A Bridge of Allan restaurant is set to bring the spirit of London dining to Stirling students.
Brig spoke to three local friends who have partnered to open Friend of Mine, which they hope will be the missing ingredient in the Bridge of Allan food scene.
Elena Menichetti, Nichola Heron and Dan Mountford, saw a gap in the market for a city quality dining experience on their doorstep:
“We go down to London a lot and what they offer is huge and nobody really offers that here,” said Elena: “So we decided to open a cool hang out, where you can get good food, good drinks, all in one space.”
Elena added: “You don’t have to go far and wide, so students can literally walk out their door.”
Nichola stated that the only competition for students in Bridge of Allan is Dominos.
The restaurant, which is located on the former Bank of Scotland premises on Henderson Street, will also have WiFi, plug sockets and “good coffee” to encourage students to use the space during quieter periods.
Elena, who also owns The Hideaway Café on Fountain Road, explained that diners should expect “a small menu done really well,” but with a twist: “It’s not going to be like your standard restaurant menu with starters and mains.
“It’s going to be small plates that you can treat as starters, as a small lunch, or you can have them as tapas. You can make of it what you want.”
Stirling Gantry will provide alcohol and despite offers from other companies, they have decided to use local suppliers where possible.
The three owners all have different tastes – Dan’s a meat-eater, Elena’s vegetarian and Nichola’s vegan – which will influence their menu.
“Dan will be really upset with me for saying this but vegans and vegetarians are massive and we want to cater for them,” Elena said.
Vegan food won’t just be on the side, according to Nichola: “At the moment you will read articles on the Hungry Horse bringing out a vegan menu and then other places are all catching on and doing it.
“All you are getting is a frozen burger chucked on a fryer, and it’s lovely, but we are going to try and offer a fresher version of it with healthier ingredients.”
The three owners have been long-time friends, and despite their differences in taste, Elena explained that they wanted the name to reflect this: “We just wanted something a wee bit different, most people would have expected us to call it ‘The Bank.’
“We wanted something that meant something to us. We are three friends and we hope that we get to know more people through it.”
Nichola added: “El and I have known each other for 24 years and known Dan for about 12 years, it just felt right.”
Friend of Mine opened on Monday 15 October and serves breakfast, brunch, dinner and all day food and drinks.