Settling down in Aberdeen, Allan Pullam knew that his background working for an agency and in hotels groups would lead him to one place and one place only, Native in the Hilton Garden Inn.
Native is the only restaurant involved in Aberdeen Restaurant Week which is offering an afternoon tea menu, as well as the two-course lunch and three-course dinner menus. The restaurant within the Hilton Garden Inn will serve up a number of favourites from the newly launched a la carte menu, but also showcase some fresh dishes which have never been available before.
The afternoon tea for two, which consists of a three-tier stand with a selection of sandwiches, plain and fruit scones with clotted cream and jam, as well as a variety of cakes, is priced at £19.
Accompanied by tea or coffee and a glass of fizz each, Allan says this will be a great alternative for those looking for something different during the week.
Grabbing a chat with Allan following a busy breakfast shift, we talked menus, the importance of ARW, and what Native hopes to achieve from being involved.
How long have you worked at Native?
I’ve been here for three months.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Before Native I worked with an agency and I was travelling around the UK. I used to live in Aberdeen, so when I decided to settle down I came back here. I worked in a few hotels and that kind of thing before I was with an agency, and I’ve been a chef for 15 years now as I got into the industry when I was 17.
I guess with this particular Native, it’s very different to the rest of the Hilton brand in the sense that there’s a lot more creative input when it comes to the menu. We have a lot more say in what is on it.
Tell us about your Aberdeen Restaurant Week menu?
The whole menu is completely new so not many people will have tried any of the dishes. Miguel the head chef and the team have worked really hard creating this a la carte menu. We’ve taken some favourites from our new a la carte menu which we’ve just launched, but there are quite a few dishes on there no one has tried before.
We wanted to take the favourites on the menu and showcase them in case people want to come back and eat them, but also give them something totally fresh.
The duck from the new menu is magnificent and the sea bass starter and the haggis three ways dish is also brilliant. The winter risotto is made with barley instead of risotto, so the dishes are quite different.
We’re also offering afternoon tea. Tony who is our patisserie chef is absolutely phenomenal and we really wanted to showcase his talent. Some of the things he creates are magnificent and the afternoon tea will be great for those just wanting to come in with a few friends and just enjoy nice sandwiches and cakes. It’s so popular now so it makes sense for us to show what we can do.
Why did you guys get involved in Aberdeen Restaurant Week?
We’ve been involved in every ARW to date so far, and I guess we really just want to get rid of the stigma that we’re just a hotel restaurant. We wanted to stand out as a restaurant independently and open up to new clientele. We’re slightly hidden so we’re looking forward to getting our name out there more and more.
What are you most looking forward to about Aberdeen Restaurant Week?
The diversity of the clientele coming through the doors. It’s always good to get new people in, and it opens a lot of people’s eyes and shows them what we can do and offer. We’re hoping it generates even more business in the long run too.
What’s the one dish diners need to try?
I’d probably say the duck. A lot of work went into this dish – or the sea bass, you can’t go wrong with it. The duck comes with fondant potato, a little broccoli and a beetroot puree that runs through it – it’s amazing.
And what would you say is your top cooking tip?
Don’t be scared. And don’t be scared to make mistakes. Broaden your horizons, keep an open mind and try new things.