OH and I haven’t had a planned lunch out for a while so with an empty weekend on the horizon we decided to plan a trip to Stonehaven so we could visit The Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant and pop in to see our niece and her new fiancé who live in the area.
We set off up the A90 and then prior to heading into the coastal village we stopped off at Dunottar Castle for a wee daunder around the picturesque, cliff top fortress to work up an appetite.
It was just a short drive from there down to Stonehaven and to the harbour the restaurant looks over. Up some stone stairs the restaurant sits on top of the Tolbooth Museum and is the oldest building in Stonehaven dating back to the 16th century.
Soon we were sitting down with menus in hand. There was a blackboard of daily specials, a set lunch menu (3 courses for £20) and a short à la carte menu.
Fresh langoustines, mussels and oysters were also all on offer However. the set menu was perfect for me as I easily chose the Cullen Skink followed by the sea bream. OH also went for the set menu choosing mackerel and then Thai prawn curry.
The Cullen Skink was served with chopped chives, croutons and herb oil and came in a beautiful bowl that I would have loved to take home with me. The yellow smoked haddock was dominant within it as it should be but for me there was a lack of lumps of potato in it and the consistency was verging on splitting. Nevertheless it was a tasty starter.
OH’s hot smoked local mackerel fillets, baby green salad, pickled red onions and orange dressing didn’t last long. He had been intrigued by the orange dressing and was perhaps a little disappointed that it was spotted around the dish rather than over the fish and salad but this was a very minor thing.
My grilled fillet of sea bream with crushed ratte potato, chargrilled courgette and spicy tomato sauce was beautiful. The skin was crispy and the fish fell away from it in nice tasty chunks. I’m a big fan of courgettes and these were perfect. I also loved the potatoes having never knowingly tasted ratte ones before.
Surprisingly, OH had went for the Thai prawn curry, crunchy greens, black onion seed & coriander rice as his main. He isn’t a big fan of prawns so my eyebrows raised at his choice. However, I then realised that the other option left on the set menu was rib eye steak and he’d had one a couple of nights earlier so didn’t fancy another so soon. Plus when we go out we try (we don’t always succeed) to get different dishes. Therefore, he had decided to leave his comfort zone on this occasion. I asked him how it was and he said just like mine when I cook Thai so maybe he wasn’t too far out his zone. His plate was wiped clean before mine so I’m guessing he enjoyed it – the prawns certainly looked like big, meaty ones.
For desserts we had also chosen different dishes. He had dark chocolate mousse, honeycomb and salted peanut brittle. He loved his and liked the crunch of the brittle alongside the thick, rich mousse. I had went for local Castleton Strawberries, vanilla meringue, chantilly cream and strawberry coulis. This hit the spot and wasn’t too heavy or too much after the previous 2 courses – just a great ending to a great meal.
For me the set menu was really well thought out offering something for everyone. However, the waiter did say you could mix between the set and the à la carte and they would change the price accordingly, which is a good thing.
2 large glasses of Sauvignon Blanc, a Gran Marnier, a soda water and lime and 2 x 3 course set menu came to £58.85.