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Inverness BID Small Business Focus Q&A: The McBain family are living their restaurant dream

By Features Reporter

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Owners Corinna and Paul McBain. Picture: Callum Mackay.
Owners Corinna and Paul McBain. Picture: Callum Mackay.

Small Business Focus in association with Inverness BID

Q How would you describe your business to a stranger?

A We are a small family-run restaurant in a beautiful riverside location on Bank Street. We create delicious homemade dishes using fresh local produce with added inspiration and flavours from all around the world. We’re a husband-and-wife team. Paul, head chef, works closely with his kitchen team, including his son, David (16). I'm the front of house manager and I work closely with the front of house team to create an exceptional, customer-focused service in a warm, relaxed and friendly dining environment.

Q What inspired you to start the business?

A It has always been Paul’s dream to own and run his own restaurant. Training closely with his very talented father and coming from a chef family background he has real passion and creative flair. The Highlands is a great place to own a restaurant because we have such wonderful fresh local produce at our fingertips and Scotland is renowned for its fantastic hospitality.

Q How has your business developed?

A We have worked really hard to get to where we are now. We opened in 2019 and only had one year trading before we had to close due to the pandemic. It has meant that it has taken us a wee bit longer to establish and we still find that some local people are only just discovering us. We are excited to research even more fresh local producers and suppliers. We still see our business as very new and in its infancy and we are really excited now about the future.

Q What are your plans to develop your business in the future?

A We offer training opportunities and SVQ qualifications through Modern Apprenticeships. We have trained one chef who has won a prestigious Scotch Beef competition award in Edinburgh. We enjoy passing on our skills to our staff who share our passion. We would also like to expand our supplier list and incorporate even more locally sourced ingredients and products. Local gin producers use locally sourced ingredients and advocate the flavours of Scotland and the Highlands so these would be a great addition to what we already offer.

Q What lessons have you learnt from your time in business?

A Customers will always know when you really care about your business and what you offer. We work really hard to deliver an amazing experience for our customers. Everything that we serve in our restaurant carries our name on it and that is what drives us to be the best we can be. You have to work hard, take great care and pride in what you do in order to make a success of it.

Q What do you love about working in Inverness city centre?

A We have everything bigger cities have to offer but without losing our small city charm. The city centre has such a good community of small businesses that are really supportive and we all want Inverness to be the best it can be.

The city centre has a wonderful vibe to it at the moment and it is growing more vibrant each year. The redevelopment of the riverside has made the city centre a lot more appealing. We feel very lucky to be part of these exciting times.

Q Can you tell us something interesting about yourself?

A Paul has a classic Mini car that he is doing up as a hobby. We also have four boys and we like to spend time as a family walking our dogs, camping and exploring the Highlands and Scotland.

We love to cook and bake as a family. All the boys love getting involved and are all showing a keen interest and a creative talent. We both really love living our busy restaurant dream life together.

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