The Puffin, North Berwick

OH and I decided to go for a long drive today and ended up in North Berwick. As we wandered between shops we passed The Puffin, a wine bar and bistro. It looked lovely inside but empty. The menu on show in the window looked good and was a bargain – 2 courses for £10.  However, we decided to keep walking as it was still relatively early for lunch and carried on with our, scrap that, my shopping spree (OH just hovers around shop fronts). Not long after I could tell he was getting ‘hangry’ so I suggested we went back to The Puffin. OH was reluctant as it was empty and therefore not a good advert. “Well they need us to go and sit in the window then don’t they” I replied.

We crossed the road and headed back. It was still empty. Regardless, we went in and were surprised to be taken through to the back of the building (I was sure they would have sat us in the window!). The bar has 3 sections – I’m guessing the front is the wine bar whereas the rest of the area is for dining. I didn’t ask but the waiter said that the 2 course menu was usually only on during the week but we could have it if we wanted it. There was also another menu with litebites on it.  He added that the soup was white cabbage and paprika (or he might have said pepper).

As we browsed the menu we ordered drinks.  OH had a pint of ale and I had a large glass of white wine. I really liked the sound of the soup and it was definitely the weather for a hot bowl of something. However, there was prawn cocktail on the menu, which lead to a discussion on how it was making a comeback. As I have always avoided the taste of the 70s due to too many tales about frozen tails and soggy lettuce I decided to give it a go and OH plumped for the soup.

There was fish and chips on the menu and I noticed that it said it was half a fillet. Considering I was having a starter I thought this would be more than enough. (I also noticed that on the other menu fish and chips was £11 so I knew there was no way that we would be getting the same plateful on the 2 for £10 deal). The menu only had a few options so OH was allowed to break our rule and also order the fish and chips.

Our starters arrived (via a waitress) and OH’s soup looked too red for it to be white cabbage and anything and just had to be tomato. He tried it – definitely tomato. The waiter then passed and said “Oh, they must have changed the soup on me.” I’m glad I didn’t order the soup as tomato is possibly my least favourite and I would have been very disappointed. OH enjoyed it though but did say that they had heated his roll up in the microwave. It arrived red hot and went brick hard as it cooled. IMAG9087My prawn cocktail did not disappoint. The prawns were on the large side, the lettuce wasn’t soggy and the Marie Rose sauce was not over powering. I didn’t need the bread that came with it but it didn’t go to waste as OH used it to mop up his soup.

IMAG9088When our mains arrived I could see OH looking despondent. He hadn’t noticed it had said half a fillet and the tiddler in front of him was not what he had been hoping for.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic. You’ll just imagine a small battered fish, long hand cut chips with their skins on, some garden peas (not mushy) mashed together and quenelled on to the plate and a small dish of tartare sauce. The fish and chips came pre-salted with little crystals of rock salt all over it. I have to admit, I would rather have seasoned it myself as I’m trying to reduce my salt intake. The chips looked great but could have been crispier as they were a bit on the heavy side. The peas and tartare sauce had a crust on them so I think they had been under heated lights for a tad too long. The fish was tasty and the batter was lovely and crunchy. I reckon it was just the right size for me. Obviously OH would have liked a bigger portion but for the price of the menu I think it was ideal.

For another £3 you could have a dessert (or a small cheese board) but we decided against it and asked for the bill.

As we waited for it I nipped to the loo and thought they were so good they deserved a photo of their own.  Very clean and beautifully decorated. IMAG9090Service was great, the decor of the building fabulous, value for money was great but for me the fish dish could have been better as it felt like it had been cooked earlier and then left under heat lamps.

2 starters, 2 mains, a large white wine and a pint of ale – a bargain at £28.20