Published: February 2014
With the weather taking a turn to the cold – the family Tup went en-masse for a winter warmer at Super Panther (SP) in Aviemore.
The exotic-sounding bar and restaurant is named after a lawn mower apparently, although exactly why we're not sure, but the village grapevine has it that someone close to SP thought it was a good name for a business.
Super Panther moved into the former home of Cafe Mambo, Aviemore's one-time haunt for the hip young things, nearly two years ago.
There are similarities, with both styled as cafes through the day-time and a bar for the younger end of the market in the evening.
There is little difference between the exteriors: to be fair it's mainly floor to ceiling glass windows, although the Super Panther sign might put off a few diners from coming in.
However, the owners have very much put their own mark on the interior which is modern casual with a good choice of different set-ups for meeting, seating and eating.
We took the long table and high bar stools at the back of the premises – an instant hit with the kids which also meant that our youngster Tiny Tup could not run riot being as he was trapped four feet up in the air.
The fayre is American diner with some soups, salads, Cullen Skink, sandwiches and bagels added to the mix. That most US of US offerings is there – crispy chicken wings – in this case marinated for 12 hours in a spicy coating with a choice of house source and ranging from six wings (£5) to your average American individual portion of 24 wings (£17).
Reynard was tempted by the chilli cheese dog – a Frankfurter with chilli, grated cheese and fries (£8.25) but plumped for the cheeseburger (opting for cheddar rather than blue cheese) and fries (£8.70).
I went for the pulled chicken with fries (£8). The urchins selected from Super Panther's kids menu (served up to age 12) and between them went for macaroni cheese (£4.50), fish and chips (£4.50) and more chips (£2.50).
There was a longer than we would have expected wait for our lunches although the burgers are cooked fresh to order. Fortunately SP have their own kiddies' colouring sheets which Reynard completed at Tiny Tot's insistence with mixed success.
It was clear that the two members of staff working our Saturday lunchtime were rushed off their feet and were finding it hard to keep up with all their tasks including the dishes which were stacked at the bar end – near us – or perhaps Super Panther just has a very small dishwasher.
However, we found both to be friendly and efficient (a good job as it could have been mayhem otherwise).
My pulled chicken was moist and tender in a nice mustard mayonnaise sauce while Reynard's burger was a well-cooked whopper (using the universal American burger scale), and serving it in a brioche bun was a masterstroke whilst the lettuce, onion and tomato were chilled and crisp. The chips were served as a side with both and they would have been coming out of our ears if we had eaten them all – there were so many of them.
The two side orders of onion rings (£3 each) proved especially popular – they were not so much onion rings but strips of onion overflowing from a mug. The batter was light but there was plenty of it and lots of crunch too.
However, getting to the bottom proved a task too far for family Tup, but probably saved on a lot of heartburn and other unpleasant side effects later.
Daughter Tup enjoyed her macaroni and Son Tup mk 1 polished off his fish – both a rarity so that was certainly another credit in the bank for Super Panther.
Some small qualms. The plates for the burgers and pulled chicken could have been larger – it was like eating on school dinner plates. The last time we had dined here last summer, wooden boards had been used which was a really nice touch.
The music was too loud for my liking although we were sited near the speakers. Reynard was quite happy, however, if it hadn't been Arcade Fire, The Libertines and other Indy faves he might not have been so non-plussed.
All in all Super Panther is a very good fit for Aviemore – a casual but smart hang-out for the younger crowd and family market with a curtailed but well done American diner style menu (and some alternatives available).
It breaks my heart to say that we might no longer fit the young and trendy demographic but certainly as family visitors we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Mum, dad and kids all happy. Tick.
Quality of food: 8
Menu choice: 7
Value for money: 7
12-13 Aviemore Shopping Centre
Aviemore PH22 1RB
Tel: 01479 811670