Balgove Larder – Steak Barn, St Andrews

Today OH and I paid a visit to Balgove Larder, just outside St Andrews, to have a meal in their Steak Barn.

We have seen the blackboard signs advertising the farm shop along with steak and chips on numerous occasions but had never ventured in so finding ourselves hungry outwith normal bar lunch times we decided today was the day.

When you drive in you can see Balgove Larder in front of you and a large barn to the right. The barn is made from old potato crates and inside it is full of long, communal, hand made tables and benches.  At the back of the barn you can see the wood fired BBQ where the majority of the food is cooked on. No reservations are taken so when you turn up it’s where ever there is room. However, it was not that busy so we were seated at an empty table and given our menus. A list of specials, the regular menu and a drinks one. IMAG7352

Starters were approximately £9 each and looked like smaller portions of the mains although one that jumped out was pigeon kebab, strawberries and feta salad. The special mains were roughly £18 each and there were options such as sticky bbq pork ribs, mussels, chicken kebabs and  fish and chips(£15). The regular menu had burgers, sausages and steaks. The steaks, which were £19 (the fillet was £25) are all hung for 28 days and cooked to order on the BBQ.  There were only a couple of vegetarian options but then it is a Steak Barn and not a mushroom shed.

I noticed on the drinks menu they did a Bloody Mary, which usually means it will be a good one so that was an easy decision.  The waitress asked if I wanted it spicy. Of course I did. The barman delivered it personally. Spicy was an under statement  it was rocket fuel and lush. OH had a pint of Eden Mill 19th lager.

For food I decided on the Balgove Beef Burger – steak burger, lettuce, tomato, relish, twice fried chips and salad leaves £8.95. IMAG7356The burger was easily an inch thick and the tastiest burger I have ever had. You could have added cheese, bacon or jalapenos for an extra £1.25 but I had it plain.

I hate when you have to commit to a burger because you know if you put it down you won’t be able to pick it up again in one piece. However, this bun did not collapse or slide and I was able to pick it up and put it down at will and enjoy the chips whilst they were still hot, dipping them in the relish.

OH had an 8oz Rib Eye Steak, which also came with twice fried chips and leaves. As you can see it was served on a board so of course OH had to ask with a deep sigh, “Why do we never get plates any more?”

IMAG7355OH enjoyed his steak and said it was melt in the mouth. Later when I was asking him to rate it against other steaks he has had in the past he said it was within his top 6 but what let it down was a lack of tasty vegetables alongside it. His leaves obviously didn’t impress. Like mine, his chips looked like chip shop chips but some how actually managed to taste better.

For dessert OH went for Eton Mess, which arrived as a lovely, messy dollop on a slate. IMAG7358There was plenty of everything – the raspberries were fresh and tasted home grown, the meringue was crunchy and chewy and the mess did not last long at all.

As OH was having a dessert and an Americano, which arrived in a paper cup (obviously they use the tin mugs to keep the cutlery in)  I decided to have a pint of Cairn O Mhor Pictish Cider, which made my mouth look like a cat’s ass.

As you pay your bill at the bar on the way out I asked the barman about the Bloody Mary and he said that he used special tomato juice that you can buy in the Larder that has a hint of clam to it. I couldn’t quite make out the name he said but I knew it started with a C so OH and I went over to the Larder to buy some. We searched the whole of the shop but could only find Big Tom. We spotted there was a make of soft drink called Cawston Presse and a gap in the line so I wondered if perhaps the tomato juice had sold out. Just then an older member of staff appeared so I asked if there was a Cawston tomato juice that might have sold out. She looked at me and said “I don’t stock it” and walked off without another word. And on that note we left without buying anything. Fortunately/unfortunately she was the only thing that left a bad taste in my mouth during my visit to Balgove Larder and Steak Barn.

2 mains, a dessert, 2 pints, a Bloody Mary and a coffee = £46.65


By the way, when I got home I googled the tomato juice and it was Clamato.

The Red Squirrel, Lothian Road, Edinburgh

Sunday’s are made for Bloody Marys and brunch. Or, if you’ve had a lie in and missed the cut off time, a gourmet burger and seasoned fries. And that is exactly the hangover cure I had today in The Red Squirrel in Edinburgh.

When I ordered the Bloody Mary the waitress gave me one of those looks so full of approval I felt like I’d passed some kind of test. The look also held a smidgen of jealousy and a dollop of pride because she looked sure in the knowledge that they serve a damn fine Bloody Mary in her workplace. She asked if I wanted it spicy. Oh yes please. Her smile told me I had answered correctly.    2015-01-18 12.50.27-1I wasn’t disappointed when it arrived. It looked great in a large glass and it was very hot but not overly spicy. It was heavy on Worcestershire sauce and not for the faint-hearted but it went down a treat and managed to melt all the frozen bits the walk down Lothian Road had left me with.

I was annoyed we couldn’t order brunch but it was my fault we didn’t arrive until after 12.30 (they stop serving it at 12) so I didn’t complain. Without the options of the breakfast menu you’re left with mainly burgers or lighter meals and snacks. So burger it was. I went for the The ‘Red Squirrel’ BBQ 6oz beef patty, smoked bacon, fried onions, peppers, smoked applewood cheddar, kc sauce burger and 2015-01-18 13.04.33 OH, who had been up early and had a bacon roll before we left, ordered the Beetroot Salad  – Salt baked beetroot, raw beetroot, green apple, crème fraiche, pickled shallot, vinaigrette.  2015-01-18 13.04.21  OH said his salad was crispy and tasty and the mix of ingredients went well together. My burger was good although, like most burgers, it fell to bits at the end. I’m not entirely sure if it was smoked bacon they used as the BBQ aspect of it didn’t really come across – it was really only the smoked cheese I could taste but my seasoned fries saved the day as they were amazing and worth popping in just for them.

Service was really good and the bill for a Bloody Mary, a non-alcoholic beer, a salad and a burger came to £24.00.

P.S, If you’re into craft beers you really should check out their extensive drinks menu <<< click there