A Fishy Weekend in Fife

Mini-me and Teeny Him decided to spend some time with the old foggies this weekend. The pair of them haven’t been well recently and were looking for some TLC. So to try and fatten them up and keeping it simple, MM, TH and myself visited Home Farm View on the outskirts of Kirkcaldy. However, we never call it that as we usually say it’s Chapel View or Hungry Horse due it it’s previous incarnations. It is now a Greene King Inn so as you would expect with a chain it’s a very samey menu, which caters for a wide range and is geared up for families. We went there solely because it has a play area for Teeny Him to play in.

Sat in the play area (£1 extra) we ordered a child’s macaroni cheese with chips, garlic bread and rainbow vegetables, an adults macaroni with garlic bread and green leaves and I went for the seafood mixed grill, which was grilled cod loin, salmon and seabass fillet with butterfly king prawns.

TH ate his macaroni as soon as it appeared and managed a couple of chips before deciding the chute was more enticing. To be fair his plate looked better than his mum’s who struggled through half of it before giving up. I enjoyed my mixed seafood grill although the only way of knowing what white fish was what was that the seabass still had it’s skin on. Unfortunately, it wasn’t crispy. The prawns however, made the plate a winner as they were fat, lovely and juicy. It also had roasted Mediterranean vegetables and fries with their skins on, which I loved.

Considering the price and that it was a stress free meal with a toddler it got big ticks.

2 adult mains, 1 children’s meal, 3 juices and a play area = £30.89

The following day was bright and breezy but with a threat of snow flurries hanging over it. We therefore thought a trip along the coast so we could watch the big waves crashing was in order. This time we swapped TH for OH who has also been suffering with the lurgy recently.

We had been to The Bank in Anstruther before and knew it had stunning sea views so we thought we would take MM there to try and put a smile on her face and to get more calories in to her.

MM ordered a hot chocolate with marshmallows when we arrived and I went for a large white wine. OH, the driver, had a coke. We were also able to watch the huge waves crashing as we pondered the menus.

The options were either from the lunch menu 1 course £7.50, 2 £10.75, 3 £14.50 or the a la carte. OH and I went a la carte and MM went for the lunch menu.

MM had battered fish, peas, homemade slaw, salad garnish and swapped the chips for mashed potatoes. OH had Wild Scottish Venison Haunch Steak, pan roasted with a red wine and rosemary sauce, root vegetables and carrot and potato mash and I decided to have Crispy skin seabass fillets Thai spiced vegetables & sesame egg noodles.

My seabass was beautiful and this time it had the crispy skin I was looking for. The Thai vegetables were nice and crunchy and my only complaint was that there could have been a tad more lime to cut through some of the oils. MM wasn’t keen on her mash after looking forward to white mash (like her mum makes) instead of the yellow stuff on her plate, which she insisted was Smash until I explained different kinds of potatoes tasted and looked different. She did manage to eat all her fish though, which after a weekend of Miss Picky saying cheese tasted too cheesey and garlic bread was too garlicky I was relieved. OH said his venison was a little bland as he thought it would taste more gamey. I thought it looked a little rare and it was a bit chewy but he insists it was good and it was his cold that made it taste bland because he loved the presentation and tastes. He also finished MM’s mash so it was good to see his appetite back too.

We looked at the dessert menu and OH decided on Baked orange panna cotta with dark chocolate shavings lemon shortbread rounds, MM didn’t fancy anything and I ordered another glass of sauvignon blanc but a small one this time.

You might notice that the pana cotta arrived with no dark chocolate shavings. We did ask and were told that some things change on the menu and that’s how the dish arrives now. This was disappointing as one of the reasons OH ordered it was for the dark chocolate and orange taste. He then struggled to find much orange in it as it all ended up on one spoonful, which left nothing for the rest of the dessert so really it should have been described as pana cotta full stop.

Overall the it was a lovely meal and being able to watch Hibs beat St Mirren in the bar next door added to the fabulous afternoon.

A hot chocolate, 1 large, 1 small white wine, 1 coke, 3 mains and 1 dessert = £54.85

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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

The Cellar Restaurant, Anstruther

Today marked 28 years of marriage to OH. Yes, I know. He could have committed murder and got less time but as long as I keep buying him lunch I’m sure he will stick around. Well, as long as he gets a plate every now and again he might ;p

So to celebrate this momentous occasion we decided to dine at The Cellar Restaurant in Anstruther. The Cellar is a Michelin starred restaurant hidden away in the East Neuk behind the Fishery Museum in Anstruther. As soon as you enter you know you’re in for a real treat. The restaurant is tastefully decorated with silver birch beams, real fish skin pictures and tasteful Scottish touches – none of your Bay City Roller tartan or thistle wall paper here.

We took a seat in front of the log fire and enjoyed pre lunch gin and tonics as we poured over the menus deciding between pigeon or crab and halibut or hogget.

It was a set menu with only 2 choices for each course (we were asked when I booked if there were any dietary requirements) As usual we decided to order different courses so we could try everything on the menu. Decisions made on courses and wine and we were taken through to the small restaurant area where there was

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seating for maybe 20 max? Certainly I could see why you need to book well in advance. Incidentally, there was an option to have wine paired with each course but we decided on a bottle of white Rioja that I hoped would fit in with both of our choices.

To start with we were brought an amuse-bouche of Smoked Haddock Mousse, Anster Cheese and Gherkin. It arrived balanced delicately on a box of seashells and looked exquisite. Well, it looked like cream cheese on a Pringle but it tasted way better – the smokey fish amused my bouche perfectly and the mix of crunch and cream worked well together.

Next arrived Ox-tongue, Parmesan and Pickled Onion. This was an odd dish in that you couldn’t see the Ox-tongue. It looked like a bowl of white custard scattered with crispy bits. In the centre was t

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he skin of a pickled onion, which held a green liquid. Yes, I know I should have paid more attention when the waitress told me exactly what it was but I couldn’t take it all in! The creamy stuff was heavy, cheesy and thick then, when you dug deeper, you found the ox-tongue, which looked like Oxo cubes. The first one was really tasty and to me was akin to pork belly. The next one was good and more meaty tasting but then the 3rd one was too much. It was a really rich dish so probably half the amount would have sufficed. The crispy bits and onion skin gave it a much needed crunch but the after taste was like I had just finished a packet of cheese and onion crisps.

Soon after, our starters arrived. OH had Pigeon, Celeriac, Yeast Emulsion and Hazelnut

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(the waitress did describe it better). OH liked his pigeon and thought the hazelnut was a good contrasting texture and balancing flavour. The pigeon was not as pink in the middle as it is often cooked and he preferred it this way. He also liked the rooty celeriac addition to the dish. As it is such a strong meat he appreciated that there was only the one medallion.

My starter was Local Crab, Toasted Rice, Squid and Kelp Jelly. The crab had a perfect square of see-through jelly over it and the rice looked like little maggots

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escaping from its confines. However, it tasted amazing. The crab was fresh with a light, lemony zing and the toasted rice gave it a soft bite. I could easily have eaten more of it.

After a short break our mains arrived. OH had Hogget, White Cabbage, Wild Garlic, Mint and Lemon Thyme. The dish looked beautiful. The hogget was light to taste and served pink.

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The mint sauce was delicate and not overpowering and OH raved about the white cabbage and said this was his favourite dish of the day.

I went for Halibut, Baby Gem, Bacon, Mussel Juice and Charcoal Oil. Immediately I could taste the chargrill effect and loved it. The baby gem was crisp and the mussels

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fat and juice. I did get the occasional hit of salt but I think because I’m trying to reduce my salt intake I’m more attuned to it now.

For dessert OH went for the Apple & Sorrel, Bramble, Brown Butter Curd and Lemon Thyme. When it arrived it looked like lots

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of tiny red apples with green leaves resting on top of a raft, which was adrift on a white, foamy pond.

Of course, I went for the Scottish Cheese, Pickled Walnut and Grapes. To my credit I remember the waitress saying there was also pear jelly (the only additional thing I remember her describing although there were loads throughout the meal).

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I also asked for a glass of port to accompany the cheese board and OH requested a glass of Tokaji, Mad, which was the recommended dessert wine for the dish. Both drinks added a fantastic layer to the course. My blue cheese on a cracker, spread with pear jelly and accompanied with a mouthful of port was fantastic. If I had any complaint it would be that I’d have liked another slice of pickled walnut on the plate. OH enjoyed his dessert and couldn’t have been more complimentary about the wine pairing.

To finish off our meal we decided a couple of Irish Coffees would hit the spot and when they arrived they were accompanied with

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chocolate orange truffles, fruit jellies and, in a cinnamon box, some salted fudge. Anything chocolate and/or orange I need to give a wide berth to so my loss is OH’s gain. He says it was velvety, rich, dark and cocoay (is that a word?) The fudge was good but bad. I love fudge but this was really sweet, which was great but, again, maybe it’s me and salt just now, it had a funny after taste to it.

Service was impeccable. The time between dishes was spot on, descriptions of food added to the meal, napkins were replaced and glasses topped up whenever needed, to the point that all tasks were completed naturally and almost without being noticed.

The bill came to £142 2 set lunches @ £35 each, alcohol £72 (gin, wine, dessert wine, port, Irish coffees)

A fantastic wedding anniversary meal, which we won’t forget.

The Rockies Restaurant, Anstruther

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The view from The Rockies Restaurant

Totally by accident OH and his friend found The Rockies Restaurant in Anstruther, Fife. They had been looking to play a round at the golf course (that was a round not around!) and noticed that the menu in the club house looked pretty good. I didn’t need my arm bent behind my back to pay it a visit so OH and I dined there yesterday.

Although the actual restaurant is pretty basic it doesn’t really matter as the view of Anstruther takes your breath away. Any big outlay on decorations would be wasted as you spend the whole time looking out of the window either back inland to the picturesque fishing village on the Fife Coastal Path or out over the Forth where the Isle of May and the Bass Rock lie .

The lunch menu offered 2 courses at £10.95 and 3 for £13.95 and the soup of the day was lentil.

OH went for the Chilled Gala Melon with 2014-09-27 15.33.42local berries and raspberry coulis and I had the Chicken Liver with Thyme pate with oatcakes and red onion marmalade to start. I cleared my plate and loved the oatcakes and onion marmalade which accompanied the pate perfectly. The salad dressing ensured I also 2014-09-27 15.33.47finished every scrap of the salad too.   I’ve just asked OH what he thought of the melon and he said “it was very nice by the way.”

It wasn’t too long before our mains arrived. OH had decided on the Seared Sirloin Steak with sauteed onions, mushrooms, corn on the cob, fries and garlic butter. It had a £4.50 supplement, 2014-09-27 15.45.46something that OH always denies noticing when he orders ;p I had the Corn Fed Chicken Ballotine with Toulouse forcemeat stuffing with a tarragon and mustard cream sauce. OH raved about his steak and said that the addition of the corn on the cob really made the dish as the buttery sweetness from it complimented the steak beautifully. I enjoyed my chicken but a word of caution to others who haven’t just been to the south of France (;p)  – the Toulouse forcemeat is a strong taste that you may not be used to.2014-09-27 15.46.00

There was a menu of liqueur coffees on the table that OH had been eyeing during his lunch so instead of a dessert he had a Rockies Coffee – coffee and Glayva. It came with a shortbread biscuit and 2 little squares of peanut butter millionaire shortbread. I always like it when the non-coffee drinker gets a bit of sugariness too (yes I’m easy pleased!) .

The main meals could probably have been better presented but they were tasty and great value for money. The waiter and waitresses were charming and eager to help and I will definitely be recommending this hidden gem to others.

2 Starters, 2 mains + £4.50 supplement, a liqueur coffee, a pint and a coke = £34.15