The Inn on Loch Lomond

Another Saturday, another lunch out. But where to go? Well yesterday we decided to go for a drive around Loch Lomond and stop at The Inn on Loch Lomond for something to eat. It’s not a hard place to find, if you’re heading North it’s on the left hand side and it is on Loch Lomond. Well, not right on, it is the other side of a fast road but you can still see the Loch. Parking was good and we just walked in and asked for a table for two. First off we were asked if we had a voucher. Eh no. (Damn! I hate it when I miss a trick) and then we were told to sit anywhere. On looking we could see every table was set for 4 and there was an empty one next to the window but it had yet to be cleared so we sat further up. Soon after we were asked for our drinks order and then when they arrived our food order was taken. No messing around. Very smooth service. I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the menu. There were burgers, sandwiches and soup, stuff from the chippy (you can get take-away too), curry of the day, steaks, a couple of veg options but nothing that stood out at all. I ended up having Cauliflower and Leek Macaroni Cheese with crisp leaves and chippy chips. OH decided to have the curry of the day, which was Chicken Balti served with scented rice, poppadum, spiced onions, mango chutney and spinach and plantain bhaji.

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We decided, as we waited, that it was a bit chilly where we were sitting (in front of an unlit fire) so we asked to move, which wasn’t a problem at all and soon we were sitting at the window with a cleared and a re-set table.

It wasn’t long  after our food arrived. OH’s looked impressive. However, it wasn’t until he mentioned it, I realised there was no plate to decant the rice and balti in together. He struggled on complaining that using a knife and fork in a bowl doesn’t work. With hindsight we should have asked for a plate as it did hamper his enjoyment of the meal. His only other moan was he missed having a dip for the bhaji.

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The good news is he liked that he could taste the chargrilling of the chicken and there were fresh herbs on top (even though he had to dump the rice on top of them).

IMAG9177My macaroni was delicious. I had asked for the optional bacon to be added and there was large lumps of gammon in it. I had thought the cauliflower would also be through it but instead there was a large floret on top. The crispy leaves had been fried and scattered over the dish. The chips were indeed chippy chips – I could taste the difference but unfortunately they got cold quick so I left the majority of them to concentrate on the very hot pasta dish, which I knew was gloriously unhealthy for me as it was laden with cream and cheese. It was a little salty probably due to the bacon bits but I really wanted to finish it but couldn’t because it was such a large helping.

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After our meal I nipped to the loo. They were tastefully decorated and nice and clean but there was no shelf for my handbag whilst I washed my hands so annoyingly I had to put it on the toilet floor.

2 mains, a half pint of lager and a medium glass of white wine = £32.50

Incidentally, I checked the voucher thing out. Itson are doing a voucher for a 2 course lunch for £19 instead of £42, which also means you get a different menu.

Old Chain Pier, Newhaven, Edinburgh

Today OH and I decided to try the Old Chain Pier for a spot of lunch. The Old Chain Pier is possibly a pub you have driven past on numerous occasions but have never stopped at. It’s on the waterfront just along Lower Granton Road.

We didn’t have a reservation but the harrassed looking waitress managed to find us a table with a view of the water. The place was busy and I noticed it was child and dog friendly. Childen were allowed in the conservatory and the mezzanine level but it looks like dogs werre allowed anywhere.

Since the waitresses were run off their feet, I went and helped myself to menus. There was the usual type of pub grub but with a bit of a lean towards fish dishes. Fish and chips, Cullen Skink, fishcakes, mussels, crayfish and cod all got a mention. There was burgers, sharing platters, chili, stew and sausages but nothing really jumped out at me so I was thinking about having fish and chips again. There was two sizes to chose from – small at £8.95 or large at £11.95. Incidentally the fishcakes came in different size too – small was 1, medium 2 and 3 for the large helping.

As we made up our minds we ordered drinks. I had a mixed fruit cider and OH asked for a soda water and lime. When they arrived OH plumped for the Mexican 6oz Burger – chili beef, jalapenos, cheese, sour cream and guacomole at £10.95 . The waitress asked if he wanted chips with it – of co

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urse he did.

As you can see the burger looks great. However, OH found it to be a logistical nightmare. He couldn’t lift it whole and when he cut it in half the chili leaked out so it became messy. As you know, OH hates not getting a plate so the board annoyed him too. Saying all that, he really enjoyed it, even though he used his knife and fork throughout. He liked the mix of flavours and said it was a good, thick, meaty burger and chili wasn’t too hot, just spicy. The chip bucket seemed endless and he even left some as there were that many.

The description of my dish was (small) Beer Battered Angel Cut Welch’s Haddock with Mushy Peas, Tartare Sauce and Hand Cut Chips.

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I have to say the fish was fantastic (so much better than last weeks). The batter was crisp and lush, the fish was right out the fryer and was fresh, light, tasty and fell into large lovely flakes. The chips were good and the tartare sauce was okay but nothing special. Disappointingly, (again) the mushy peas weren’t mushy peas but mashed up garden peas. What’s happening? Is this a new trend? If it is I don’t like it – I want proper marrowfat mushy peas with my fish please!

Neither of us fancied a dessert so we just asked for the bill, which never appeared so I went up to the bar to pay the bill. This was when I realised that the chips were an extra £3.50. This annoyed me, not because of the cost but because I felt conned. Come on, burgers should come with chips. Obviously, I have since checked the menu and the burger descriptions don’t mention chips and it does say to add a side but still……

If you have driven past The Old Chain Pier before and never ventured in I’d recommend stopping for a change.

2 mains, a side of chips, a bottle of flavoured cider and a soda water and lime – £29.15