Ship Tavern, Kinghorn, Fife

We had visitors from Papa Westray in Orkney this weekend, OH’s sister (OaSis) and her gentleman friend (Bfg – big friendly gentleman). Therefore, we spent a lovely Saturday entertaining them. We were also babysitting for Teeny Mini-me. Therefore, after a morning of shooting and golfing we needed something to eat. In case you are interested Teeny Mini-me preferred the golfing. 2015-09-26 13.00.44As Oasis and Bfg were heading off across the Forth next we decided to eat at the Ship Tavern, Kinghorn. OH and I have been before so we knew it wouldn’t disappoint. And it didn’t.

I phoned ahead just to make sure our spur of the moment decision to dine there would be okay and they were more than happy to feed 4 and a baby. When we arrived they already had a high chair waiting for us.

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Teeny Mini-me’s pasta

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My Seafood pasta

Without realising it we all ordered a fish dish – well Teeny Mini-me didn’t as I asked for a small plate of veggie pasta for her. OH had scampi, Bfg had smoked haddock and Oasis and I went for the seafood pasta. When the plates arrived we were overwhelmed with the size of the dishes. Teeny Mini-me’s plate would have been enough for me and it was half the size of mine (obviously the chef doesn’t have a toddler) . My seafood pasta was laden with chunks of fish and the creamy sauce coated the tagliatelle beautifully. I managed to finish mine but Oasis had to leave some of her pasta as she was just too full.

OH’s scampi was good although it doesn’t look as impressive as the rest of the dishes but then you can’t really do a lot to make scampi look fancy. OH says it was nice and crispy without any sign of grease. I noticed he sneaked a couple of chips to Teeny Mini-me who wolfed them down with big smiles. 2015-09-26 14.12.482015-09-26 14.13.32

Bfg’s smoked haddock looked amazing and, if I understood his Orcadian accent correctly, he said it was lovely. Certainly his plate was wiped clean. The smoked haddock sat atop some creamy mash and a poached egg sat like a king on top of the fish. OH and him discussed where the fish would have been caught as OH reckoned they would have past the boat on the way down but when they asked delightfully it turned out it had been caught locally by a boat from Burntisland. Teeny Mini-me’s pasta hardly looked touched but she did eat quite a bit and considering if she doesn’t like anything she shakes her head and says Noooooooo she obviously gave hers the thumbs up.

Neither Oasis and I could manage a pudding but 2015-09-26 14.50.24OH went for ice cream filled choux pastry with chocolate sauce and Bfg had the sticky toffee pudding.  They didn’t say much as the desserts slowly disappeared but there was definite smacking of lips at the end. 2015-09-26 14.50.30

The meal was fantastic and just what we all needed. When I asked for the bill I was told they didn’t charge for the wee one’s pasta, which was damn decent of them.

If you need some place to impress that doesn’t break the bank with very friendly staff and lovely food then the Ship Tavern in Kinghorn is definitely where you need to take them!

4 main meals, 2 desserts, 3 soft drinks and 2 pints of lager = £62.80

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Lady Gardening and Maxin Restaurant, Kirkcaldy, Fife.

Today started off a bit different from I expected. Remember Mini-me gave birth last week? Well, it turns out her lady garden got vandalised at the same time and she needed an emergency gardener to have a look at the damage straight away. So instead of a long lie and a slow leisurely start to my Sunday, I found myself in A+E minus my normal morning coffee and any kind of sustenance.

From A+E we were shuttled back to the same ward Mini-me spent 15 labour hours in just a week previous.

First the midwife had a shifty but decided she needed a doctor to give a 2nd opinion.

Then a Junior Doctor had a bit of a nose and she decided she needed the Registrar to have a look too.

When the Registrar eventually showed up he had a peek and felt that the Consultant shouldn’t be left out so he got to have a squint at Mini-me’s bits too.

So after everyone had had a good look at the garden the decision was to leave it alone and allow nature to take it’s course (of antibiotics).

We eventually managed to leave the hospital at 5pm. We’d been there since 10.30am and all we’d had was a plate of custard creams and some weak hospital tea. Therefore, Mini-me got a chippy on the way back and, with hindsight, I wish I had too but as OH was home alone and probably hadn’t ate all day either, I thought we could go out.

Long story short, we ended up at  Maxin’s Cantonese and Peking Restaurant in Kirkcaldy.

The restaurant was really quiet but then it was an odd time for us to eat. I’m pretty sure that there aren’t many people looking for Cantonese food at 6.15 on a Sunday.

Our first mistake was to both have starters – I went for the Chef’s Mini Rolls and OH went for Crispy Duck Rolls. There were loads of mini o2015-09-20 18.58.23nes and OH’s duck ones were h2015-09-20 18.58.30uge! Next time we are definitely sharing a starter.

I knew as I was putting the last bite of filo pastry into my mouth that I was going to struggle with my main, which was Singapore Chow Mein Spicy Hot (Stirred fried with curry oil, mixed peppers, fresh chilli, ham, chicken, char sui). It was just as spicy hot as the menu said it was and that was with me deliberately leaving the red chili slices at the side. It was a little dry but I enjoyed it and only left a couple of spoonfuls – that was my second mistake – I should have left a lot more.  2015-09-20 19.21.03

OH had struggled with the menu – mainly because he didn’t have his glasses with him but also because he never knows what to have if there’s no steak. He eventually asked the waiter for Crispy beef (with sweet & sour sauce dip). Now the waiter did try to dissuade him from this by offering a Cantonese style chicken sweet and sour but OH stood firm. This was his second mistake and he should have listened to the waiter as when his dish arrived it looked rubbish. Basically just deep fried beef and a dip.  2015-09-20 19.21.51 Three mouthfuls in and he was bored with it. He also left some because it was too greasy and uninteresting for him not because he was full. He then said, as he had a bad taste in his mouth, he needed a dessert. He opted for a Meringue and Strawberry Tower.  It was barely mentioned as it quickly disappeared. 

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My third mistake was to have 2 tins of diet coke with my food. By the end of my meal I had a stitch in my stomach and looked like a snake that had swallowed a pig. This is the problem when you haven’t ate or drank all day and then binge on fizzy juice and spicy food. I should have followed Mini-me’s lead and just had a fish supper.

Don’t get me wrong, the food was good, the service was lovely and the only thing wrong with the meal was OH and I’s choices.

2 starters, 2 mains, 1 side, 2 pints of lager and 2 tins of coke – £42.20.

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Hotel du Vin and Bistro, St Andrews, Fife.

Birthdays are like buses. Nothing for ages then 2 come along at once, which can be a right nuisance. However, this week saw a proper birth day. On Friday Mini-me gave birth to Teeny Mini-him, which made OH and I very proud grandparents. In between visits to the hospital and taking Mini-me and new baby home I managed to shoe-horn in a birthday lunch for OH on Saturday.

Normally OH and I will make a last minute decision about where we’re dining but this time I had pre-booked lunch via a deal on 5pm.co.uk. This is a website that has offers on restaurants and allows you to then book a table through them. At the time I’d thought Mini-me would have already given birth so had thought pre-booking and paying for the meal would have been fine. Of course she went 13 days over her date, which then meant we needed to squeeze in the lunch and weren’t able to sit back and relax after our meal. As I’m a Fifer I refused to cancel the booking and reasoned with OH that we had to eat at some point…

Anyhow, the voucher I had was for the Hotel du Vin and Bistro in St Andrews. A champagne lunch for £29 – 3 courses and a glass of champagne each. IMG_20150913_165841On arrival we were greeted warmly and given the best seat in the house overlooking the North Sea, which was dark and choppy. The white horses galloped along outside as we sat in the warmth watching on.

The waiter brought us menus and asked if we’d like our champagne to begin with. Of course we did. The menu offered 3 choices for each course. The waiter had said the soup of the day was tomato and something but I couldn’t remember what the something was but as it was a miserable cold and wet day I decided the soup would be a good choice. The other starters were Bayonne ham and celeriac remoulade and Smoked salmon and horesradish crème fraîche, which is what OH went for. I think OH was a tad disappointed when it arrived as he had thought it would have been a bit fancier. 2015-09-12 13.14.26Saying that, although it looked boring he enjoyed it. I sneaked a bit and thought it was good. The salmon was thinly cut so wasn’t too fleshy and the horseradish had a perfect heat to it. 2015-09-12 13.14.49My soup however, didn’t taste like tomato and anything. It was peppery, had a thin but bitty texture to it and tasted more like a liquidized vegetable soup. When the waiter arrived to take our plates (a different guy from the one who gave us the menus) I asked what the soup was. It turned out it was sweet potato and red pepper, which made far more sense.

For mains there were was a choice between rump steak frites with peppercorn sauce, poached salmon with heritage potatoes and hollandaise sauce and wild mushroom and barley risotto. No prizes for guessing OH went for the steak and chips2015-09-12 13.51.10The steak hung off the end of the plate and looked far more impressive than his starter. OH commented that it was a better steak than at Montmarte (last week’s meal) as it wasn’t as chewy. He raved about the tomato and was glad the sauce was in a pot so he could get the char-grill taste of the steak and dip his chips in the sauce.2015-09-12 13.51.16

I decided on the salmon and my only complaint was the potatoes. Heritage potatoes are known for their different colour and textures – purple, mauve and scarlet are just some of the colours that the various varieties come in. The ones that arrived looked like stones and when I cut into them they looked like a charlotte potato well past it’s best. They tasted dry and psychologically were just very unappealing. I did give them a good go but ended up giving up as they just weren’t doing it for me.  Everything else on the plate was great though.

The dessert menu arrived and again there was 3 choices. Bread and butter pudding with rum and raisin ice cream, 2015-09-12 14.26.23Rhubarb fool with ginger biscuits and Artisan cheese selection (£2.50 supplement). OH went for the bread and butter pudding and loved it. When it arrived I could see the steam coming off it and the ice cream slowly melting against it. OH said it was spot on – the rum in the ice cream wasn’t too over powering and the bread and butter pudding was better than his mum used to make. I decided on the Rhubarb fool and it’s only now2015-09-12 14.26.33 I realise I didn’t get any ginger biscuits! Whilst I was eating it I said to OH it could do with something crunchy sprinkled over it to give it a bit of contrast. Now I’m looking back at the menu I know why it was a bit lacking. The fool itself was great – thick and creamy and the rhubarb chunks still had a bit of bite and weren’t too tart.

It was a lovely meal and it would have been great to have ordered a bottle of wine with it and chill for the rest of the afternoon but we had to dash off and chauffeur little Teeny Mini-him home, which was obviously far better than any bottle of wine 😉  2015-09-13 14.54.08 copy

Two 3 course meals with a glass of champagne each, 2 pints of Bitter and Twisted = £40.22 with a voucher (should have been £70.22)

Café Montmartre, Cupar, Fife

As usual OH and I were wondering where we could for go Saturday lunch. A friend had recently recommended a couple of restaurants in Fife so we thought we’d try one of them out.  After a quick look online I knew the one we had decided on wasn’t a large place so I phoned up and booked a table at Cafe Montmartre in Cupar for 1pm.

When we arrived there was only one other table that was occupied so I did wonder if I had needed to book. An elderly French gentleman welcomed us in and showed us to a corner table. It was easily the best table in the room, with a great view of the restaurant. The walls were covered in black and white photographs of famous French people and the music was a lovely mix of Mediterranean cafe songs. As I looked around I recognised an old work colleague siting at the other table – a good sign that it was indeed a good recommendation – after all, 2 friends of mine can’t be wrong ;p.

We were given menus and our drinks order was taken. There was a table d’hote menu – 2 courses for £15.95, 3 for £17.95 and a light lunch menu. The soup of the day was vegetable and the salad of the day was hot salmon and prawn.

I adored the  menu and struggled to chose what to have as I liked the majority of the dishes.

One of the starters was Moules Marinières au vin blanc – rope grown Shetland mussels, cooked with white wine, leeks and carrots.  If you are a regular reader you will know I had a bad experience with mussels the last time I was out. Since then I have learned you should only eat mussels when there is an R in the month i.e. mussels aren’t a good choice in the summer! Who knew?

2015-09-05 13.13.26 As it is now September I thought I’d get back in the saddle and give them a try. I was glad I did. They were delicious,  plump and juicy just as they should be. The liquor wasn’t too salty as is often the case and I loved dunking my bread in it. OH decided2015-09-05 13.12.50 on the Terrine de Canard – Duck and fig terrine, pistachio nuts wrapped in Parma Ham. OH said he really enjoyed it. I tasted his fig chutney and it was beautifully rich and tangy.

For my main meal I eventually settled on Jarret de Porc aux Pruneaux – Slow cooked pork shank with marinated prunes in cream sauce. I don’t often chose pork when I am out but the sound of this dish called out to me and it was just as delicious as it sounded. The meat fell from the bone in large tasty chunks. The rich creamy sauce and prunes complimented the pork perfectly and I would definitely opt for this dish again. 2015-09-05 13.37.45OH, true to form, had the Pavé de Boeuf Grillée aux Echalotes – char-grilled pave beef steak served with fine green beans, shallots and pomme frites with garlic butter. OH said his steak was nice and juicy but was a bit chewy compared to other steaks he has had recently. He added that the garlic butter over the green beans and shallots went well with the steak.

Normally I decline the dessert menu when offered but I have recently realised that when I have had 2 great courses I get greedy so I just had to have a pudding. 2015-09-05 14.21.37There was a choice of tarts – pear and almond, tarte tatin and cherry, there was also ice creams, and cheese but I went for the Coupe de fraises & pistache créme anglaise – strawberries topped with pistachio créme anglaise coulis.2015-09-05 14.23.35 It was perfect and I was glad I decided on having a dessert. Surprisingly OH just had an espresso and then insisted I take a pic of his giant hand with it.

When we first arrived in the restaurant I questioned the need to book a table but as we dined the place filled up around us, which created a lovely atmosphere. The service was great, the food was fantastic and what we found in Montmartre was a petite piece of France in Fife. Whether you like French food or not I’d recommend you make your way to Cupar soon and try for yourself the amazing Café Montmartre.

One 3 course meal, one 2 course meal, a coffee, 2 bottles of beer and a diet coke – £47.25