Head chef Barbara Sainti wants to bring an elevated form of pub grub to the Dundee food scene.
The 29-year-old chef hopes to fill what she sees as a “gap in provision” in Dundee.
Often disappointed by the dishes served in some pubs, she hopes to provide an elevated gastro style to the area with The Maker.
“We’re going to have the classics that you would want to have, but elevated,” says Barbara.
“Just because it is pub food doesn’t mean it has to be frozen or quickly made.
“When I eat this kind of food, it makes me sad.
“We eat food because we’re hungry and we’re human beings and we have to eat, but I don’t enjoy food when it’s not well made.
“I think that’s what we can do here in this area, we can be more proud.”
The new bar and restaurant, opening on Friday December 1, will be the first for award-winning Dundee brewery 71 Brewing.
It will take the place of the popular Hunter S Thompson pub on Perth Road.
Although there are a number of popular gastropubs in Dundee, including city centre spot The Barrelman, the new chef is aims to bring her own influence to the local offering.
Barbara hopes The Maker‘s offering will energise the Dundee foodie scene.
“There is this thing where one restaurant elevates the next restaurants,” says Barbara.
“Because there is this dialogue where [they say] ‘oh, this guy’s doing that, what we can do?’ You know, it would be nice for that to happen in Dundee.
“It would be my dream. I don’t think we should compete for the market.
“Why not make Dundee a gastronomical destination?”
The Maker: Menu sneak preview
Barbara’s menu at the new 71 Brewing bar and restaurant, The Maker, is inspired by an emerging food scene back home in Greece, called “new creative Greek cuisine”.
This style is all about revisiting the classics, and she is doing exactly that with her beyond pub grub menu.
Some of the dishes on the menu include a steak and ale pie but using 71 Brewing’s own beers.
Barbara will also serve a gluten-free sticky toffee pudding, a twist on a scotch egg with nduja and a truffle parsnip purée.
“It will be something really homely,” she says, “like what you would eat from a person that you love. Except in a restaurant.
“I think that love is really important.”
However, the head chef is not a fan of “pretentious food”.
“Anything that I put on a plate, there is a reason for it,” she says.
“It’s got to add to the flavour or the texture.
“It isn’t about adding little dots of things on a plate.”
Sophisticated kitchen allows for ‘well-cooked’ meals
“We want to be the neighbourhood patch where everything is well-cooked,” Barbara adds.
“You don’t have to drive to Edinburgh or Perth to have a good meal.”
Barbara has spent the last month getting the kitchen to a standard where she can cook her more upmarket menu.
“Behind the scenes, it’s going to be a whole process,” she says.
“We have Sous Vide, we have Thermomix [a powerful blender], this is equipment that is really sophisticated.
“I have been here the past month organising the kitchen.
“It was not operational for the menu I wanted to do.
“There were not enough stove tops, and the oven was more of a home kind of oven.”
Each dish is a character on the plate for creative chef
In her free time, head chef Barbara has been studying history of art and creative writing at the Open University.
This allows her to really get her creative juices flowing and it translates seamlessly into her imagination inside the kitchen.
“There are connections between writing and cooking,” she explains.
“With different dishes, they are like different characters.
“And when you put them together, it’s like character development.”