The Courtyard, Cupar

One of our favourite restaurants in Cupar was Cafe Montmarte but disappointingly, it moved to Dundee a while ago. However, now in it’s place, is The Courtyard, which is exactly the same inside as Montmarte but they’ve swapped the black and white photos of famous French people with black and white photos of fishermen and as the chef/owner is Bavarian, the menu now has Bavarian influences.

We were given the lunch menu and there were specials on the board. The menu offered starters and light lunches and a few out of the ordinary main meals such as mussels and fries and Venison and mushroom lasagne. The specials board offered other dishes like Fresh Crab bisque, Jager Schnitzel and Mediterranean strudel.

Eventually we decided to share a starter of Baked Coconut Prawns – jumbo prawns baked in a creamy coconut, roast pepper & chilli sauce with crusty bread (which also came as a light lunch option). They were amazing! The prawns were big and fat and there were plenty of them, the sauce was thick and creamy and the flavours were balanced perfectly. There was heat but not too much and there was coconut but it was not overwhelming. I can not rave about it enough and I’d go back for this dish alone.

For main meals OH decided on the Pork Schnitzel – breaded pan fried pork escalope with fried potatoes, mixed salad & coleslaw from the lunch menu and I had the Baked Hake Fillet with King Prawns served with a tomato, fennel and garlic sauce from the specials board.

My hake was a little mushy but it tasted lovely. The vegetables were perfectly crunchy and the potatoes were a great accompaniment. The fennel in the sauce was delicate and thankfully, did not overpower the dish. OH enjoyed his schnitzel but said it started to get a bit boring by the end. The photo of his coleslaw doesn’t do it justice as it was a lot more colourful than the white blob in the pic and was obviously homemade.

Next to our table there was a black board with ‘Chocolate pot with caramelised almonds and cream’ written on it so instead of asking for the dessert menu OH pointed and said, “I want that one.”

Chocolate pot

It felt like Christmas when it arrived. It was fabulously decadent and came with its own little jug of cream. The caramalised almonds set off the rich chocolate giving it a sweet crunch. If he could have OH would have licked the bowl. Out of interest, when we got home, I checked the online menu to see what other desserts there were and I would definitely have had the Apfelkuechle – fried apples in a crispy batter, rolled in cinnamon sugar, served with vanilla ice-cream.

I went with low expectations thinking it would not be better than Montmarte but it was every bit as good. We will definitely be back.

1 starter, 2 mains, 1 dessert, 1 bottle of Fürstenberg lager and a diet coke £42.45

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Ham’s Hame Pub and Grill, St Andrews

A lovely, sunny (but cold) Sunday afternoon saw OH, Mini-me and I venturing to St Andrews for something to eat. After walking along the side of the golf course we found ourselves in the very dog friendly Ham’s Hame, which sits right on the corner of The Scores and Golf Place.

The bar is a large, wooden floored room with lots of televisions showing sports. We were shown to a window seat and given menus for bar snacks and lunches. The soup of the day was Caramelised White Onion, which I immediately wanted as did OH. Also on the menu was Lentil and ham soup so Mini-me decided she’d prefer that. The soups arrived steaming hot and in lovely pottery bowls. My caramelised soup tasted charred, which initially was odd but the more I ate, the more I liked it. By the end of it I felt like I had been sitting in front of a very smokey fire. I tasted Mini-me’s soup and I thought it was missing a layer. Mini-me reckoned it lacked lentils and tasted more like barley.

For mains I ordered Beef Rigatoni – Steak mince bound in a rich tomato sauce, rigatoni pasta, fresh micro basil, Parmesan cheese & garlic bread. It could have been hotter when it arrived and unfortunately, I felt it was a bland meal with no intensity of flavour. I got bored halfway through and I’m pretty sure I’ve made better at home.

OH decided on Slow Roasted Pork Sandwich – Maple and Dijon mustard glazed, slow roasted stuffed pork shoulder, served on a focaccia bun, pork crackling, red cabbage & apple slaw, apple purée, mixed leaf salad & steak cut chips. I misread the menu and thought it was going to be pulled pork – it wasn’t, it was a thick slice of pork on a roll. He said he liked it but when I asked if he would order it again he hesitated and started to chose his words really carefully knowing I was going to quote him in this blog. Eventually he said he got exactly what was written on the tin.

Mini-me got adventurous and went for Haggis Scotch Egg – Lothian Haggis, soft boiled egg, bacon, roasted tomatoes, rocket salad & a whisky, mustard dressing. It looked lovely when it arrived and even better when she cut the egg in half as it was a runny, rich orange yolk. I tried a bit of the ham that was strewn through the salad and it was very dry. Thankfully I had wine to wash it down. Mini-me said the haggis was tasty and not too spicy and overall enjoyed her meal but said she would have preferred more iceberg lettuce rather than rocket. She also raved about the whisky and mustard dressing.

The toilets were clean with Molton Brown toiletries, service was spot on and it was good to find someplace to eat that is dog friendly.

3 soups, 3 mains, 2 pints of lager, a bottle of wine and a coke £85. 60

Fisherman’s Tavern, Broughty Ferry

This weekend we had Mini-me and Teeny-him staying so we decided to head to Broughty Ferry knowing Teeny-him would love the beach and park. Therefore, after Mini-me and I had worked up an appetite shopping and OH and Teeny-him were tired out after the park we went to the Fisherman’s Tavern for something to eat.

Teeny-him

We chose The Fisherman’s Tavern as it’s a Bellhaven pub and would be a bit more child friendly than some of the other pubs in the area. As expected it had one of those large set menu’s with pictures of food and offers all the normal kind of pub grub – burgers, pasta, steak pie etc. OH immediately plumped for Gammon Steak with Eggs – a 10oz gammon steak served with 2 friend eggs, chips and garden peas. Mini-me and I both decided to have the normal size Fish & Chips – Chunky beer-battered haddock fillet, served with chips, garden peas and tartare sauce (I had mushy peas) .

There was a chilren’s menu which offered a pic’n’mix selection of burger, fish fingers, sausages, chicken nuggets or fillet and then add a side and a veg. Teeny-him wanted cheese burger, chips and garlic bread but was told he wasn’t allowed that as it had to be a veg and they couldn’t swap items so his mum ordered him the cucumber and carrot sticks (which she ate herself) . We were also told we had to pay extra for the cheese, which we said was fine.

When Teeny-him’s meal arrived there was no cheese on it so we all had our meals and he didn’t, which devastated the tired 3 year old. Cue 4 minutes of hysterical tears as the waiter dashed off to find some cheese and we all tried to pass the toddler chips to appease him without success.

Our meals were all good. OH got runny eggs, which was great although he did mention his gammon steak was a little salty. Mini-me and I both enjoyed our fish and chips and were glad we didn’t go large as our fish was already big enough. The tartare sauce was a bit boring so it probably came out of a jar. The batter was spot on and the fish was fresh. I loved that I got proper mushy peas and none of those crushed peas people keep trying to fob off on me.

Like a typical toddler, Teeny-him ate the majority of his burger, most of his garlic bread and all the chips we put on to his plate so from that I am saying he really enjoyed his food.


My only complaint was the strict children’s menu. Kids are picky, it’s hard enough getting them to eat in the first place never mind putting up barriers by telling them they can’t have something. Surely it’s not that difficult to offer garlic bread and chips? And don’t get me started on the 50p for cheese that didn’t turn up at the start…

3 main meals, 1 kids meal, 1 non-alcohol lager, 1 large glass of white, 1 diet coke and a slice of cheese (50p) = £43. 14

North Port Restaurant, Perth

OH and I were in Perth today. We had been for a wander around the Continental Food Market and also the Museum and Art Gallery so when we got hungry I searched for somewhere close by that wouldn’t mean another walk. My phone suggested North Port Restaurant, which was right round the corner and I am so glad it did. Although it really was a meal of 2 halves (to misquote a footballing cliche).

When we arrived our coats were taken and we were seated in a dark, olde fashioned room. Dark wood was everywhere; chairs, tables, floor and even a low ornate wooden ceiling. However, our table was light and airy.

The waitress appeared with a bottle of tap water and wore a loose floaty apron which added to the ye olde feel. She gave us 3 menus. A la carte, set lunch and specials. The lunch menu was 2 courses for £14.95 and 3 for £17.95. The a la cart menu offered main meals around the £18 mark and the specials menu boasted scallops, pigeon and hake.

We were asked what drinks we wanted and as there was no wine menu I asked for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. New Zealand or Spain? New Zealand of course. Large or small? Large. OH asked for a bottle of St Mungo’s lager as there was nothing on tap.

After much deliberation, OH decided on Whipped Arran Blue – celery, sweet cicily, toast and I went for the Smoked Haddie, leeks, hazelnut dressing. OH is trying to eat more fish, which is what I usually order but as the other menu items didn’t appeal as much (we were ordering off the lunch menu) we both ordered North Sea Coley, celeriac, spinach, mushrooms, shellfish sauce.

As we were waiting, the waitress arrived with our drinks and a plate of homemade bread and a carrot dip with pumpkin seed granola and parsley butter. I am not usually one for filling myself up with bread before a meal but I ate it all and when I was asked if I wanted more I was sorely tempted. It was gorgeous.







Arran Blue
Smoked Haddie

I have to say, my starter was amazing. There was large lumps of delicious smoked haddock, the leeks and hazelnut dressing gave it a fantastic taste and texture and the fish skin gave it a lovely salty crunch. After I had finished I could not wait for my main meal and bragged to OH how clever I was at finding this hidden gem of a restaurant.

OH wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about his starter. I had thought it would look a bit blue but it resembled vanilla ice cream. The taste however was very blue. I tried a small amount and mentioned that it could do with a glass of port and OH agreed that was exactly what was missing. He enjoyed it though and like the crunchy celery.

There was the perfect wait between courses and the waitress was very friendly and attentive.

Coley

Our dishes both looked great when they arrived and initially I thought it was good but as I kept eating I got more and more meh with it. The skin was only crispy at the edges, I wasn’t sure the mushrooms actually went with the dish and the spinach could have been drained more. The celeriac was the biggest flavour on the plate and didn’t really deserve to be. Trying to find something positive – the shellfish sauce was good and it was a quality piece of fish.

I think because the bread and the starter had been so absolutely bloody brilliant, I got overly disappointed in my main. It was now up to the dessert to try and at least equalise in the second half. (or should it be third?)

White chocolate custard

OH ordered the Set White Chocolate Custard, hazelnut crumble, coffee jelly. Did it score? Yes it did. The coffee jelly was small but strong enough to cut through the sweet white chocolate and the crunchy crumble balanced well with the squishy, set custard. OH also ordered an americano, which arrived with 2 square truffles of really strong chocolate. I believe when only 1 coffee is ordered and you still get two bits of sweet yummyness the restaurant gets brownie points. I ordered another glass of white but small this time.

I know that some of you reading this don’t like toilets that are a hassle (Mum I mean you) and unfortunately these ones are up a spiral staircase. However, the staircase fits in perfectly with the rest of the decor and the toilets are lovely (and there is White Stuff toiletries).

When the bill arrived I kicked myself that I didn’t order a bottle of the house white as

1 3 course lunch – £17.95, 1 2 course lunch – £14.95, 1 small, 1 large NZ White £17.90 (!!!) 1 lager £4.50, 1 coffee £2.50 = £57.55

Service was fantastic, ambience and decor great and I’d say on the whole food was very good (I just need to stop putting starters on pedestals just to knock it over when the main arrives)

The Bothy, Boglily Farm Steading, Kirkcaldy

I have always been aware that there is buffalo farm in Fife but recently it has been more and more on my mind. Possibly because Boglily Farm has been one of the farms featured on the program This Farming Life or maybe because I entered a competition and ever since Steve Mitchell, the farmer, has been emailing me with gorgeous pictures of meat packs but either way The Bothy, the cafe on the farm, was on my list and today OH, Mini-me, Teeny-him and I decided to pay it a visit for lunch.

I had pre-checked the menu on their website and knew that it was a cafe that sold mainly sandwiches and burgers so pre-warned everyone and I also knew that the children’s meals were macaroni, sausages or sandwiches and that Teeny-him would be happy with any of them.

When we arrived the first thing we saw was a colourful turkey and 2 emus, which fascinated the wee one just as much as they did the adults.

Mini-me and I went into The Bothy to find a queue and a very busy room. We were asked if a 15 minute wait was ok. It was so our names were taken and it was suggested we had a look around the shop. OH and Teeny-him explored the farm some more and found some pygmy goats and new born lambs. Unfortunately, the buffalo were still in the barns but they should be out and about in the summer, which is a great excuse to go back.

The shop was packed with good food. There was everything from buffalo steaks to chicken kebabs, pork sausages to fish cakes, duck eggs to marinades and there was definite bargains to be had. Once I have emptied my freezer I am going back for one of their packs.

When we wandered back into The Bothy they were ready for us and we were quickly seated. The waitress was fabulous with Teeny-him and after taking his order of macaroni and chippies (no garlic bread) and apple juice took him over to where there were some hidden toys and helped him pick some he could take back to the table. We all ordered burgers, which are named after the main places in nearby Auchtertool to thank them for putting up with the odd stray buffalo that may wander around the village. OH had the MURRAY COURT, Buffalo burger, cheddar, crispy bacon, fried egg, lettuce, tomato, red onion & bacon jam , Mini-me had the THE MALTINGS, Buffalo burger, haggis, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion & peppercorn sauce and I had the MAIN STREET, Buffalo burger, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion & Bothy burger sauce.

Teeny-him said his macaroni was tasty and yummy and his mum, who stole some, agreed that it was really good and she is a connoisseur!

OH really enjoyed his although the runny egg did make a bit of mess and his bun disintegrated but other than that he loved it and particularly enjoyed the red onion and bacon jam.

Mini-me, who I think is hard to please, loved hers and commented that the home made coleslaw was good. She also said, although the haggis was lovely, she wouldn’t order it again as it filled her up too much and she now feels haggis shouldn’t be on a burger (this was the first time she had experienced the addition of haggis). Of course, she cleared her plate.

I cut my burger bun in half and had no issue with it as it kept it’s integrity throughout. The burger was solid and high quality, the sauce went well on it and the potato wedges that accompanied our burgers were amazing and were coated with herbs – we think thyme, rosemary and oregano but we could be wrong. Regardless they were lush.

Looking around I could see others with sandwiches and cakes and everything looked amazing. The service was impeccable and the quality of food was spot on.

1 children’s meal, 3 burgers, 3 tins of juice – £41.90

The Base, Leven

Long story short, Mini-me has been staying with us recently so when we asked her where she wanted to go for Sunday lunch her only request was for nowhere posh. Knowing her levels of posh I went on to Tripadvisor and trawled restaurants in Fife. It was there I happened upon The Base, Leven, which advertised Pizza, Pasta, Grill. I had a quick look at the menu and thought it sounded ideal so off we went.

On entry, I was pleasantly surprised to see the urban decor. Metal chairs, bare light bulbs, brick walls and chunky wood tables, which isn’t the norm for Leven. I know you’re now wondering what is the norm for Leven and if I was being really unkind I’d say formica and plastic but I’m not an unkind person.

The menu did indeed offer pizza, pasta and grills but also salads, fish, wraps and stuff like steak pie a and chilli. What was good was that you could have small dishes for a fiver or you could go 50/50 and have half pizza/half pasta. There were also offers on each day of the week but unfortunately the offer for a Sunday was kids eat for £1 and Teeny-mini-him wasn’t with us. We gave our drinks order and studied both sides of the large A3 menu.

OH and Mini-me fancied starters but as the soup was carrot and parsnip I decided to go without, knowing I’d be stealing off their plates. OH went for Garlic Mushrooms – seasoned button mushrooms, breaded and served with a spicy garlic mayo and salad garnish and Mini-me went for Mac & cheese bites. Both arrived (possibly straight from Iceland) with side salad and dressing. Tasty enough (yes I did try them both) but nowt special. However, what got us talking was the dressing, which we tried to guess the ingredients for. We all argued about the orange and red liquid, which I thought had a citrus tang but, when we eventually asked, were told it was sweet chili sauce and honey. Oh.

After lots of tooing and froing OH and Mini-me both decided to have a Calzone. Something new for OH but something tried and tested by Mini-me. OH had the ‘Tikka Chance on Me’ – Roasted chicken, mixed onions, mixed peppers, tikka sauce and Mozzarella & Cheddar mix. He managed to eat it all but said that he could feel it filing his arteries and was fearful for his heart. He also mentioned at one point that the last thing he expected to be eating for his Sunday lunch was a folded over curry pizza. So although it was good and he enjoyed it, he wouldn’t hurry to order another.

dav

Mini-me had the Mex-ellent – Roasted chicken, mixed peppers, mixed onions, salsa, guacamole, sour cream with lots of Mozzarella cheese. Basically a fajitah pizza. She really enjoyed it but regretted having a starter as she didn’t manage to eat it all. However, they very kindly gave her a doggy bag and her leftovers are now sat in my kitchen.

dav

What was obvious was that both meals had been prepared fresh and cooked to order.

For my main I decided to have the Beef Lasagne, which was described as “Our chef’s signature dish, lovingly prepared on the premises and it’s just the best lasagne around bar none! Served with chips and salad garnish.” Yes, maybe loving prepared but not today – probably one day last week and re-heated everyday since. From the charcoal look of it I expected it to burn my mouth but no it wasn’t even that hot. The chips were lovely though…. I said to OH it was the second worse lasagne I’ve ever had. He immediately replied with “At least it wasn’t as bad as the one in the Elvis Presley Bar then.” As usual he was spot on. Do click the link if you want to hear about the worst lasagne I’ve ever had.

We asked for the bill as no-one could fit in a dessert. The bill arrived with mint chocs, which is always a good thing. After I went up to pay I visited the toilets, which were extremely clean and trendy – definitely worth their own mention as they impressed me far more than my main meal.

Over cooked lasagne aside, I loved the look of the place, the waitresses were both lovely and I really like that they’re trying to bring a city centre feel to the streets of Leven.

2 starters, 3 mains, 2 large glasses of wine, 1 pint and 1 coke – £55.65

The Dining Room, Kirkcaldy, Fife.

This blog all started because OH and I were looking for a shared hobby so it isn’t often I write about a restaurant when he isn’t there but after a visit to The Dining Room in Kirkcaldy I felt moved to blog. So why was I out without him? Well, what happened was that Sir Harry Burns was doing a talk at the Kirkcaldy Foodbank AGM and my colleague, PC, and I wanted to hear him so we decided to go for something to eat after work and prior to the AGM.

Now, before I start to tell you about The Dining Room, I just want to acknowledge the irony of PC and I going for a nice meal before we attend a food bank AGM and listen to Sir Harry discussing the impact of poverty and food insecurity in families. I can say I do feel guilty. btw if you ever get the chance to listen to Sir Harry please don’t miss it…actually google him and listen to one of his TED talks – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

So, that said, the Dining Room turned out to be an inspired choice even though it was really chosen for its geography. When we went in we were pleasantly surprised at the stylish decor and subtle lighting.

mde

Sat on our own with evening menus, we admired the black and white photographs on the walls and enjoyed the playlist. The waitress told us it was 2 for 1 burgers as it was Tuesday and asked for our drinks order. We just asked for tap water. As we perused the menu another couple came in and they were the only other people we saw dining at the same time as us.

The menu highlighted that all the pasta dishes could be gluten free and other options had GF marked on the menu. This delighted PC who has recently been testing her intolerance. She went for GF Penne pasta with strips of beef fillet, sugar snap peas and fresh chillies topped with freshly grated Parmesan. However, she asked for it without the chilli.

dav

When the dish arrived the waitress apologised as it was spirals instead of penne but this wasn’t a problem for PC. I thought it was unusual for a pasta dish to have beef in it and using olive oil instead of a sauce, probably because it wouldn’t have been my choice but PC loved her meal saying the pasta was cooked to perfection and the flavours went well together with there being just the right amount of everything. If anything, she would have preferred a lot more cheese on top but she said she would have wanted a lot more cheese on most things. I asked her about the pasta’s taste minus the gluten and she said she genuinely couldn’t tell the difference (and that’s not because she is a novice GFer it is because it tasted so good).

I decided on Smoked haddock on a bed of spring onion mash topped with a soft boiled egg and Parmesan cream, which was lovely. The spring onion gave the otherwise creamy dish a nice crunch. The fish was fabulous right up to the tail, which unsurprisingly got a bit dry. The egg was as described – soft – but I would have loved runny but I’m not complaining because I really enjoyed my meal.




Although we were finished our meal, we sat for a while chatting as we didn’t want to be too early at the AGM. We finished the bottle of water as we put the world to rights and rather than someone politely placing a bill on the table we were asked if we wanted more water, which was a great touch. Another great touch was the lit candles in the bathroom.

We were eating early on a Tuesday and the place was really quiet so I maybe need to take OH back one weekend to check out the atmosphere. However, I’m fully expecting it to be just as good.

2 main meals and tap water £24.40

Teuchters Landing, Leith, Edinburgh

OH and I paid a visit to Go Outdoors in Edinburgh today. I know that surprises you because obviously I’m not really one for exercise or going outdoors for that matter but when I do, I do like to look the part. Anyway, after spending too much money on clothes just to pretend I’m fit we decided to go for a drink, which is far more my style. OH suggested Teuchters Landing and I was in full agreement. (btw there’s no apostrophe so don’t bother commenting on it).

When we went in OH went to the bar and I searched out a table through the back, finding one looking over the quay. OH soon joined me with a Bloody Mary and a bottle of non-alcoholic lager. The Bloody Mary was heavy on the Worcestershire sauce and had the biggest piece of celery in the world – I’ve definitely had better but I’m not complaining. We sat blethering for a while, watching others having food brought to them. Everything looked amazing. The menu is extensive and full of lovely sounding things like mugs of mac n cheese, risotto, mussels, sharing boards, fish n chips, brunch items….honestly I could go on and on so it’s fair to say there is something for everyone. We decided to get a sharing board and plumped for the fish one, which had smoked mackerel pate, hot smoked brown trout, Newhaven smoked salmon, soused Orkney herring and caper and chive tattie salad. When OH had ordered it at the bar he had returned with a glass of white wine, another non-alcohol lager and a bowl of bread and oatcakes.

It wasn’t long before the board arrived and it was wonderful.
As well as the fish it was scattered with gherkins, cherry tomatoes, lemon quarters and cress. The trout was thick and not dry, the salmon fresh and tasty, the pate was spot on and the highlight of the board was the herring, which was beautifully sweet and tangy. There was more than enough for us but we still managed to clear the board.

I forgot to take a pic so thanks to
gmorrs on tripadvisor for this pic.

The bar had a great atmosphere and there was an assortment of different people enjoying the varied menu. Families, couples, friends and dogs were all out on a horrible Sunday but having a lovely time nonetheless.

A Bloody Mary £7.00, 2 x non-alcoholic lager £7.80, a glass of wine £5.00 and a sharing board £12.50 = £32.30

The V&A and The Wine Press, Dundee

On Saturday I was spending the day with my mum so we decided it was about time we visited the V&A in Dundee. I was also keen to visit The Wine Press as I had seen friends of ours checking into it and from their pics and the website it looked like a place I wanted to visit. And for this reason I asked OH if he wanted to be the chauffeur for the day. (I’m not daft)

The V&A, which sits right next to The Discovery on the banks of the River Tay is a building that makes you take far too many photos as there are so many great angles and views. It’s free to get in although there is a cost if you want to see any private exhibitions that may be on. The public exhibition of Scottish Design was interesting and they have managed to incorporate a vast amount of drawings, samples, models and videos all depicting Scottish designs. The outdoor balconies offer amazing views over the Tay and as well as a shop, there is also a restaurant and cafe inside. However, we were on a mission to visit The Wine Press so we didn’t hang around for a coffee.

The wine bar was just a short walk from the V&A. However, it is across a number of busy roads and I have to say the crossing weren’t the best. For some reason there is no loud beeping noise to let you know it’s the green man and the signs that show the green men aren’t facing you – they’re attached to the posts just above where you press the button so you have to stay alert.

The Wine Press don’t take reservations on Saturdays so it’s first come first served, which was great for us arriving just after midday but not so much for the people who got there after 1 and had to sit at the bar until a table became free.

The food menu is fairly limited as the focus is more on the wine, of which there are loads to choose from. One of the quirks of TWP is that you can buy a card at the bar and help yourself to wine from a machine, which keeps the more eclectic or higher end wines in a perfect condition.

The food menu has 4 different sharing boards. Cheese, charcuterie, antipasti and camembert. There was also soup, bar snacks and a list of small plates, which you could order like tapas. On the specials board there were some pies. We decided to have the Tomato and red pepper soup along with the charcuterie board – 4 cured continental meats, artisan bread, khobez flatbread, beetroot and spring onion salad, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, fig, plum and apple chutney.

dav

The soup was delicious and although we had ordered a small bowl it was more than enough. The accompanying bread was soft and very fresh. The sharing board (meant for 2) was enough for the 3 of us along with the soup and nothing went to waste. The meat wasn’t too dry or too strong and the figs were lovely.

The service was impeccable, there was a good atmosphere and the decor was tasteful. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a wine bar and a small bite to eat.

3 small soups, a sharing board, a bottle of white and a non-alcoholic beer for the chauffeur = £47

Osso, Peebles

On Valentine’s Day I managed to grab a last minute bargain at The Park hotel in Peebles (B+B for £48) so as I had made such a saving on the accommodation I booked a table at Osso’s just across the road for an evening meal.

After a beautiful walk along the Tweed in the afternoon, working up an appetite, we went into Osso’s for our dinner.

We were immediately greeted at the door and shown to our table. With wine chosen and menus in hand we were given an amuse bouche and some popcorn but because I was taken by surprise I can’t remember what they were – I seem to remember one being a smoked fish and the other being a haggis bonbon but I may be wrong, regardless, they were both delightful. OH dived right in hence why one is missing from the pic.

For a starter OH went for Warm crab vol ou vent, fennel, pickled kohl rabi & sea herbs. OH loved it – he hadn’t had crab for a long time and said it reminded him of being in Rhodes drinking ouzo and eating seafood.

I chose the Scottish hand dived scallop, celeriac broth, apple and celery. Since a camping holiday in Tayvallich I have refused to pay good money for scallops as the group I was with dived for them and they were plentiful, free and fabulous so this was an unusual choice for me. However, they were absolutely amazing and I can safely say this is the best starter I have had for a long time. Everything about it was amazing. The texture, the flavours the portion size. Just lush.

For mains OH went for Feather blade of beef, roasted root vegetables, watercress and mash. The beef fell apart beautifully and was very rich tasting. The vegetables were done to perfection and as well as having mash he also ordered a side of Parmesan and truffle chips, which arrived with a garlic butter dip that was really garlicky. I had the Grilled plaice fillet, mussels, fennel, dashi potatoes, seaweed and mussel sauce. It was always going to be hard to compete with my starter but this gave it a good go. The plaice was tasty and the mussels small. There was some similarities with my starter as the textures and flavours were akin but not quite, which just highlighted again how good the starter was.

We did ask for dessert menus and we did get them but we waited and waited for someone to ask OH what he wanted – he had decided on the Poached pear, dark chocolate mousse, warm almond sponge. Unfortunately, although service had been excellent up to this point no-one appeared and as the wine was finished we decided to just ask for the bill instead.

A bottle of white, 2 starters , 2 mains and 1 side = £67.50 for a very, very wonderful meal…

…and in case you are wondering the bed was comfy and the breakfast spot-on at The Park.