Whisky Magazine Issue 50
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Glasgow restaurant Arisaig is fast becoming a whisky venue of some note.Ian Buxton visited it
What do you get if you blend a lawyer and a graduate in International Relations? Well, a stylish, trend-setting contemporary Scottish bar restaurant with a rapidly growing reputation seems to be the answer here.
Arisaig, the place, is a small village in the West Highlands. Devasted by the Clearances, its most recent claim to fame was as a location in Bill Forsyth's 1983 cult classic Local Heroes (if you haven't seen this get the DVD, now).
Like many West Highland villages it has a lost, wistful air about it.
It clearly fascinates Stephen Bonomi, coowner of Arisaig the restaurant (he's the politics grad, by the way). I paused to admire the large photos of Arisaig (the place) that line the wall of Arisaig and decorate the menu and discovered that Stephen took them himself.
Clearly a man of many talents, he explained how he spends hours waiting for the right light or sea conditions to capture these artful compositions. I then felt rather guilty at my instant assumption that they were digital prints. Stephen is a died-in-thewool film man. No wonder my philistinism pained him.
It evidently also pains him to part with the pictures. They are nominally for sale but he refuses offers for particular favourites he can't bear to lose. Quite right too. They lend a distinctive atmosphere to this stylish central Glasgow operation that says quietly but firmly, we know who we are, we're in touch with our roots and we're proud of them.
That's not for sale.
That confidence comes through ...