Spiral Weave, Kirkcaldy

OH and I enjoy visiting an array of different kinds of restaurants and pubs for lunch and overall my blogs tend to be pretty positive. However, that all changed today when  we visited the Spiral Weave in Kirkcaldy, which is a carvery from the Marston’s chain. 6 hours later and I still have indigestion and the taste of grease on my lips.

Mini-me joined us today so we thought we’d keep it simple and go somewhere local. Big mistake. Big. Huge!

The menu, which is A3 and colourful, is carbohydrate heavy and uses the words batter, yorkshire pud and potatoes, in all their forms, far too often.

If you fancy the carvery you choose what size of plate you want to overfill and, as it’s a Sunday, you can add an extra £1.80 to the cost of a medium plate because God wants you to pay more to eat on the Sabbath. (no he doesn’t, God would rather you were in church, it’s Marston’s taking an unholy advantage)

IMAG9521After much deliberation I ordered the Bubble, Banger and Pud. Homemade bubble and squeak, topped with three Cumberland sausages, crispy onions and gravy served in a giant homemade Yorkshire pudding.  When it arrived I was immediately disappointed to not glimpse any cabbage or even a bit of sprout amongst the mashed potato. Instead there were peas scattered in the pud and it looked like the mashed potato had been dumped on top of them instead of mixed in.  I’m guessing using the word ‘homemade’ gives them carte blanche to completely change a traditional recipe. If the potatoes had seen a frying pan I would be surprised as I believe the dry edge they had came from heat lamps, which had also made the yorkshire pudding inedible. The sides were dry, empty and crispy and the bottom too soggy to cut. The gravy dropped out the jug in lumps – another item ruined by being kept warm. To end on a positive, the sausages were good.

Mini-me decided to have three sides instead of a main meal and plumped for IMAG9520Mac & Cheese, Battered pigs in blankets and chilli, cheesy fries. When the dishes arrived I was overwhelmed by their beigeness. Although the thought of the sides was appealing the sight was the exact opposite. The cheese (again probably due to being kept warm for long periods of time) had gone bendy instead of stringy. The cheese to chip ratio was high and Mini-Me could have made a cheese house for the little pigs after the fries were all gone. She even gave me one of her pigs in blankets, which is unheard of as normally we argue over the last one at Christmas. The battering did not help them as what I ate was greasy, over cooked and disappointment in a beige wrap.

IMAG9518OH ordered the Ends of the World burger, which was a steak burger topped with flavoursome beef brisket ends and BBQ sauce. It arrived in a bread roll rather than a seeded bun, which could have earned it bonus points if it hadn’t immediately collapsed, meaning OH had to eat his burger with a knife and fork. The brisket ends were dry although the bbq sauce tried it’s best to zing them up a bit.  The onion rings were mediocre (OH’s word not mine) however, the burger itself was thick and tasty and OH did manage to clear his plate.

Mini-me fancied ordering a pudding but I talked her out of it as I could just imagine more frozen food left under a heat lamp.

Trying to be positive, what the menu does offer is food for a hangover. Comfort food, high on carbs and grease, you can’t be bothered cooking yourself.  Mind you, I don’t think the chef cooked anything either. By the looks of the plates we ordered, everything is bought in frozen, cooked in the morning, placed on a plate and kept hot until someone places an order at the bar.

Incidentally, as the meal was so bad, I noticed for the first time in a long time, no one ventured near our table to ask us if the food was okay. Even when the waiter cleared the table at the end he asked if he could take the plates, not ‘how was everything for you?’. Saying that, he could probably tell by the amounts left on the plates – not that he showed any surprise.

2 mains, 3 sides, 2 pints, 1 J20, 1 dose of indigestion =£35.05

Forage and Chatter, Edinburgh

I recently changed jobs and as a leaving present I was given a voucher for Forage and Chatter in the west end of Edinburgh. Therefore OH and I headed there yesterday to enjoy a spot of lunch on the hottest day of the year so far. Incidentally, when I phoned to book a table the restaurant was fully booked but they thought someone was going to cancel their booking so they took my number and phoned me back within 10 minutes to offer me a table at 1.45pm, which I thought was great and endeared me to the restaurant immediately.

We found the Forage and Chatter hidden down some stone steps at the end of Alva Street. Inside we were led to our table, which was basically out the back door of the restaurant in a covered over back yard. We were then given 4 menus – drinks, wine, table d’hôte and à la carte. The set menu was 2 courses for £14.95 and 3 for £17.95. Obviously, I opened the wine one first.

Not long after the wine arrived we were given two deep-fried dough balls along with some pesto and spiced butter.  Looking at the menus, I really wanted to order the Langoustine Bisque, mussels, leeks and fennel for starters but the restaurant was really hot as was I so the thought of soup became a no no. Instead I ordered Chicken liver parfait, prune, hazelnut and mushroom.

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The liver parfait was gamey tasting but not over powering.  The hazelnut was crushed over the top to give it a bit of a crunch but I felt it could do with another texture as overall everything was just too smooth.

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OH ordered Roasted Cauliflower, dates, capers and wild herbs.

He loved the date sauce and the chargrill flavour of the cauliflower.

For his main OH ordered Red Deer Loin, turnip, purple sprouting broccoli and mustard seed with a side of buttered new potatoes. IMAG9483OH really enjoyed his deer loin and felt the portion size was perfect, pointing out that as it was a strong meat he wouldn’t want to eat too much of it but it was enough to satisfy.

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I had North Sea cod, leeks, potatoes parsley and capers. I thought it was a bit on the salty side but I don’t know if I’m just noticing salt more nowadays due to trying to avoid it (yes i know I mention my low salt diet every blog – deal with it). The cod was lovely, big chunky flakes with a fabulous crisp edge.

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As is our norm nowadays, I stuck with the wine and OH had a dessert. Carrot cake, orange, pistachio, white chocolate, which visually looked more savoury than sweet but was well-balanced and a good end to the meal (the waitress brought me a spoon too). Although I didn’t try it all I can testify that the cake was light and spongy.

The restaurant has a quirky dining space with menus that make the most of local Scottish ingredients and I’m really glad my ex-colleagues made it possible for me to enjoy this hidden gem.

1 starter £8.50, 1 main £21.00, 1 side £3.50, 1 set lunch £17.95, 2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc £45 = £95.95. (Yes 2 bottles of wine. It was really hot and the wine was really cold and moreish)

Dine at 29, Dunfermline, Fife

Yesterday OH and I decided to head to Dunfermline for lunch. So after a wander around the new Abbey Church (not that new as it was built in 1819), where Robert the Bruce’s bones are buried (560 years after his death) and a look about the recently opened (proper new) and architecturally splendid library and museum

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we headed to Dine at 29 on Bruce Street. I had booked online the night before – because I could  not necessarily because it would be busy – however, when we arrived it was obvious there had been a recent Itison voucher deal as the majority of people in the restaurant were enjoying afternoon teas.

We were given 2  menus – a main menu and a lunch one. The lunch menu offered 2 courses for £12.95 or 3 for £14.95. The intriguing main menu, as well as other things,  offered Hot Rocks, which OH was interested in. When the waitress appeared to take our drinks order we got an explanation. For the price of £39 you both order the same thing – a steak (sirloin, rump, ribeye, fillet (£7 supplement); King Prawn Skewers or Venison, which you cook yourself on a 400° lava rock. You then choose 2 sides from the long list, which includes things like fries, onions rings, mushrooms, beetroot, bread and butter, sauces etc. Also included is a bottle of wine/pitcher of beer/cocktail pitcher or bottomless juice. Quite a bargain.

I’m not a fan of steak and as you both have to order the same thing, plus I was driving, I decided against the Hot Rock and plumped for the lunch menu.  However, you could order just one steak and 2 sides and pay a set price (minus the drink) and OH decided to do just that. When the waitress appeared I ordered a starter I thought we could share. Garlic Mushrooms – pan fried with garlic and white wine and topped with cheese.

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When it arrived it was apparent it was going to be tricky to share and although it was tasty and the sauce amazing, I would not recommend it if you are on a romantic date as the hot, stringy mozzarella made it difficult to eat without making you look like you’d never used cutlery before.

 

I followed this with Fish and Chips – battered and served with Crushed PeaIMAG9459s and Tartare Sauce. If you’re a regular here you will know that I have been moaning about a lack of actual mushy peas nowadays and how crushed peas seems to be the in thing. Well this menu stated it was crushed peas – not mushy – but when it arrived it was just peas, whole ones. not even crushed. I’m not complaining as I am more than able to crush a pea but I do miss mushy peas! Peas aside, the fish was lovely, fresh with a crisp batter, the chips were good, skinny with skins but the tartare sauce was uninspiring.

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OH’s steak arrived raw on a rock with little bowls of salt, pepper and butter as well as the sides he had ordered of seasoned fries and roasted beetroot. The waitress was on hand with instructions and was able to talk OH through the process, asking how he liked it and gave advice around turning it and cutting it up.

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She then left OH to it, who decided to cut off the fat and leave it on the rock to crisp up. The downside of this is that the fat spat everywhere – all over the table, my phone, glasses and me – I could feel the little pin pricks over my hands as I cut into my fish. It was gimmicky but entertaining. If you don’t want to do it yourself they will cook it for you in the kitchen but where is the fun in that? OH enjoyed it and the roasted beetroot was a highlight.

For dessert on the lunch menu there was cheesecake of the day, which was tablet, sticky toffee pudding, assorted ice creams and Eton Mess.

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OH decided on the cheesecake. I had a little taste and it was gorgeous.  Thick, sweet and tasted of tablet. Presentation was good and the accompanying berries, fat and juicy.

There was only one waitress but she done a fantastic job of looking after everyone and still managed to give a friendly, personal service.

One set 3 course lunch £14.95, one Hot Rock rump steak with 2 sides £22.95, 2 pints of Moretti £8.60 and a coke £2.40 = £48.90.