19th Hole, Earlsferry, Fife.

Yesterday OH and I went for a walk along the beach next to Elie Golf Course, it was a fabulous day and there were a number of golfers making the most of the links course. Of course, after a walk in the summer sun, the next sensible thing to do is go for a pint and it just so happened that next to the golf course is The 19th Hole.

We went in just for a drink but once in, we checked out the menu, the decor, the clientelle and decided to stay for something to eat.  The menu had the normal kind of bar food options such as burgers, steak pie, mac and cheese but with more local fish dishes than your average pub. However, what made it stand out were words like freshly delivered, made to order, artisan and East Neuk, which is the local area just in case you didn’t know.

OH decided on a Crab Salad and I asked for a starter size of mussels. As we waited, I looked around and noticed the coat rack was made out of golf clubs and the leg of the table was hidden in an old leather golf bag. There was tennis on the large tvs and also a fireplace to relax in front of. I nipped to the loo and the sign on the door was a lady putting, the door handle was a putter, there was another door with turf on it. Inside there was a display of golf balls under the sink. Yes they have taken the golfing theme to the nth degree but actually, it works.

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By the time I returned from the loo my mussels were already on the table and OH was tucking into his crab salad. Now, normally I’d be annoyed that someone had delivered my food when I wasn’t at the table but we were sitting in the bar rather than the restaurant as we had the dog with us. In the restaurant you are able to see the chef at work as it’s open plan and I’d like to think if he could see our table he would have held it back until I was there.

The crab was abundant on OH’s salad, which was good to see. He enjoyed it immensely describing it as light and fresh. Even the potatoes got a special mention.

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Along with my plate of mussels was a finger bowl and empty plate for the shells. My mussels were plump and very hot. The sauce wasn’t salty or gritty as can often happen. Instead it was creamy and the onions had a nice crunch. There was a couple that weren’t open and one had a beard but overall I enjoyed them. The accompaning bread was chargrilled and dunking it into the sauce was lush. I even asked for a spoon so I could sup the rest up.

Whilst we were eating it was the chef that popped out to ask if our food was okay, which meant so much more than one of the bar staff asking.

The 19th Hole is a place you need to seek out as it’s well off the beaten path but I would definitely recommend it.

2 pints, a starter size of mussels and a crab salad = £24.40

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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.