Botanica at the Barn

Serving up great coffee is a team effort. We work with some fantastic cafés, restaurants, hotels and delis and we thought it’s time we shouted about them! In this series, we’ll be highlighting all the brilliant businesses that we partner with. First up, it’s Michal and his team at the wonderful Botanica at the Barn in Millhouse.

Botanica at the Barn

Botanica at the Barn

When we said we were planning to roast coffee locally, Michal was straight in there. In fact he was our first wholesale customer. That’s because he’s all about keeping it local and serving up the very best high quality food and drink that Argyll has to offer. His commitment has paid off. He’s built a thriving café in a remote area, and this year made it into the Waitrose Good Food Guide, which celebrates the best restaurants in the country.  

Botanica at the Barn is a lovely, laid back place that’s brilliant for kids. There’s a big garden with a play area, pygmy goats and chickens clucking around. Michal has built an outdoor kitchen, which he fires up on a sunny day for BBQs. The cafe, a converted barn, has a Nordic feel, with hand-made furniture, natural wood and art by Michal’s brother, Rafael. Take a table by the window or head through for a seat by the wood-burning stove.

One of the goats!

One of the goats!

The seasonal menu changes daily and always features local produce, whether that’s local seafood, cheese from Evanachan Farm, local lamb or venison. Salad, flowers and vegetables come from Michal’s garden. Feast on a plate of langoustines, tuck into soup with home-made sourdough bread or treat yourself to a homemade pizza. The brunches are awesome!

Michal and Tamara

Michal and Tamara

It’s not just local produce that you’ll find on the menu. Michal is a passionate forager. He’s often spotted scouting the woodlands, fields and shoreline for mushrooms, herbs, flowers and other edible delights. Michal grew up in Poland, where there’s a long tradition of foraging. He first foraged at the age of five, when his grandpa sent him out to the forest with a basket and told him to bring back what he found. He came back with a huge basket of mushrooms, only about five of which were edible. His grandpa took one of the big flat mushrooms, grilled it on top of the wood stove, sprinkled it with salt and served it with a slice of freshly baked sourdough bread. Michal says he’s still chasing that flavour; it’s the inspiration behind his cooking.

The cakes at Botanica are always homemade, beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. We love the scones, which go perfectly with our coffee. Botanica has its own blend of coffee that we developed together. The Botanica Blend is seasonally changing, and currently features Brazilian and Tanzanian beans. It’s rich, chocolately and fruity and is perfect paired with steamed milk. Barista Tamara will knock you up a lovely latte, fabulous flat white or excellent espresso!

Coffee in the garden

Coffee in the garden

There’s a small farm shop at Botanica, where you can buy bags of our coffee, as well as other local produce and crafts. Check out the skincare range by Argyll Botany. It’s made in Tighnabruaich and is amazing!

Millhouse is just up the road from Kames (so about five minutes from our roastery!). If you’re staying in the area, it makes for a good walk or cycle from Tighnabruaich or Portavadie. If you want to work up a proper appetite, how about cycling the Ardlamont Loop? It’s about 10 miles. Then you can treat yourself to extra cake with your coffee!

Botanica at the Barn, Millcroft , Millhouse , Tighnabruaich , Argyll, PA21 2BW , 01700 811186, www.botanicafood.co.uk

 

Eve MacFarlane