I got home earlier than normal for a Friday and found OH sitting starving. He’d had a day off work and had been so busy enjoying himself he was obviously now too exhausted to lug himself to the fridge and make himself something to eat. Instead of waiting for me to cook something he suggested visiting Restaurant 85 in Leslie. The last time we had been there we were waiting for a table when the waitress informed us that the chef had suddenly taken ill and therefore they were unable to feed us. What had happened to the chef goodness only knows. This was roughly a year ago and it had been on the list ever since (obviously not top of the list but still on it).
When we arrived the place was empty so it wasn’t difficult to get a seat – remember it was early.
The menu was varied and interesting and there was a board that told you what the soup, pate, pie and burger of the day were. What I liked was that I struggled to decide what to have because there were a number of options that appealed.
Although OH opted to have a starter of Venison pate with oatcakes and marmalade, I’d had a large lunch so eventually settled on the 85 Signature’s dish of Scottish Mussels cooked to perfection with roasted garlic, smoked lardons in apple cider served with twice cooked skinny fries.
When OH’s starter arrived it was very well presented and looked fantastic. There was a quenelle of pate, 4 mini oatcakes and a ramekin of ‘marmalade’ all sat upon a balsamic squiggle. The marmalade was pickled peppers, cashew nuts and gherkins (I think). I sneaked a taste of the pate and it was strong tasting and had a coarse texture but OH said he liked it. I was glad I hadn’t chosen it as I’m not good with overly rich tasting food and to me this was definitely rich tasting.
When our mains arrived I was glad to see that the Game Pie that OH had ordered was actually a pie and not a dish with a pastry lid. He really enjoyed his meal and loved the root vegetables (parsnips and orange and purple carrots) and creamy mash with spring onions running through them.
Unfortunately, although my plate of mussels looked great, I struggled to open a lot of them (they were already open but wouldn’t open any further) and some of the ones I could open seemed to be split and spread inside their shells. I tasted one and thought I’d be crazy to chance another. If you’re a lover of mussels you just know when to give up and give up I did.
Coincidentally, the chef had just left the kitchen when I looked for someone to call over. He assured me the mussels were fresh that day but didn’t hesitate to take them away and offer me an alternative dish. As I write this I’m still in 2 minds whether a chef should know when mussels aren’t right before he serves them or is it a dish you’d have to test everyone… Also – signature dish???
Anyway, I then opted for the burger of the day, Venison with brie and caramelised red onion.
As there was a bit of a wait before my burger arrived I managed to eat the majority of my skinny fries, which were amazing. However, this severely decreased my appetite and I then only managed to eat the burger that arrived and had to leave the roll and salad. This meant I couldn’t really appreciate my meal as a whole.
We passed on desserts without even looking at the menu and asked for the bill. When it arrived there was nothing taken off it. A free round of drinks or no charge for my burger would have been appreciated but apparently that wasn’t to be.
I’m disappointed that I couldn’t give Restaurant 85 a more positive review because on the surface it should have been great but as the chef’s signature dish is inedible I’m struggling to recommend it.
A starter, 2 mains, 2 glasses of wine and a blackcurrant and soda = £39.65