While speaking to the women featured in my documentary, The Herring Quines, I was struck by the sense of history, legacy, and tradition they conveyed. In fact, these themes seemed to emerge in every discussion I had, both on and off-camera. They emerge again in this chat with my wonderful friend Lucy about how these women made ends meet, the role of mental health, and the wonderful world of fisher fashion.
In the middle of the north east countryside, scattered with traditional farm houses, sits a retro travel-themed eatery which feels like it’s been transported from some abandoned stretch of US highway. I made a return visit last week for more delicious cooking, just to make sure I hadn’t imagined it.
I’ve eaten at a lot of cafés and restaurants in the north east, and when it comes to decor, there’s often little to shout about. This decor brought tears to my eyes. Everything is recycled, from the bus seats that form booths against the walls to the building itself, constructed by the owner using disused electricity pylons. Vintage posters and record sleeves adorn the bare wood, and oil cans at each table dispense olive oil for dipping bread. It’s ingenious. The room is filled, but not overstuffed, and every item has a purpose – like the bicycle wheel suspended from the roof, home to pots of cutlery.
You can expect a good meal in most places in Aberdeenshire: a hearty soup, standard fillings for sandwiches, home bakes. By and large the offerings are quite similar, allowing for the occasional specialty. In its menu, too, Lastbus stands apart from other eateries.
On weekdays, soups are accompanied by a selection of cakes and desserts. My first visit brought a flavoursome lentil and bean soup, the second a rich butternut squash and sweet potato soup. The sundaes are not to be missed. Stacked with yoghurt, granola, fresh pineapple, and pomegranate seeds, they’re heavy on indulgence and light on guilt.
For vegetarians fed up of bland, stunted menu offerings, and even someone like myself who is not (more just a cheapskate), Lastbus is a paradise. The menu changes frequently, but you can bet whatever’s on offer is fresh, tasty and totally meat-free.
The singular drawback is that, being nestled atop a hill behind New Pitsligo, Lastbus requires a car (or a walk from a nearby bus stop) to reach. But with fantastic, great value food in dreamy surroundings that you don’t find on just any Scottish hillside, it’s completely worth the journey.
Check out lostcafe.org for more information.