The View, Newport on Tay

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The view from The View

The last time OH and I headed to Dundee I noticed a sign for The View in Newport on Tay and immediately put it on my list of restaurants to visit when I’m on-call and have to stay in Fife. Today it made it’s way to the top of said list. The aptly named restaurant is across from Dundee and has stunning views over the River Tay and the rail bridge.

We hadn’t booked but were given a window seat without any trouble. The menu was £10.95 for a main meal, £14.95 for 2 courses and £19.95 for 3. Soup of the day was spiced pumpkin with coconut.

2014-10-12 14.14.44After the mix-up with the soup last week I decided to give it a miss and go for the chicken liver, garlic and brandy pate with apple and plum chutney. OH went for the smoked mackerel mousse, prawns, dill cream, sun blushed tomatoes. What I liked most about the starters was that the waitress said if we needed any more toast or bread to just ask, which was a great offer that we didn’t need to take up. However, I maybe could have done with just a little more chutney. (if you look close you can see it hiding under the grass ;p) 2014-10-12 14.14.54

OH loved his mackerel mousse, which was nice and creamy and the prawns on top were a lovely addition.

For my main meal I chose Breast of chicken, chick peas, potatoes, spinach, curry sauce, vegetable pakora. You know how all those wannabes on Masterchef go on about deconstructed meals? Well this was a bit like one of them as the chicken sat on top of the curry sauce. The chick peas, potato and spinach was something I had never had before and really enjoyed so I know I will be trying to replicate it at home at some point. 2014-10-12 14.31.23

2014-10-12 14.31.33For his main meal OH went for Fresh breaded Peterhead plaice, hand cut chips, pea and fennel salad, lemon mayonnaise. Why the fish was from Peterhead and not some place more local I’m not sure. However, OH said it was a good meaty fish in a nice crispy batter and not muddy tasting as some flat fish can be.

OH, who has more of a sweet tooth than me, finished off his meal with Banana and Amaretti biscuit Sundae with hot Belgian dark chocolate sauce and a coffee. Sorry no photo but if you visualise a tall glass full of different shades of brown and yellow with one of those wafer rolls stuck in it, you’ll get the picture 😉

Just as we were finishing our meal 2 older women came in for a high tea which looked wonderful although I thought a little expensive at £12.50 per person. I overhead the waitress saying to them both if they needed a top up for the pot of tea just to ask.  On the same theme but completely different, when I went to the loo there were ladies things in a basket, which you could help yourself to. Again, like the extra toast and bread earlier, it’s these little extra touches that make a big difference.

If you’re in the area The View is worth a visit. 1 x 2 courses, 1 x 3 courses, 2 soft drinks and a coffee came to £41.70.

By the way, if you are visiting The View I’d recommend taking a drive towards Newburgh afterwards for some more gorgeous scenery. 2014-10-12 15.39.23

Venachar Lochside, Callander

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OH and I have been to the lovely restaurant on the banks of Loch Venachar before so on Sunday, when we decided to take a road trip around The Trossachs, we knew we wanted to revisit Venachar Lochside for some good food and amazing loch views.

Although it looked busy, we were seated without problem and the smiley young waitress quickly gave us 2 menus – the regular and the specials one. It also wasn’t long before our drinks order was taken. One large red wine and a coke. Yes – I wasn’t oncall or driving!

Unfortunately the loch looked a bit lacking and where there used to be water lapping at the shores now there was just shores. OH asked the smiley waitress if there was a hole in the loch and laughingly she replied that the fish were thirsty this year. The reality was that there is a damn at the bottom of the loch, which keeps the river flowing at the cost of the depth of loch.

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Last year November

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This year October

The specials menu listed the soup of the day as butternut squash with chilli and Parmesan, which sounded so heartwarming we both ordered it. Then OH decided on the pan roasted Scottish salmon fillet, walnut pesto, sun blushed tomato, fennel slaw, pea shoots, Arran mustard and honey dressing, and I went for the whole baked Venachar trout, sauteed new potatoes, dressed salad leaves, their tartar sauce and lemon wedge.

As we sat I noticed a sharing board going back behind the counter. The sharing boards look really impressive. Large quantities of cheese, meats or smoked fish are on offer. I’m not sure why the board was going back – maybe it was fish and should have been cheese – anyway, it was quickly swapped without fuss.

At out last visit we shared the Lochside board and it had everything from ham, cheese and oatcakes to pate, bread and onion marmalade – it did not disappoint.

When our drinks arrived I pointed out to the young waiter that my glass had a chip in it. He looked mortified and thanked me for spotting it. The glass was quickly swapped without fuss.

It wasn’t long before 2 plates of steaming creamy coloured soup arrived with large chunks of fresh granary bread. OH and I looked at one another with the same thought. Isn’t butternut squash soup orange? OH pointed out that we just ordered soup and maybe there was potato and leek soup on the regular menu. We tucked in regardless. A couple of minutes later the smiley waitress appeared and asked if we had spotted anything wrong with the soup. We admitted we had and she apologised and explained they had ran out of the butternut squash soup and had forgotten to tell us. No swap, no fuss. The soup was good and there was loads of it. Probably too much. The bread was amazing and I really didn’t want to finish it but I did. Stupid woman!

When the mains arrived I wasn’t sure if the plate was big enough for my whole trout – thankfully there was no head or it would have had to rest on my lap.  Unfortunately I completely forgot to take photos – blame the wine. The trout was cooked perfectly and I managed to pluck the whole backbone from it. My side plate then looked like a cartoon cat had pulled the bones from it’s mouth.

As we ate a guy who had been sitting outside with his family came in and asked where their scones were as they were nearly finished their drinks. The scones were quickly arranged and taken out without fuss.

OH’s salmon was excellent – really moist and the skin was nice and crispy. He managed to finish everything however I struggled with mine and for no other reason than I was too greedy with the soup and bread. I decided to take a break and rested my knife and fork on the plate (not together) but a new waitress suddenly appeared and lifted my plate. I was too stuffed to argue or make a fuss.

No-one appeared to see if we wanted one of the fabulous looking desserts, probably because it was a new waitress that had cleared our table and not the nice smiley one so OH flagged down the waiter and asked for a black coffee.

The nice smiley waitress brought the coffee over and said, “One cappuccino.” My face was a picture until I realised she was joking and it was a black coffee she had brought. Nice one.

The table next to ours were having the fish and chips and I couldn’t help but overhear the waiter asking if they could get them anything. The reply, “some cutlery would be good.” The cutlery quickly appeared without fuss.

We really enjoyed our meal but OH was spot on when he pointed out, “The chef is out back knocking his pan in to make fantastic food but he is being let down by the young ones.”

This restaurant is well worth a visit – the food and views are amazing and hopefully when you do visit the young ones will have got their act together.

2 soups, 2 mains, 1 large wine, 1 coke, 1 coffee = £37.05

Angels with Bagpipes, Edinburgh

After working like a wee Trojan for a number of weeks I had managed to accumulate quite a bit of TOIL (time off in lieu).  At the same time a friend also had time off work so we decided to ditch both of our OHs and spend the day in Edinburgh. roof

We alighted the train at Waverley Station and headed up towards the Royal Mile. It was a beautiful morning so I dragged AA to the Scottish Museum and whisked him up to the roof terrace. If you’ve never been you are missing one of the best 360° views of Edinburgh there is. The castle looked amazing with a blue sky backdrop and opposite it Arthur’s Seat beseeched us to climb it. However, we ignored it because neither of us think hill climbing is fun and it didn’t look like they had built a pub up there yet.

After wandering down through the museum we headed back towards the Royal Mile and into Angels with Bagpipes.  We hadn’t booked but they were more than happy to find us a table.

AA started with Heirloom tomato mozzarella salad, balsamic (yes the menu did just stop there) which looked really pretty even although the waitress apologised because the previous well balanced fancy woven grass on top of the salad had fallen off. Yes I know it wasn’t grass but it did look like it.  I had Smoked mackerel pate, beetroot, gooseberry, dill with melba toast. It came in a pickling jar and tasted fantastic.

AA then had Beef 12 hour braised, white onion risotto (and I think pickled red and green peppers but I’m guessing – sorry) . He let me taste his risotto and it was so good I contacted the restaurant today to get the recipe so I can try and recreate it at home. (they replied within the hour with it!) 2014-10-02 14.34.13 I have to admit the pic does not do this dish justice.

I had pork belly which I think came with creamed potato and kale but I can’t be sure (blame the white rioja!) but what I can tell it was amazing and I ate the lot! I rarely cook pork belly at home because the fat scares me a little but this was divine and completely melted in the mouth. 2014-10-02 14.34.32

Instead of dessert we finished with Irish Coffee, which was a perfect way to finish off a fantastic meal. I can heartily recommend Angels with Bagpipes for a treat.

2 x 2 courses at £14.95, plus a bottle of white rioja and 2 Irish Coffees came to £69.702014-10-02 15.18.29