Delivino, Auchterarder

Yesterday, as the start of me celebrating a big birthday, OH and I spent an entire day (along with MiniHim and TeenyMe) at Strathallan Skydiving Centre waiting for the clouds to clear. Unfortunately they didn’t and my birthday skydive has now been rescheduled for the 4th of November. To try to salvage something of the day we decided to visit Delivino in Auchterarder. I had visited the one in Crieff before and thought the Italian wine cafe was wonderful so when I found out there was one even nearer to us we just had to visit.

Thankfully they managed to squeeze us in, telling us what time they needed the table back by. Grateful for the table I didn’t mind sitting by the door. However, I did get a cold breeze every time someone came in but because I had my thermals on for the skydive I was actually quite glad of the occasional chill.

A bottle of water was immediately placed on the table along with the menu, which offered various pasta dishes in small and regular, pizzas, burgers and large sharing platters.

We ordered a carafe of wine and decided to share a small plate as a starter. davRoast Garlic and Chilli Prawns, which arrived sizzling and spitting and were fantastic; very hot, both in spice and temperature. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic at the start so you will just have to imagine another 5 of these fat, fabulous prawns along with some chunks of bread.

For my main I decided on Pancetta Carbonara – Crispy Smoked Pancetta, Parmesan & Creamy Carbonara Sauce. I chose to have a small plate rather than the regular size because I knew I would over eat if I did. OH had the special of Smoked haddock and Leek Risotto.

davMy pasta was everything I wanted it to be. Rich, creamy, hot and delicious. There wasn’t enough for me to get bored but the right amount to leave me completely satisfied although I was looking for some bread to mop up the remaining sauce with but that was just greed.

OH enjoyed his risotto, which was full of large lumps of haddock. I sneaked a taste and it was thick, cheesy with a nice salty fish taste. Both our dishes arrived in deep bowls, which I think really helped keep our meals warm throughout. Nothing worse than cold pasta mid-meal!mde

AS I finished the wine OH asked for Affogato for dessert. It came dismembered. Yes I know it’s supposed to be deconstructed but there’s something murderous about having to pay to make your own dessert. OH ‘drowned’ his ice cream with the espresso (affogato is italian for drowned – see you actually learned something from this blog) and crumbled the amaretto biscuits in as well. He then devoured it, whilst complaining it was just coffee and ice cream. mdeThis was solely because it was on the blackboard he was facing and he could see the price for a change. Regardless, he enjoyed it and as he would often have coffee and a dessert it was actually cheaper ;p.

I decided to visit the loos before we left and crammed myself into the one ladies toilet. Bizarrely, one of the tiled walls hadn’t been grouted so I’m guessing they are half way through doing them up? In the tiny toilet there was also a sink, which I had to go on my tiptoes to get my hands into only to discover it was so teeny I had to wash one hand at a time. To be honest, I’m not sure if they have sacrificed toilet space to enable more room in the restaurant but I did leave wishing they had put in as much effort to their toilet design as they have to their food.

Loos aside, service was great from a very smiley, happy-to-help waitress and food was fantastic. I definitely will be back but unfortunately it won’t be after my skydive as it isn’t open on Sundays. (it is in Crieff though)

One small plate, one small pasta, one main, one dessert, one carafe of wine £41.50.

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The Kingarth Hotel and Smiddy Bar, Isle of Bute

Whilst touring around the Isle of Bute recently we stopped off at The Kingarth Hotel for lunch.

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A friend had heard it was good and therefore had mentioned it within a list of musts whilst in Bute. When we arrived we were told immediately that they were having difficulties as the gas board had chosen lunch time to check their gas and therefore the kitchens were limited with what they could produce. Paninis and sandwiches weren’t a problem but anything that required a gas hob was not going to be arriving any time soon. The girl was extremely apologetic but at the same time was trying to be as helpful as possible.

The menu on the board looked lovely as did the one on the table. The girl assured us that it shouldn’t be too long before they were cooking with gas and therefore we ordered cold starters in the hope by the time we had finished them our mains would be hot. Therefore, I ordered peppered smoked mackerel pate, salad and oatcakes. OH ordered the vegetable and lentil soup (yes I know that’s not cold but we figured they’d have a microwave).

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OH’s soup arrived with half a loaf. He was hungry so everything got demolished but he did mention that the soup was thick and heart warming between spoonfuls and bites.

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I received a full pot of mackerel pate and 3 oatcakes, which meant I piled the pate high and devoured them. The pate was fantastic. The accompanying salad was great – in particular the pea shoots and pieces of melon stood out and the cherry tomatoes tasted like they were straight out of the greenhouse.

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We did have to wait a while for our mains but we did not mind as everyone was trying their best to feed us. I ordered the Kingarth burger because the description just sounded so good – our butchers best beef burgers served in a ciabatta bun with melting Emmental cheese, relish, fried onions, chips and coleslaw. As soon as it arrived I dived in (which is why the pic shows it already started to). The burgers (yes there were two) were fantastic and because it was in a ciabatta roll it meant nothing fell to bits as I ate it. The chips weren’t quite so good but I’m going to guess they had to put them in the oven instead of a fryer.

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OH had ordered the Mixed seafood risotto with salad and parmesan from the board. When it was put in front of him I could see it was jam-packed with fish and prawns. He also got a side salad, which I was jealous of as I had already sampled it with my starter. OH said it was everything he expected from a risotto, creamy, bursting with flavour and full of fish. However, it was no insult to the kitchen that OH did not finish his meal (personally I blame the half loaf) but it was so full of fish it filled him up quickly. Even when they have issues with their gas you do not leave The Kingarth Hotel hungry! With no space for puddings we got our bill.

2 starters, 2 mains, 2 gins, 1 tonic, 1 juice = £39.30

Venachar Lochside, Nr. Callander

Every autumn OH and I visit The Trossachs just so we can see the amazing colour palette that adorns the trees before winter hits. The oranges, reds and yellows are an amazing sight and offer some wonderful photograph taking opportunities. Unfortunately today the weather decided to put a halt to any photo taking as I refused to get out the car in the rain to snap some landscapes. However, I did leave the warmth of the car to run into Venachar Lochside, a favourite restaurant of ours and one which I have written about many times before. Previously, my reviews have all been about the amazing food and IMAG0372abysmal service but today I had no complaints about the service but this could be because we were the first ones to arrive for lunch. Considering Venachar Lochside is pretty much in the middle of nowhere and there were no prior lunch bookings the place filled up quickly with hungry diners who had obviously heard of the restaurants good reputation.

We received water for the table and menus and I immediately noticed there was an increase in prices from our last visit. Cullen skink was now £10 and the main dishes were priced between £13 and £16. Soup of the day was Celeriac and thyme.

For my main I had difficulty trying to choose between the Ayrshire pork belly, butternut fondant, summer greens, black pudding and apple sauce or the Cod loin with cockles, summer greens, potatoes and pea puree. I eventually plumped for the Cod.

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Before

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After

The dish arrived in a bowl and then the waited poured over the pea puree.

The fish was beautiful and the cockles delightful. The potatoes were a little charred at the edges but this added a needed crunch as the vegetables were a little soggy. Overall the meal was gorgeous but I would have much rather have had it on a flat plate as it was difficult using a fork and knife in a bowl.

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OH had the Gressingham duck with bacon, baby gem, peas, potato rosti, red onion and cherry reduction. He loved his meal and although he said it was a little chewy he liked it and thought the bacon, peas and greens were excellent. The cherry reduction was not strong and there was not enough to really add to the dish.

After our dishes had been cleared I asked for the dessert menu and was told there wasn’t one but I could choose from the range of cakes on offer. There was berry and pistachio, chocolate porter, mocha cake, carrot cake, victoria sponge and coffee and walnut cake. I decided on the berry and pistachio and OH had another pint. IMAG0381The homemade cake was thick, heavy and yum. Of course OH helped me with the huge slice.

2 mains, 2 pints, a slice of cake = £44.85 (yes it was expensive)