The Saint, St Andrews, Fife

Yesterday OH and I were in St Andrews to do some research for my new book – a murder mystery set in St Andrews (if you’re interested my last book is available to download here The Same Individuals) Anyway, it was lunchtime and I remembered that the West Port Bar had undergone a revamp and had changed its name so we decided to try it out.

We discovered it was now called The Saint. Inside it was still the same layout but there was new fancy wall paper and some lovely lighting. We were sat in an intimate little niche, which would have been great if I wasn’t such a nosey bint and wanted to see what everyone else is eating. Immediately we were offered a jug of water and when the waitress returned with it she asked us if we wanted any other drinks. And when she returned with our drinks she took our order for food. It’s a simple way of attending to a table but it works really well and more restaurants and bars should do this.

The menu was big and had the same old pub food – fish and chips, burgers, scampi and pies but additionally there was duck, salmon and pork chop. To me it was a pretty boring IMAG9975menu and nothing jumped out so I ordered the  fish and chips. However, I asked if I could get some Bloody Mary Ketchup on the side, which was offered with the scampi. It was the only thing that did stand out and I really fancied trying it. The waitress said it wasn’t a problem at all. When my fish arrived I was disappointed not to see tartare sauce as well but as I had asked for ketchup it was justified. Initially, the fish melted in my mouth but then it got a bit greasy. The chips were a big hit, chunky and obviously hand cut. The ketchup wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would have been and lacked any kind of kick. Overall it was an okay plate of food.

OH ordered the IMAG9974Fish Pie – Scottish peat smoked haddock, leek and garden herbs, topped with creamed mash. Surprisingly, the waitress asked if he wanted potatoes or chips with it. Automatically OH asked for chips.

When the pie arrived I could see they hadn’t taken much time in piping the mash on top and had went for the dodding it on method instead. It took ages for OH to eat his pie as it was so hot, which meant he ate all his chips and veg first so there wasn’t a lot of room left for the pie but he battled on regardless. OH said the potatoes on top were dry but this wasn’t a criticism. Inside there was loads of smoked fish within a nice creamy sauce. He enjoyed his pie although he felt completely stuffed after overdosing on carbs.

When we asked for the bill the waitress appeared with it and the card machine at the same time. More service bonus points!

2 mains, 2 pints and a coke = £34 so not the cheapest bar lunch we’ve  had recently but OH did get the opportunity to waddle for the rest of the day and complain he could no longer see his feet.

 

 

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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