Starbank Inn, Newhaven, Edinburgh

OH wanted to go to Edinburgh today to buy some fishing and camping gear so after visits to Go Outdoors and the Edinburgh Angling Centre in Granton and spending a small fortune, we needed to find somewhere near by to eat that was not going to break the bank any further.

The Starbank Inn was only a short drive away and there was a parking place right outside the door so that’s where we ended up.

The inn is a Belhaven pub so had  a large 3 folded menu offering all the normal kind of bar food – burgers, fish n chips, pies, pasta etc. On the black board was Cullen Skink soup and Scallops.

I was betwixt and between and wasn’t sure whether to order soup and a sandwich or one of the pies. After ordering our drinks I decided on the IMAG9957Haggis and Potato Pie – Spicy haggis, layered with neeps and tatties, topped with Cheddar cheese and served with a creamy whisky sauce. When it arrived it was nothing to look at. The vegetables, carrots and courgettes, were bland and tasteless. The whisky sauce was creamy but I’m not sure it had even sat next to a bottle of whisky. When I first cut into the pie there was only potato and turnip with no haggis in sight. It turned out I had started in the wrong corner as the opposite corner was all haggis and no turnip. Unfortunately, rather than there being layers, there were lumps. However, after finding the spicy haggis the pie did get better and I loved the lid of baked cheese even though I did have to chisel it off the plate.

IMAG9956OH had decided on the Chicken Tikka Skewers – Served with tikka masala sauce on a bed of rice, with naan bread, tomato & red onion salad and a yoghurt & mint dressing. I asked him what his thoughts were and he replied – alright, average, middle of the road, could have done with more sauce and it filled a hole. Definitely not high praise. Mind you, he loved the Trade Winds ale that he had 2 pints of.

As usual when pubs have large menus with deals like 2 meals for £11 (not on a Saturday though) you know what you’re getting. Don’t get me wrong. There was nothing wrong with the food it just wasn’t anything special. However, service was special and everyone was friendly, chatty and helpful, which made the Starbank Inn very cheap and cheerful.

2 mains, 2 pints and a diet coke £27.43

 

 

 

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The Bank, Anstruther, Fife

IMAG9861A few months ago I was at a meeting in the Dreel Hall in Anstruther. As usual, I was far too early and went for a walk around the graveyard. Sitting on a bench, overlooking the Dreel Burn merging with the Firth of Forth, I noticed a conservatory sticking awkwardly out from the back of where I knew to be a bar. However, in my mind I thought it was an auld man’s kind of pub. It got me wondering and therefore it went on to my list of places for OH and I to visit (btw I’m always looking for recommendations).

We parked the car just dIMG_20180721_175027_504own the side of the Dreel Halls and crossed the Dreel Burn using the large square stepping-stones that take you on to the beach next to the end of Shore Street. From there we followed the Fife Coastal Path up to the back of The Bank and through their beer garden. Following our noses we climbed some stairs and ended up in the bar where we were taken into the conservatory and given a table with a lovely view of rooftops and the Forth and given a lunch menu along with a leather-bound one. When I opened the bigger menu the first page was a list of drinks so I closed it again and looked at the lunch menu. 2 courses for £12.00. There was fish and chips, burgers, mac n cheese etc, which was fine but nothing really jumped out. Bored I opened the leather menu again and discovered a page of starters, a page of chefs specials, a page of burgers and  a whole page of seafood. Ignoring my normal annoyance at it now being too big a menu, I was back in a good mood and made my decision as did OH. However, no-one appeared to take our order so we sat in a hot conservatory without a drink for far too long. Eventually a different waitress appeared and was about to disappear again when I called her over and told her we were ready to order.

I asked for the ‘Haddock Timbale – Smoked ourselves with oak shavings, poached with prawns and saffron cream, finished with chef’s vegetables and buttered baby potatoes’. When it arrived I was surprised to see the haddock was white and not the usual smokey yellow. However, IMAG9855the sauce was electric yellow and I immediately worried for my white top. The fish was good but white and not smoked, the sauce was a bit salty, the vegetables were good, crunchy and not over done but the best bit was the prawns that were hidden in the drum of haddock. They were large and succulent.

OH ordered the ‘Roasted Sea bass, Crispy skin sea bass fillets, tomato, chorizo, cashews, rocket & new potato salad. It looked fantastic and I was immediately jealous. IMAG9853

It’s not often that OH wins at the food ordering competition we have but he definitely hit the jackpot with the Sea bass. He could not talk more highly about it. The textures, taste and amount were all perfect and created a memorable dish. The cashews and thinly cut chorizo were a big hit as were the fresh tomatoes and crispy skin.

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Leaving a empty plate OH then ordered a pudding from the full-page of desserts. ‘Dutch Apple Flan – Dutch apple pie filled with apple, raisins and cinnamon topped with a glazed lattice pastry, served hot or cold with cream, ice cream or crème anglaise.’ He decided on it hot with ice cream. He was disappointed to find it must have been heated in a microwave as the pastry was soggy but still enjoyed it and managed to leave another empty plate.

Overall, it was a good lunch and we will probably go back just so I can have the Sea bass.

2 mains, 1 dessert, 2 pints of ale and a pint of coke = £40.05

19th Hole, Earlsferry, Fife.

Yesterday OH and I went for a walk along the beach next to Elie Golf Course, it was a fabulous day and there were a number of golfers making the most of the links course. Of course, after a walk in the summer sun, the next sensible thing to do is go for a pint and it just so happened that next to the golf course is The 19th Hole.

We went in just for a drink but once in, we checked out the menu, the decor, the clientelle and decided to stay for something to eat.  The menu had the normal kind of bar food options such as burgers, steak pie, mac and cheese but with more local fish dishes than your average pub. However, what made it stand out were words like freshly delivered, made to order, artisan and East Neuk, which is the local area just in case you didn’t know.

OH decided on a Crab Salad and I asked for a starter size of mussels. As we waited, I looked around and noticed the coat rack was made out of golf clubs and the leg of the table was hidden in an old leather golf bag. There was tennis on the large tvs and also a fireplace to relax in front of. I nipped to the loo and the sign on the door was a lady putting, the door handle was a putter, there was another door with turf on it. Inside there was a display of golf balls under the sink. Yes they have taken the golfing theme to the nth degree but actually, it works.

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By the time I returned from the loo my mussels were already on the table and OH was tucking into his crab salad. Now, normally I’d be annoyed that someone had delivered my food when I wasn’t at the table but we were sitting in the bar rather than the restaurant as we had the dog with us. In the restaurant you are able to see the chef at work as it’s open plan and I’d like to think if he could see our table he would have held it back until I was there.

The crab was abundant on OH’s salad, which was good to see. He enjoyed it immensely describing it as light and fresh. Even the potatoes got a special mention.

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Along with my plate of mussels was a finger bowl and empty plate for the shells. My mussels were plump and very hot. The sauce wasn’t salty or gritty as can often happen. Instead it was creamy and the onions had a nice crunch. There was a couple that weren’t open and one had a beard but overall I enjoyed them. The accompaning bread was chargrilled and dunking it into the sauce was lush. I even asked for a spoon so I could sup the rest up.

Whilst we were eating it was the chef that popped out to ask if our food was okay, which meant so much more than one of the bar staff asking.

The 19th Hole is a place you need to seek out as it’s well off the beaten path but I would definitely recommend it.

2 pints, a starter size of mussels and a crab salad = £24.40