Trump Macleod House & Lodge, Scotland

Now I know a lot of you would never dream of giving Trump your money so the thought of staying in one of his hotels would not be on your list of things to do. However, I’m guessing you have probably wondered what it would be like. Therefore, knowing this, I selflessly decided to take one for the team and spend my birthday in Trump’s Macleod House this weekend on a DBB deal just so I could tell you all about it. (and because I got a great deal I could not resist!)

When we arrived we were met by a charming man in the car park who led us to reception where we were checked in and then escorted to our room, which was massive. Two dark wood Queen size beds adorned in gold and plush cushions monopolised the room to the point you hardly noticed the large wooden sideboard that hid the mini bar, held the Nespresso machine and offered a basket full of nibbley treats. Entertainment came in the forms of a large screen tv with all the Sky packages and a Bose sound system. The bathroom boasted Italian marble, underfloor heating, a large roll top bath, huge walk in shower and a countryside view. The complimentary toiletries were in abundance and covered every eventuality of our stay and more. Everything screamed American grandeur. Helpfully, the receptionist talked us through all the gadgets and showed us where all the hidden bits and bobs were.

Not long after she left a charcuterie board and 2 glasses of fizz were delivered as part of the romance package I had booked. The plate was large and full of different meats, cheeses, pickles and bread and was one of the best sharing platters I have had.

Later, dinner was served downstairs and for sake of brevity you can hopefully zoom in and check the menu out yourself. From the wine menu I chose one of the cheaper options at £35 for a young Rioja steering clear of the ridiculously priced bottles.

Disappointingly, the soup was lentil so that was given a miss and to start OH had Kedgeree, smoked haddock and egg, which he enjoyed because it was something he would not normally order. The rice was done perfectly and just like the dating app, there was plenty of fish. I had the game terrine with prune ketchup. It wasn’t an overly strong terrine but was a bit heavy as a starter. The prune ketchup was thick and rich and didn’t taste of prunes.

I struggled picking a main as the fish dish didn’t appeal so eventually plumped for the beef cheek. Not being a big meat eater this was a completely new venture for me. The meat fell to bits, didn’t require much chewing and didn’t stick in my teeth, which gets extra bonus from me. However, the gravy, like the ketchup was rich and thick, and along with the buttery mash became too much and I could not finish the dish, already feeling (and looking) like a snake that had ate a pig.

OH had the venison stew and dumplings. He says it was exactly as described and tasty but nothing special. The fact the stew came in a bowl didn’t do itself any favours as OH hates that and believes forks and bowls don’t go together. Also, to be fair, the photo doesn’t do it justice and because of the lighting both our plates look like puddles of mud.

I couldn’t face a dessert but OH opted for the salted caramel apple crumble. A nice end to the meal he says unenthusiastically but probably because he would have preferred ice cream with the dish.

Delightfully, I was brought another glass of fizz as a birthday gift from the hotel, which was lovely. I have no idea what it was but it didn’t give me immediate heartburn so it was probably expensive.

Fast forward to the following morning and breakfast was served because obviously I was back to my snakelike self and needed feeding up again (yeah right!). As is the norm at good hotels the breakfast was lovely. A selection of fruit, yoghurt, meats, cheeses, salmon and pastries were on offer as well as cooked menu options. Just in case you are wondering, OH had Eggs Benedict and I had scrambled eggs and salmon.

As we had brought our golf clubs with us, after breakfast and checking out, we drove down to the Clubhouse to spend some time on the practice grounds. For £25 you can spend all day on the short course, putting green and driving range. It was bracing but dry so we managed to waste some time whacking balls and trying to stay out the bunkers. We then had a walk amongst the dunes and down on the beach where the surf roared and the sands were empty.

It was a fantastic birthday in plush surroundings with good food and phenomenal service. I am over the moon I got a great deal on our stay but I am not sure I would feel quite the same way if I had paid full price.

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The Kinneuchar Inn, Kilconqhuar, Fife.

Last week after visiting Bowhouse Market we went for a drive and noticed that the Kinneuchar Inn in Kilconqhuar was open again (after being shut for 2 years) so we popped in. We chatted with Aletha Palmer who told us her and her partner, renowned chef, James Ferguson had come up from London to open the restaurant. After having a couple of drinks and a nosey at the menu we booked a table for lunch the following Saturday. And of course yesterday was that day.

When we arrived we were seated and given menus and the specials board was read out to us. The menu was confidently simple (thanks to my SiL for that description) but also a little disappointing. I had already known there would only be a meat dish, a fish one and a veggie option but the main meat was mince and tatties! And that was the exact description. I don’t think I am alone in making mince and tatties regularly at home so I was surprised to see it on a relatively fine dining menu as the only meat dish on offer. The fish dish was Shetland Mussels and Nduja (spicy pork paste) and the vegetarian option was Crown Prince Squash, White beans, Goats Curd & Gremolata. The only main on the specials board was a Chicken, Ham and Chanterelle pie, which was for 2 to share.

This made the menu difficult for OH who isn’t keen on mussels and (understandably) had ate mince and tatties midweek and didn’t want to pay £12 for it now.

After deciding on our mains we then worked backwards and chose our starters. On offer there was soup, brawn and red cabbage, a leek gribiche and on the specials board there was a squid dish and Smoked Trout, beetroot sauerkraut and horseradish, which I decided to have and OH went for the Spinach and Potato soup. When they arrived the colours were spectacular. OH’s soup was a vibrant green and my trout was bright orange, which contrasted with the purple beetroot sauerkraut. There was no bread with the soup and we realised too late that we should have ordered it as a side from the menu. OH enjoyed his soup, which was thick, heart warming and perfect for the breezy autumn day.

My trout was very smoked, the sauerkraut was a little acidic and the horseradish cleared my sinuses even though they hadn’t been blocked. It was a plate I wanted to finish even though it was challenging me and I had to take several breaks and breathe through the horseradish.

With just the right amount of time between courses our mains arrived. OH had eventually decided on the veggie option and unfortunately it came in a bowl (OH hates food in bowls unless it’s soup). Sounding quite surprised, OH said his meal was tasty, everything worked well together and it wasn’t a dry boring dish (how he usually views veggie dishes). However, he couldn’t finish it and felt there were too many beans, which had bloated him. He also said he was all cheesed out by the end.

I had went for the mussels. They arrived with a piece of toasted sourdough bread precariously balanced on the side. The mussels were huge, fat and orange. The broth wasn’t too salty and the Nduja tasted a little like chorizo. There was nothing wrong with the meal but I could have done with a spoon, a side plate and a larger bowl for the shells as I had to start carefully positioning them like backwards Jenga, constantly in fear they would topple. The accompanying bread was spread with loads of garlicky butter and I loved it but it kept falling into the broth and by the end of my meal my fingers were a sticky, fishy mess and there as no finger bowl.

OH, who usually never passes up the chance of a dessert, declined to look at the menu as he was too full of beans and cheese. However, I know you really want to know what the options were so I took note – there was a treacle and walnut tart with creme fraiche, blackcurrant ice cream with a golden syrup biscuit or Hebridean Blue Cheese.

As I waited on OH finishing his pint I noticed a couple of elderly diners at another table had ordered the pie to share. It arrived in a large dish with 2 plates and a spoon. The pie wouldn’t have disappointed Desperate Dan it was so big and hearty. I watched on as the female of the couple then tried to cut into the pie whilst trying not to burn herself on the dish. The spoon was far too small and the operation looked like a disaster in the making. The male obviously loved the pastry and spent quite a bit of time chiselling down the sides of the dish to try and get to the crust and he did burn his finger. I just felt that initially one of the waiting staff could have helped serve the dish rather than just plonking it down and leaving.

I also noticed another diner got a piece of lemon with their smoked trout. Where was mine? Another colour on my plate would have looked awesome.

Overall, the food was beautiful with a locally sourced menu that tries to use every bit of the animal but there could be more thought put into how the dishes are served to make it a bit easier for the diner.

2 pints of Czech lager, an apple juice, 2 starters and 2 mains – £50.30

Cafe Circa, Abernyte, Perthshire

There’s an antique and arts centre in Abernyte, which is on the road between Perth and Dundee that OH and I often visit on wet weekend days. It’s a big building full of different antique dealers, new furniture, clothes and a kitchen/deli section. Yesterday, after checking the weather forecast, we decided it was one of those days to visit.

As we wandered around we were stopped in our tracks when we spotted a beautiful chaise longue that would go really well in our living room. It was a good price and it’s a piece of furniture I have always wanted but did I really need one and did I really need it right now? We decided to have something to eat at Cafe Circa the restaurant in The Scottish Antiques and Arts Centre to discuss and mull it over.

The menu was in sections Breakfast, Light Lunch, Mains, Cakes and Bakes. There was also a special boards. In the mains sections it was listed as a set 2 or 3 course meal and didn’t have individual prices so a set 2 course lunch it was. Smoked Haddock Chowder with baked seeded crusty brown bread and butter jumped out from the list of starters, which included tomato, mozzarella and parma ham, salmon bon bons and salad.

The chowder was far too hot but tasted fabulous. It was so thick and creamy you could stand your spoon up in it. It was jam packed full of fish, peppers, potatoes and sweetcorn and the smoked haddock pieces were so big I think I had a whole fillet in my bowl. The bread was also far too tasty and I really wanted to eat both slices but I knew I was already going to struggle with my next course as the chowder was so filling but ever helpful OH didn’t see it go to waste.

For my main I had Tempura Battered Sea Bass and King Prawns
on a rocket and pea shoot salad with lemon and thyme potatoes. The plate arrived with half a field of potatoes and a jungle of green.

The batter was light and crisp and the sea bass and prawns were obviously straight from the fryer. The accompanying soy sauce dip was the coldest thing on the plate so it immediately cooled the king prawns, which were chunky and tailless (that’s a good thing btw, the contrasting cold dip not so much). Unfortunately, the abundance of potatoes were on the hard side and the jungle was in such a tangle there was no delicate way of eating it so both were left on the plate. This was not really an issue though as I was needing an excuse not to eat anymore.

OH had Pulled Beef and Wild Mushroom Wellington
with port gravy, roast potato, green beans and mashed turnip. The pastry was golden and crisp (he says there was no soggy bit, which is my favourite bit ) the mushrooms were under the pastry and around the pulled beef, which melted in the mouth. He had no complaints about his potatoes, which were roast and the veg went well with the dish. He too was struggling to finish (and remember he’d also had a piece of my bread) but to his credit (and thickening waist line) he managed.

There was a dessert menu but for once OH didn’t even want to look at it. However, what jumped out was a Chocolate and Cherry Tartlet with creme fraiche sorbet, which sounds divine.

I would definitely go back but next time I would only have the chowder….and maybe a sandwich.

Two 2 course set lunches, a bottle of locally brewed Abernyte Festbier and a Ginger beer – £40.80.

And in case you are wondering. We didn’t buy the chaise longue.

The Allanpark Hotel, Stirling

Having bought tickets for Bloody Scotland, yesterday OH and I headed to Stirling to see crime writers Denise Mina and Louise Welsh chat with Janice Forsyth and then Mark Billingham chew the fat with Richard Osman in the Albert Halls.

A friend at work had advised us to park at the Vue Cinema and walk over the bridge into the middle of town, which turned out to be a great idea rather than driving around trying to find a place to park in the busy city centre. She also suggested the Allanpark Hotel for somewhere to eat, which also turned out to be a great piece of advice.

The Allanpark Hotel is off the beaten track and hidden at the end of a street not far from the Albert Halls. When we went in we were seated in an already busy room. I could tell by looking around that other diners were also there for Bloody Scotland as I spotted a number of programmes being read.

Soup of the day was Potato and garlic, which meant OH had already chosen his starter. The menu offered a lot of light bites, sandwiches and soup, sharing platters, pizzas and afternoon tea. The mains were things like fish and chips, burgers, stuffed chicken and macaroni cheese, which does sound a bit dull but I could see the dishes being taken to other tables and they looked good.

OH’s soup arrived quickly and was accompanied with some home made bread from the Bavarian Bakehouse. The soup was the perfect temperature and meant all the different flavours could be tasted. It was smooth with a little kick to it and went down a treat.

For main, I decided to go for the Seafood Tagliatelle w/ Tomato, Basil & Mascarpone – King prawns, squid, clams, chorizo, samphire, tagliatelle, Parmesan, garlic ciabatta. The prawns were huge and firm and the sauce was perfectly balanced. The samphire gave it a crunch and the chorizo was well cooked and not over powering. Overall the dish was great, just the right amount of pasta and all the ingredients complemented one another. Looking back though, I can’t remember tasting any squid or seeing any clams in the dish.

OH had a Super Food Bowl w/ roasted Chicken breast – wholemeal cous cous, lentils, kale, sun-dried tomato, roasted beetroot, artichokes, pesto, micro-herbs. OH enjoyed it but said there was too much and by the time he ploughed through it the dressing became too acidic as it had all pooled in the bottom of the bowl. The bowl also annoyed him and he would have preferred a plate but then they would have to change the description.

When we were asked if we wanted dessert, I stuck with the Pinot Grigio and OH decided to have the Classic Crème Brûlée – set vanilla custard, brown sugar, home-made shortbread, which I thought was a boring choice but when it arrived it looked amazing. The whole dish was sweetness in different forms. The caramlised brown sugar snapped into brittle shards and clashed delightfully with the soft creamy custard and OH loved every single calorie of the dish.

The service was exemplary. Everyone was cheerful and friendly, the food arrived quickly but with just the right amount of time between courses and when the bill arrived in a little Wind in the Willows book the waitress immediately brought the card machine.

1 starter, 2 mains, 1 dessert and a bottle of wine = £57

Strathearn, Gleneagles

Last year I had a big birthday and BB and SiL gave me the fabulous present of a gift voucher for Gleneagles. Although I could have used it to do one of the many country pursuits they offer, OH and I thought we would rather have Sunday lunch. So, talking Mini-me into being a taxi driver for the day we donned our glad rags and set off for the 5 star hotel in Perthshire.

As ever, we arrived too early and decided to have drinks in the Century Bar first. I explained to the waiter I had a gift voucher and asked if it was okay to have drinks on it as well as lunch. I was told it was okay but he would have to transfer my drinks to the dining room. Therefore, with everything in hand I had a Bloody Mary and OH decided he fancied a pint. I have to say my Bloody Mary is one of the best I have ever tasted. Firstly it had a light sweet taste and then as it went down it gave a massive kick, which left your mouth tingling and demanding more.

At 1 o’clock a waitress took our drinks through to the Strathearn dining room and we were seated in plush surroundings reminiscent of 1920s. Gold trolleys were wheeled around by waiters and waitresses all who had their own role. We were given food menus and offered water by one and a wine menu from another. Then we were offered bread from a french waitress’s trolley. There were far too much to chose from so she offered to cut a selection of them. She then gave us butter with some Skye salt sprinkled on top.

The menu offered pre-starters of oysters and caviar blinis, which had hefty supplements. The menu then announced where to start with a box that described 2 different kinds of salmon. One from Dumfries, which had been smoked using beer barrels and one from Perthshire that had been oak smoked. Both came with capers, lemon, creme fraiche and shallots but if you wanted caviar there was another supplement. The salmon arrived on a gold trolley and was sliced thinly next to us. The waitress was amazing to watch as time and time again paper thin slices of salmon were removed from the large fish and arranged delicately on the plate. The salmon was delicious and the accompaniments really added to the taste.

Then there was the choice of soup, terrine, salad or crab. I went for the New Season Garlic and Potato Soup with sauteed leeks and girolle mushrooms and OH decided on the West Coast Crab, cucumber, pink grapefruit, white balsamic and hazlenut.

My plate arrived with the leeks and mushrooms deconstructed in the centre of the bowl and then the soup was poured from a jug around them. The soup was beautiful. Thick and creamy and garlicky with the leeks adding a very pleasant texture addition.

OH’s crab was a beautiful plate of colours. The grapefruit gave it a fresh citrus tang whilst the white crab meat was light to taste. The hazelnuts and cucumber gave the dish a crunch.

For my main, I had Seabass, roasted cauliflower, crushed potatoes, baby artichokes and champagne sauce. The skin on the fish could have been crispier and the cauliflower could have done with more colour but overall I enjoyed the dish particularly the artichokes, which I have been wanting again since enjoying them in Spain last March.

OH had Borders Lamb Rump, garden peas, confit shallot, fondant potato, roasted tomato and lamb jus. The lamb looked exceptional without a bit of fat insight and OH said it tasted just as good as it looked.

Throughout our meal the sommelier topped up our wine glasses with the sauvignon blanc we ordered and anyone passing would top up our water glasses. The service was impeccable. The ambience was added to by a three piece band who played a range of hits from people such as Pink Floyd, Nine Inch Nails, Amy Winehouse and The Clash but in the style of lift muzak.

After a short break we were given dessert menus. There was a list of ports with prices and a cheese trolley on offer with another supplement however, I went for a light and refreshing mix of sorbets. OH went for the sticky toffee pudding with a whisky and date puree.

My sorbets were the perfect way to end my meal. The mango, lemon and raspberry flavours going down a treat. The accompanying baked strip of loveliness wasn’t crisp as I had suspected but a soft, chewy affair.

OH’s pudding tasted of toffee and was sticky so ticked all the boxes. The date and whisky puree was a small dollop and I think he’d have preferred more.

When our plates were cleared we were offered coffee or tea and OH asked for a coffee, which arrived with 2 little sweets that looked beautifully wrapped in egg-shell blue and gold leaf. However, when I picked one up it immediately started to melt in my hand and I realised it was the chocolate which had been painted and not any kind of wrapper. The chocolate was rich and heavy.

Our meal was excellent and we both enjoyed all the food we had. The theatre of the dining room was stunning and it was great watching the waitresses and waiters give such fantastic performances.

After our lunch we returned to the Century Bar and mini-me joined us for a round of drinks. I then asked for the bill. Now this is when things went a bit awry. Our bill arrived with a whole bunch of drinks we hadn’t had and no mention of lunch. When I queried it, the original waiter appeared and I was told there was a difficulty because of our voucher and the drinks having to be transferred. Yes but those drinks still aren’t ours. I then had to return to the dinning room and explain to another waiter the issue. After a while he managed to clear it up and gave me the right bill minus the voucher. However, this was when I realised the smoked salmon and coffee were extras. This annoyed me because as I have been pointing out, it was clear everything was priced and it was highlighted where the supplements were. There was nothing on the menu that stated it was £25.50 extra for the salmon. Feeling slightly annoyed and a bit duped I paid the bill.

A very decadent Sunday lunch consisting of a Bloody Mary, 2 pints, a ginger beer, a G+T, a bottle of wine and 2 3 course lunches with salmon and a coffee. £247.

The Tavern at Strathkinness, Fife.

Today OH and I decided to visit the The Tavern at Strathkinness. It’s been on our list of places to visit for a while now and today turned out to be the day. We didn’t book but that didn’t seem to be a problem as we were given a seat in the restaurant although, we were also offered a table in the bar.

When we were given the menu my first thought was akin to the couple who dined in The Rook Restaurant in The Two Ronnies sketch. There was haddock pot – done in a cheese sauce, haddock coated in coconut, haddock in batter and haddock risotto. There was also salmon in Cajun spices, which makes me wonder why the haddock couldn’t have been done like this…and if you didn’t fancy haddock there was also steaks, steak pie, pork belly and mushroom stroganoff.

Thankfully, there was no haddock starters so we decided to share the ‘Crispy Breaded Brie – slices of french of brie coated and fried, served with sticky onion chutney’. When the one slice of brie arrived (note not plural as advertised) there was no onion chutney. It did however, have a very nice beetroot salad and the slice was a large one. We both enjoyed it and it didn’t feel like a frozen bought in starter due to it’s size.

brie

For main, I decided to go for ‘Pork Belly – a generous slice of slow cooked premium pork belly, slathered in creamy apple cider sauce. Decadent with potatoes and veg.’ I was asked what kind of potato I wanted – chips, mash or roasted. I went for roasted and got a “Good choice” from the waitress.

pork belly

When the dish arrived I was more than happy with it although I did give OH my green beans as I am not a fan. Everything else though was lovely and the pork really did melt in my mouth. The potatoes, cauliflower and carrots were all spot on. (Yes, I know it looks like an under-cooked scotch pie but it really was pork) OH went for ‘Smoked Haddock Pot – smoked Scottish haddock baked in a copiously creamy sauce and topped with our homemade scone crumb crust’. OH was also asked what kind of potatoes and he copied me – possibly because of the ‘good choice’ commendation I got.

haddock pot

OH’s haddock pot arrived in it’s own little dish and I soon realised that ‘copiously creamy sauce’ meant you needed to ask for a spoon. OH said he enjoyed his dish but thought he had maybe ate too much as by the end of it he said it was a bit salty and the scone crumb seemed a little too sweet. Oddly, he says he would order it again even though he didn’t finish it. Hmmm. I thought that my green beans looked good on his plate and that he maybe should have had some green veg with it too.

At this point another couple arrived and I overheard them giving their order. The woman, when asked what kind of potatoes she wanted, asked for chips. “Oh good choice.” the waitress replied. Eh?!?!?!? What a floozy!

By the end of our mains I was done but OH thought a desert wouldn’t go a miss so I ordered another wine (as you do). And after looking at the blackboard of sweets OH decided on the Mango Mojito Sorbet, which arrived with 2 spoons (love it – even though the waitress is obviously a player ;p). The sorbet was really well balanced with mango and mint so that the mint was not overpowering and the pomegranate seeds made a nice contrast in both colour and texture.

sorbet

OH then decided he wanted a coffee so there was nothing else for it but to order another Rioja.

Overall, the food was good, the ambience and view were great, the service was excellent and the menu needed some work – especially their over use of haddock and their dodgy adverbs.

1 starter, 2 mains, 1 dessert, a coffee, an orange and soda water, 1 large and 2 small glasses of wine – £50.80

Lake of Menteith – Hotel and Waterfront Restaurant

After checking the weather forecast and realising The Trossachs were going to be out of the rain, we headed to the Lake of Menteith to dine at the Hotel and Waterfront Restaurant there.

We had not booked but a table for 2 was not a problem and we were seated with a fantastic view of the lake and given menus. A specials, wine and lunch one. I have to admit I was not that excited by the lunch menu, which offered expensive macaroni cheese, beef burger, Thai veg curry and a pasta and shellfish dish. The special was venison but at £24 I looked at it and looked away. I, therefore, went for another option, Fish’n’chips – Battered sustainable sourced Scottish Haddock with garden peas, tartare sauce and skinny fries. OH went for the House-smoked Perthshire Chicken on a Caesar Style Salad. He would have much preferred something hot but like me he was a bit underwhelmed by the menu.

As we waited I ordered a large Pinot Grigo and OH had a non-alcoholic larger. We also sat and watched an osprey fishing. As an aside, Good news:- we were given a jug of water without asking. Bad news:- it wasn’t cold.

After a further wait, which to be fair felt like a ‘we are preparing your food fresh’ wait rather than ‘we are having a nightmare in the kitchen’ wait, our dishes arrived and we ordered another round of drinks.

My fish and chips looked well manicured with even the garden peas coming in a dish of their own. I know some people don’t like their food stuffs touching (yes Claire I am looking at you) but these were garden peas not mushy! Plus, as the dish they came in was the same size as the dish of fries, there was an unnecessary amount of peas and even I couldn’t finish them and I love peas. Saying that though, my meal was fantastic. The batter was crisp, the fish was beautiful and the fries were amazing. If I wanted to be really picky I could moan about the tartare sauce as it was a bit meh but on the whole the fish n chips were totally spot on.

OH’s tried his home smoked chicken salad and immediately said “We should try to do this at home” (he smokes his own fish btw) so he obviously loved it. There was an abundance of chicken and he enjoyed the salad but I have to admit I am not sure why the menu said it was a Caesar salad ‘style’. It may have been a lack of anchovies but OH isn’t sure. Regardless his plate was wiped clean and he said all the flavours and textures were well balanced.

Service was excellent and it was not long before we were offered dessert menus. I declined but OH went for Lemon Tart with Berry Compote. I think it came it with Chantilly Cream (I stuck in my little finger to check (it was clean)). OH said the lemon tart was not tart to taste but the berries, which were excellent, were so the vanilla cream made a great accompaniment. He also later mentioned that the tart did not taste like washing up liquid as it was not OTT lemony, which can only be a good thing.

Overall it was a beautiful meal with good service and a fantastic view. 2 mains, 1 dessert, 2 large white wines, 2 non-alcoholic lagers = £53.50

After a short walk we returned and sat in front of the lake and had another round of drinks.

The Giddy Goose, Dundee

At a loss for something to do but knowing we wanted to eat, we found ourselves driving up the Perth Road in Dundee looking for a parking place so we could have a look at the menus at the numerous restaurants dotted along the road.

We eventually settled on The Giddy Goose at it looked interesting and it announced itself as a pizza and wine bar. Inside the decor was boho chic. Purple lamps with bright yellow shades, turquoise couches and a forest of green plants hanging from the indoor pergola. There was also an outdoor seating area which was carpeted with artificial grass. We were seated indoors (because it’s June in Scotland) and given menus.

Pizza, pasta, burgers, grazing dishes, steaks and plates were all available. There was also the offer that most things could be gluten free and there was a whole section for vegans. Looking for easy to eat comfort food I decided on King Prawn & Gorgonzola Mac & cheese and OH plumped for the Chicken and Smoked Mozzarella Saltimbocca – creamy baby corn, toasted almond and herby tagliatelle.

We waited a while for our meals to arrive so I wasted the time by taking photos of my wine glass and carafe.

art

After a while a waitress came up and apologised for our wait and explained the saltimbocca takes a while to cook.

Beige

Eventually our dishes arrived. My dish looked beige and boring. It really could have done with a colourful plate to make it look more appealing, even a smattering of basil or watercress would have made a difference. It was tasty enough but the sauce was thin and there was not that many prawns compared to the amount of macaroni. As everything was the same texture, I felt if they had added some sugar snap peas it would have lifted the whole dish. I got bored eating it very quickly and left quite a bit as it just wasn’t worth the calories.

OH’s on the other hand had everything. Colour, texture and loads of flavour.

saltimbocca

He loved his dish saying the sun-dried tomatoes were excellent, the pasta tasty and the chicken stuffed with mozzarella and sage and wrapped in prosciutto was delicious. He also had to leave some but for the totally opposite reason from me – he was as stuffed as the chicken because it was such a huge plateful of different tastes and textures. He was that full he didn’t even ask to look at the dessert menu!

Lovely decor, service was excellent and the menu was great for gluten intolerant people and vegans.

2 main meals, a 250ml carafe of wine and a no-alcohol beer = £34.90

Fabric, Dunfermline

So yesterday OH and I dined with Mr and Mrs Hairy at Sol y Sombra in Broughty Ferry. It was a good time with great company and great food. However, I wrote about it in 2014 and when I reread my blog from back then I thought it was still as relevant today so I didn’t feel the need to write another. If you want to see it you can read it—> here

Instead, I am writing about Mini-me and I dining in Fabric in Dunfermline today. We had just walked around the fabulous Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries and when we came out we noticed Fabric diagonally opposite the library. The menu looked good so we went in.

Fabric is the epitome of a place for women who lunch. The white stylish chairs, the single red roses at each table, the mirrored tiles, the chandeliers and the huge vase of flowers on the bar said it all. We were seated among other women who were enjoying afternoon tea. The cake stands of scones, fancies and sandwiches looked fantastic. At another table a woman sat surrounded by glasses and Prosecco in an ice bucket obviously waiting for friends so they could celebrate a birthday.

We were given menus and brought glasses of water with ice, which was great. We oohed and aahed over the offer of a starter and a main for £11.95. However, as it was a Sunday and they were serving brunch all day, Mini-me fancied the full breakfast with sourdough toast so I thought I’d get a starter we could share as it was only a couple of pound extra and therefore decided on – Arancini – red pepper, watercress and tomato salsa – followed by Tiger prawn squid ink linguine in a creamy tomato sauce. When the waitress appeared we ordered. She said, “Are you ordering the starter and main combo?” Yes I am. “Sorry, the pasta isn’t a main meal, it’s just these ones here. The menu is a bit confusing.” I couldn’t agree more. “Just the pasta then thanks.”

Tiger Prawn pasta

We waited quite a while and discussed afternoon teas and coming back for one, we read the drinks menu and chatted about what cocktail we would order if we were going to have one and we listened to other people’s conversations about being at Ladies Day. Eventually, our meals arrived and they looked great although Mini-Me’s toast looked like the Guinness Book of Records could give it an award for the whitest toast in the world. We both thought it was bread.

toast (yes really)

My pasta was lovely, roasting hot and very messy. I had to tuck my napkin into my top to save it from the tomato sauce (thankfully Mini-me let me) but I loved it. As well as temp hot it also had a bit of a kick to it and the sauce was beautifully creamy. I would have liked more prawns but I’m not sure how much is too much when it comes to good prawns.

breakfast

Mini-me was enjoying her breakfast – the bacon, sausages and eggs were great but the buttered toast was fast becoming a problem. She said the butter tasted cheap and was leaving a bad taste. The haggis was tasty until she got to the bottom of it and she started to wonder if it had been fried in the same butter. When I had finished my pasta I asked Mini-me if she was going to finish her toast as I fancied a bit to wipe up the last of my sauce. I even went as far to pick up a bit but it was rock solid. Her reply was, “If you’ve got a nice taste in your mouth I wouldn’t.” I didn’t.

We asked for the dessert menu but nothing jumped out so we just got the bill.

As we didn’t have any drinks (we just stuck with the water) it was a bargain £16.90 for a breakfast and a main meal (which wasn’t really a main meal it was pasta).

With hindsight we totally should have had an afternoon tea.

The Dory Bistro & Gallery, Pittenweem.

Looking for lunch not too faraway I opened up my laptop and did a search for nearby restaurants. A short browse led me to The Dory Bistro & Gallery in Pittenweem, a seafood restaurant in the East Neuk of Fife I had never visited before. I phoned up to book before we left as I wasn’t sure if it was a place you could just walk in. When we got there the room was full of empty tables but all with reserved signs on them so I was right to call.

Pittenweem is the most active harbour in the East Neuk and has a daily fish market a matter of metres from the bistro, which was obviously reflected in it’s menus. Along with the wine and lunch menu we were also given the specials menu, which the waitress read through. She was knowledgeable about where the fish was caught and had more detail about how the dishes came. Unlike last week’s menu in Room with a View there were a few meat dishes such as pheasant au vin and steak pie as well.

Initially, when we looked at the list of starters and mains we thought it would be an easy order but there was quite a bit of heeing and hawing around what starter would go with what main. I am a big fan of Cullen Skink but there was also a shellfish bouillabaisse as a main. Eventually we decided to share a starter of moules marinière with cream, shallots, white wine, parsley. We told the waitress we were sharing and she asked if we wanted them in 2 pots. Oh yes please.

The mussels were fantastic. Fat, big and juicy. There was no beards or barnacles and the creamy broth was fantastic – full of shallots and parsley and not salty. As well as the bread we were given at the start of the meal I used my spoon to try and get as much as possible – something I don’t always feel the need to do.

When OH was in Orkney he saw a family of locals ‘spooting’ – the art of catching razor clams, which spoot water up when you drizzle them with salt but didn’t get the chance to taste them even though they did offer him some still in their shells. Therefore, when he saw razor clams on the menu he decided he would have them. They were served with pancetta, cherry tomatoes, garlic, white wine and dill. It was an impressive dish when it arrived even if the clams did look like ridiculously large sperms (sorry mum but they did). I tried a bit of one and was glad I hadn’t ordered the dish. It was chewy and did not hold much taste. OH said he enjoyed the buttery sauce but felt the clams were a bit like squid. He struggled on. I could tell his heart wasn’t in it. This was not in any way a reflection on the chef but on the razor clam itself. OH said he was really glad he tried it but wished it had been a starter. I noticed he then turned into Mr Bean as he tried to hide his unfinished clams under the long thin shells.

I had decided on the pan-fried fillet of sea bass with smoked salmon risotto and pesto. This was a colourful dish with bright green pesto, saffron yellow rice and small green peas and at last I had found a crispy skin. I had been worried about the pesto being too strong but I needn’t have been. It was not like any other pesto I have had before (and disliked)…actually, now I am sitting writing I am wondering if maybe it was a wild garlic pesto? The tables all had wild garlic flowers in them but no leaves – could they have been in the kitchen in a pestle and mortar? Anyway, I loved my risotto. It wasn’t sticky, it had bags of flavour and the peas gave it another level. The fish with its crispy skin was spot on.

There were no desserts on the menu but there was a blackboard with a list of cakes. Almond and orange cake, Rhubarb drizzle, chocolate brownie, whisky and marmalade fruit loaf and scones. OH needed something to get rid of the memory of the razor clams so asked for the almond and orange cake. As the waitress warned it was not a sweet cake but tart and tangy. I’m guessing OH would have loved some custard or cream with it but enjoyed it nonetheless.

Service was great, the toilets spotless and the fish was excellent.

1 starter (£9.95), 2 mains, 1 cake, 2 bottles of craft lager and a coke £55.35

Incidentally, the Dory Bistro and Gallery is behind the white campervan in the top pic of Pittenweem.