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Issue 45 - Square deal for whisky

Whisky Magazine Issue 45
January 2005

 

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Square deal for whisky

Albannach is an exciting new Scottish restaurant in the very heart of London. Dominic Roskrow reports

There are very few of us who manage to live out our dreams. But in the very heart of London that's what young Scottish entrepreneur Niall Barnes and his business partner Dan Sullam are doing.

After months of determination and hard work they have now proudly opened the doors to London's latest style restaurant. And in doing so they massively advanced the cause of Scottish cuisine in the English capital and gave Scotch whisky a major platform at the same time.

Opening a major restaurant is one thing, doing so in a prime location in Trafalgar Square is ambitious and audacious too. But that's what Albannach is – a contemporary Scottish-themed restaurant on the site of the old Aberdeen Angus Steakhouse. Agreater contrast between old and new it would be hard to imagine.

So just how did two businessmen with virtually no catering experience snatch up one of the most prestigious sites in Europe – the view from the windows takes in Nelson's column and the whole of the square – when an A-Z of popular chain restaurants also wanted the site?

“You have to hand it to Niall,” says Dan. “He had a clear idea of what he wanted it to do and he went and presented the concept to the landlady and she was impressed enough to give him the chance to do it. I think she liked the idea of what Albannach was trying to do rather than let it go to fast food outlet such as MacDonalds.”

Albannach – the Gaelic word for Scotsman – is the realisation of a vision for Barnes, who comes from...

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