Marshall’s Farm Shop and Kitchen near Kintore]