Cafe Circa, Abernyte, Perthshire

There’s an antique and arts centre in Abernyte, which is on the road between Perth and Dundee that OH and I often visit on wet weekend days. It’s a big building full of different antique dealers, new furniture, clothes and a kitchen/deli section. Yesterday, after checking the weather forecast, we decided it was one of those days to visit.

As we wandered around we were stopped in our tracks when we spotted a beautiful chaise longue that would go really well in our living room. It was a good price and it’s a piece of furniture I have always wanted but did I really need one and did I really need it right now? We decided to have something to eat at Cafe Circa the restaurant in The Scottish Antiques and Arts Centre to discuss and mull it over.

The menu was in sections Breakfast, Light Lunch, Mains, Cakes and Bakes. There was also a special boards. In the mains sections it was listed as a set 2 or 3 course meal and didn’t have individual prices so a set 2 course lunch it was. Smoked Haddock Chowder with baked seeded crusty brown bread and butter jumped out from the list of starters, which included tomato, mozzarella and parma ham, salmon bon bons and salad.

The chowder was far too hot but tasted fabulous. It was so thick and creamy you could stand your spoon up in it. It was jam packed full of fish, peppers, potatoes and sweetcorn and the smoked haddock pieces were so big I think I had a whole fillet in my bowl. The bread was also far too tasty and I really wanted to eat both slices but I knew I was already going to struggle with my next course as the chowder was so filling but ever helpful OH didn’t see it go to waste.

For my main I had Tempura Battered Sea Bass and King Prawns
on a rocket and pea shoot salad with lemon and thyme potatoes. The plate arrived with half a field of potatoes and a jungle of green.

The batter was light and crisp and the sea bass and prawns were obviously straight from the fryer. The accompanying soy sauce dip was the coldest thing on the plate so it immediately cooled the king prawns, which were chunky and tailless (that’s a good thing btw, the contrasting cold dip not so much). Unfortunately, the abundance of potatoes were on the hard side and the jungle was in such a tangle there was no delicate way of eating it so both were left on the plate. This was not really an issue though as I was needing an excuse not to eat anymore.

OH had Pulled Beef and Wild Mushroom Wellington
with port gravy, roast potato, green beans and mashed turnip. The pastry was golden and crisp (he says there was no soggy bit, which is my favourite bit ) the mushrooms were under the pastry and around the pulled beef, which melted in the mouth. He had no complaints about his potatoes, which were roast and the veg went well with the dish. He too was struggling to finish (and remember he’d also had a piece of my bread) but to his credit (and thickening waist line) he managed.

There was a dessert menu but for once OH didn’t even want to look at it. However, what jumped out was a Chocolate and Cherry Tartlet with creme fraiche sorbet, which sounds divine.

I would definitely go back but next time I would only have the chowder….and maybe a sandwich.

Two 2 course set lunches, a bottle of locally brewed Abernyte Festbier and a Ginger beer – £40.80.

And in case you are wondering. We didn’t buy the chaise longue.

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The Riverside Inn, Dundee

Last weekend I was off call for work but on call for babysitting duties. The baby in question is our beautiful 1 year old granddaughter (yes, I know you didn’t think I was old enough ;p)

As it was a rotten day on Saturday we tried to think of somewhere indoors that would suit a nosey wee one but also keep our interest too. Therefore, we decided to head north to The Scottish Antiques and Arts Centre at Abernyte in Perthshire, which if you like wandering around old bits and pieces, perusing chic modern furniture, accessories and clothes and finally pick up some fancy cheese in a deli then it is the place to go when it’s raining. There really is something for everyone whether it’s an antique figurine, a brand new footstool or a cup of tea and slice of cake. The down side is that the restaurant area is a bit too upmarket to sit with a toddler. We, therefore, headed along the River Tay to The Riverside Inn in Dundee.

I had thought it was still called The Marmalade Pot but we discovered it had been refurbished and boasted a tv screen at every table and a free soft play area. Yes, I did say a TV SCREEN at every table. It’s anti-social dinning at it’s best. I guess you do have the choice of switching it off but as the waitress led us to our table I didn’t see any blank screens.

What I did like though, was that the table we were shown to had already been set for us with a babyseat and children’s menu. I had brought some food for the wee one so it was just OH and I that needed to decide. As we looked over the menu the waitress brought over some plastic cutlery and chatted with the wee one, which was nice. The menu was the usual pub grub but also advertised hanging skewers and a Build Your Own Burger section. Thinking the DIY burger was too much hassle OH decided to go for a 28 day aged 8oz Rump Steak with seasoned chips, petits pois, mushrooms, onion rings and roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine. I went for the Chicken fajitas with pan-fried peppers, red onions, tortillas, jalapeños, grated Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese, sour cream and salsa.

Whilst we waited I tried to feed our granddaughter but she was far too interested in everything that was happening around us. Other children running around, large groups arriving with presents and balloons and the waitresses passing by with platefuls. However, we soon had her full attention when our food arrived. 2015-02-21 14.26.41My fajitas were sizzling hot and made quite a racket when the dishes were placed in front of me. OH’s steak, although looking good just didn’t have the same pizzazz.    2015-02-21 14.26.48   When I saw the amount of spicy chicken and peppers there were I didn’t think I would be able to finish it all but oh boy did I manage, and enjoyed every drop.

OH made short work of his steak too and managed to lose a few chips to the wee one who preferred them loads more than the food I had provided. I’ve just asked OH to pass comment on his meal and he’s said “You can’t really go wrong with a steak – it was a good bit of beef done the way I asked without any sauce on it.”  So there you have it. 2015-02-21 14.26.34

After we’d scrapped our plates clean, I toddled after the wee one through to the busy soft play area where she spent 20 minutes trying to get everyone’s attention and I spent 20 minutes trying to get her attention to capture a colourful happy pic. We both failed but both had fun.

It’s not a place I’d go for a romantic meal or even a meal with another couple but with kids that arent teens yet (let’s face it teens wouldn’t want to be seen with you out anway)  it’s an ideal place to go and have good food whilst they watch tv and run around in their socks.

One pint of lager and a tin of juice – £4.93 (bought at the bar as we waited on our table) and 2 main meals – £18.98 = a total  of £23.91.