The Giddy Goose, Dundee

At a loss for something to do but knowing we wanted to eat, we found ourselves driving up the Perth Road in Dundee looking for a parking place so we could have a look at the menus at the numerous restaurants dotted along the road.

We eventually settled on The Giddy Goose at it looked interesting and it announced itself as a pizza and wine bar. Inside the decor was boho chic. Purple lamps with bright yellow shades, turquoise couches and a forest of green plants hanging from the indoor pergola. There was also an outdoor seating area which was carpeted with artificial grass. We were seated indoors (because it’s June in Scotland) and given menus.

Pizza, pasta, burgers, grazing dishes, steaks and plates were all available. There was also the offer that most things could be gluten free and there was a whole section for vegans. Looking for easy to eat comfort food I decided on King Prawn & Gorgonzola Mac & cheese and OH plumped for the Chicken and Smoked Mozzarella Saltimbocca – creamy baby corn, toasted almond and herby tagliatelle.

We waited a while for our meals to arrive so I wasted the time by taking photos of my wine glass and carafe.

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After a while a waitress came up and apologised for our wait and explained the saltimbocca takes a while to cook.

Beige

Eventually our dishes arrived. My dish looked beige and boring. It really could have done with a colourful plate to make it look more appealing, even a smattering of basil or watercress would have made a difference. It was tasty enough but the sauce was thin and there was not that many prawns compared to the amount of macaroni. As everything was the same texture, I felt if they had added some sugar snap peas it would have lifted the whole dish. I got bored eating it very quickly and left quite a bit as it just wasn’t worth the calories.

OH’s on the other hand had everything. Colour, texture and loads of flavour.

saltimbocca

He loved his dish saying the sun-dried tomatoes were excellent, the pasta tasty and the chicken stuffed with mozzarella and sage and wrapped in prosciutto was delicious. He also had to leave some but for the totally opposite reason from me – he was as stuffed as the chicken because it was such a huge plateful of different tastes and textures. He was that full he didn’t even ask to look at the dessert menu!

Lovely decor, service was excellent and the menu was great for gluten intolerant people and vegans.

2 main meals, a 250ml carafe of wine and a no-alcohol beer = £34.90

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The V&A and The Wine Press, Dundee

On Saturday I was spending the day with my mum so we decided it was about time we visited the V&A in Dundee. I was also keen to visit The Wine Press as I had seen friends of ours checking into it and from their pics and the website it looked like a place I wanted to visit. And for this reason I asked OH if he wanted to be the chauffeur for the day. (I’m not daft)

The V&A, which sits right next to The Discovery on the banks of the River Tay is a building that makes you take far too many photos as there are so many great angles and views. It’s free to get in although there is a cost if you want to see any private exhibitions that may be on. The public exhibition of Scottish Design was interesting and they have managed to incorporate a vast amount of drawings, samples, models and videos all depicting Scottish designs. The outdoor balconies offer amazing views over the Tay and as well as a shop, there is also a restaurant and cafe inside. However, we were on a mission to visit The Wine Press so we didn’t hang around for a coffee.

The wine bar was just a short walk from the V&A. However, it is across a number of busy roads and I have to say the crossing weren’t the best. For some reason there is no loud beeping noise to let you know it’s the green man and the signs that show the green men aren’t facing you – they’re attached to the posts just above where you press the button so you have to stay alert.

The Wine Press don’t take reservations on Saturdays so it’s first come first served, which was great for us arriving just after midday but not so much for the people who got there after 1 and had to sit at the bar until a table became free.

The food menu is fairly limited as the focus is more on the wine, of which there are loads to choose from. One of the quirks of TWP is that you can buy a card at the bar and help yourself to wine from a machine, which keeps the more eclectic or higher end wines in a perfect condition.

The food menu has 4 different sharing boards. Cheese, charcuterie, antipasti and camembert. There was also soup, bar snacks and a list of small plates, which you could order like tapas. On the specials board there were some pies. We decided to have the Tomato and red pepper soup along with the charcuterie board – 4 cured continental meats, artisan bread, khobez flatbread, beetroot and spring onion salad, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, fig, plum and apple chutney.

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The soup was delicious and although we had ordered a small bowl it was more than enough. The accompanying bread was soft and very fresh. The sharing board (meant for 2) was enough for the 3 of us along with the soup and nothing went to waste. The meat wasn’t too dry or too strong and the figs were lovely.

The service was impeccable, there was a good atmosphere and the decor was tasteful. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a wine bar and a small bite to eat.

3 small soups, a sharing board, a bottle of white and a non-alcoholic beer for the chauffeur = £47

Café Montmartre, Dundee

One of our favourite places to go for an authentic taste of France locally used to be in Cupar, Fife. However, Café Montmarte had the audacity to move to Dundee so unfortunately was no longer on our beaten track. However, it did go on our list of places to go when we want to travel further afield (and OH doesn’t mind not getting any wine).

So today was the day we ventured over the Tay Bridge. imag5568I called the night before to book a table and I’m glad I did as although there were only 3 people in the restaurant when we arrived by 1.25pm the room was full and there were no spare tables for anyone walking in off the street.

We ordered from the Set Lunch menu (a la carte and snack menus also available). When we go out we always try to order something different and usually this isn’t a problem as we have very different tastes. However, today we both wanted to have the Duck rillettes pate but since OH was driving I let him  win. imag5570They arrived served on crusty bread garnished with apple and plum relish. Initially OH raved about his choice and  I had to agree when I tasted the pate. It had a great texture and a nice but not over powering gamey taste. However, by the end of it OH needed a mouthful of my wine to help the pate down as it’s richness  became too much. There was nothing wrong with it just too big a portion.

imag5569For my starter I had Calamar & prawns in tempura with garlic & dill aioli. The squid was lovely. Not chewy at all and when covered in the aioli just wonderful. The prawns were also done to perfection. I couldn’t leave any aioli so finished it off with some bread.

Sticking with game, OH plumped for Guinea Fowl, which was on the special’s board. I don’t have the exact description but the French owner reported it as being with beans and sausage. You can see for yourself from the pic. I haven’t had Guinea Fowl for over 26 years since the first and only time I have had the bird I thought I was licking the cobblestones in a farmyard. Yuck. It obviously put me off. However, when I tasted OH’s it was nothing like that at all. It was a cross between chicken and pheasant and therefore, not too gamey. OH enjoyed it and said all the ingredients worked well together. Himag5571e loved the potato and leek mash and the bean cassoulet but again his only complaint was that the portion was too big. He hates waste and was brought up to clear his plate so having to leave food upsets him.

For my main I opted for the Oven roasted salmon steak, set on spinach, ginger and beurre blanc sauce. The salmon was perfect and the sauce glossy and thick. I wasn’t keen on the tomimag5572atoes, which looked roasted but tasted uncooked. It was the same mash as OH’s which stayed hot right to last bite and was lush. Overall I loved it.

Remember how OH was complaining about the portion size being too big? Well, of course he still managed to enjoy a dessert.imag5575 La Boulanerie Opera – fine layers of almond sponge with coffee cream & chocolate ganache, served with espresso ice cream. I just asked OH if he had anything to say about his dessert and he just went “Mmmmm. The coffee ice cream wasn’t too strong, the cake was just slivers of loveliness and it rounded off my meal perfectly”.

IMAG5576.jpgNot having a sweet tooth and taking advantage of the fact there was no supplement, I went for the cheese board.  For once there was more crackers/bread than there was cheese, which was great. I could have done with a little chutney but other than that the cheese was great and the perfect portion size (yes, I know when to leave the bread alone).

Since moving to Dundee, Café Montmarte has lost none of it’s previous ambience and charm. The menus and food are still great and the décor very similar only now our  favourite little bit of Scottish France is now in Dundee but really you should go see for yourself, you won’t regret it.

2 x 3 course set menu lunches, a pineapple juice, 500ml of house wine and a double espresso = £55.20

 

 

 

 

 

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.

The Anchor, Broughty Ferry

2014-11-23 15.50.28OH (other half) and I found ourselves in Broughty Ferry again recently and (since we didn’t have a booking at Sol y Sombra) decided to give The Anchor on Gray Street a try.

When we went in it was really busy, there were a few empty tables but they all had reserved signs on them. However, the bar man spotted us looking and immediately called over to ask if we were looking for a table for food. When we nodded he went to check the book and then showed us to a table which had a reserve sign on it but not until 5 and we were in before 3pm. He then brought over menus and asked for our drink order.

The menu was pretty extensive and very reasonably priced. Although I have to admit I’m not a fan of lengthy menus preferring it when the chef just concentrates on a handful of dishes.

The soup was Tomato and Herb but today wasn’t a starter day. After a dog walk along the beach OH decided on a hearty Chicken Hotpot – chicken, sausage, seasonal veg & potatoes in a rich red wine gravy served with crusty bread.  I plumped for the Seafood pasta  – King Prawns, haddock and mussels served on a bed of linguine smothered in a special white wine cream sauce.

From my seat I had a number of great views. On one tv I could see Crystal Palace beating Liverpool (3-1) and on the other, Lewis Hamilton wining the Grand Prix world championship in Abu Dhabi. I could also see into the kitchen and keep an eye on the till as there was a monitor which showed up the waiter’s name, table number and order. It made me smile when I noticed one of the waitresses had called herself Banana.  OH had a view of me and the back door.

So from my reckoning it was Daniel who was the friendly barman that returned to take our order.

OH then disappeared to the toilet. When he came back he reported, “Well the toilets are clean anyway.” OH rarely describes toilets to me so the fact he made the remark makes them very remarkable indeed!

We did wait a while for our meals but as I said it was busy and when the dishes arrived they certainly looked worth the wait.

OH’s hotpot had a large fillet of chicken surrounded by carrots, mushrooms, onions, peas, turnip and bits of sausage and bacon. There was 2014-11-23 15.10.52 also crispy, deep fried strips of parsnip on the top.  When he had nearly finished he was using his bread to mop up all the gravy and he asked if anyone was looking. I immediately said, “No you’re not licking your plate!” He was joking but it highlighted just how much he enjoyed it.

My pasta was also very tasty. It had large meaty king prawns as well as smaller 2014-11-23 15.11.08ones in the cream sauce. There was a large lump of haddock which flaked as I cut into it and the mussels tasted fresh and there was no trace of grit in them. The garlic and herb bread was a good accompaniment and like OH I used it to make sure I didn’t leave too much sauce behind. To be honest, the only problem with the dish was that I didn’t have a large glass of Pinot Grigo with it as it was my turn to drive.

The Anchor Bar is a busy bar full of locals. There’s no menu outside and you could easily pass by thinking there will be something better round the corner but you will be making a mistake if you do.

Today wasn’t a dessert day either so 2 mains, a pint and a coke was £22.60.

The Anchor, 48 Gray Street, Broughty Ferry. 01382 737899

The View, Newport on Tay

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The view from The View

The last time OH and I headed to Dundee I noticed a sign for The View in Newport on Tay and immediately put it on my list of restaurants to visit when I’m on-call and have to stay in Fife. Today it made it’s way to the top of said list. The aptly named restaurant is across from Dundee and has stunning views over the River Tay and the rail bridge.

We hadn’t booked but were given a window seat without any trouble. The menu was £10.95 for a main meal, £14.95 for 2 courses and £19.95 for 3. Soup of the day was spiced pumpkin with coconut.

2014-10-12 14.14.44After the mix-up with the soup last week I decided to give it a miss and go for the chicken liver, garlic and brandy pate with apple and plum chutney. OH went for the smoked mackerel mousse, prawns, dill cream, sun blushed tomatoes. What I liked most about the starters was that the waitress said if we needed any more toast or bread to just ask, which was a great offer that we didn’t need to take up. However, I maybe could have done with just a little more chutney. (if you look close you can see it hiding under the grass ;p) 2014-10-12 14.14.54

OH loved his mackerel mousse, which was nice and creamy and the prawns on top were a lovely addition.

For my main meal I chose Breast of chicken, chick peas, potatoes, spinach, curry sauce, vegetable pakora. You know how all those wannabes on Masterchef go on about deconstructed meals? Well this was a bit like one of them as the chicken sat on top of the curry sauce. The chick peas, potato and spinach was something I had never had before and really enjoyed so I know I will be trying to replicate it at home at some point. 2014-10-12 14.31.23

2014-10-12 14.31.33For his main meal OH went for Fresh breaded Peterhead plaice, hand cut chips, pea and fennel salad, lemon mayonnaise. Why the fish was from Peterhead and not some place more local I’m not sure. However, OH said it was a good meaty fish in a nice crispy batter and not muddy tasting as some flat fish can be.

OH, who has more of a sweet tooth than me, finished off his meal with Banana and Amaretti biscuit Sundae with hot Belgian dark chocolate sauce and a coffee. Sorry no photo but if you visualise a tall glass full of different shades of brown and yellow with one of those wafer rolls stuck in it, you’ll get the picture 😉

Just as we were finishing our meal 2 older women came in for a high tea which looked wonderful although I thought a little expensive at £12.50 per person. I overhead the waitress saying to them both if they needed a top up for the pot of tea just to ask.  On the same theme but completely different, when I went to the loo there were ladies things in a basket, which you could help yourself to. Again, like the extra toast and bread earlier, it’s these little extra touches that make a big difference.

If you’re in the area The View is worth a visit. 1 x 2 courses, 1 x 3 courses, 2 soft drinks and a coffee came to £41.70.

By the way, if you are visiting The View I’d recommend taking a drive towards Newburgh afterwards for some more gorgeous scenery. 2014-10-12 15.39.23

Sol y Sombra, Broughty Ferry

Every time Lusa has been over from the States I have tried to take her to The Tapas Bar in Broughty Ferry but it has either been the wrong night to go, fully booked or unfortunately for us but not so for the owner and the chef, it was closed due to them being on honeymoon. So it was with a sigh of relief we eventually managed to book a table for Saturday lunch time.

When we arrived I realised they had been busy since my last visit as it had changed its name to Sol y Sombra; the downstairs, which used to be an auld man’s pub, now looked like it was a flamenco bar overlooking the Mediterranean and the stairs leading up to the restaurant had lost their dingy carpet and were now colourfully tiled.

We were seated by a smiley Spanish waiter who took our drinks order and returned with some olives and half a coconut shell containing an assortment of nuts. He then asked if we had been before. Lusa admitted she hadn’t and he immediately welcomed her warmly and explained that there was no menu just set dishes but he needed to know if she had any allergies, dietary requirements or anything she didn’t like. Now I know I have been describing Lusa as fussy but her list of things she didn’t like was remarkably short – no mussels, crab or nuts. With a concerned face ‘Manuel’ quickly checked out that Lusa wasn’t allergic to the nuts in front of her. Lusa assured him she wasn’t and he quickly left. However, it wasn’t long before him and his smile returned with a small dish of crisps just for her. He also told us of a special offer they had on that day. For an extra £4 we could have a plate of  the best ham in the world that had been cured for 4 years and tasted amazing. Well, of course, we just had to try the best ham in the world.  Come on, we’d have been mad not to!

The next time Manuel appeared he had some bread and butter, extra virgin olive oil, teeny bread sticks, red peppers stuffed with cream cheese, the best ham in the world, chorizo, strawberries with balsamic vinegar, homemade aioli, and manchego cheese with prosciutto and grapes (I may have missed out a dish here). He then taught us how to eat the best ham in the world. First of all we had to cleanse our palate by eating one of the teeny bread sticks. We then had to allow the meat to sit in our mouth almost allowing it to melt so that we could get the full taste of it and then we were to chew and get the second taste, which was the flavour of the fat (Manuel maintained it was a healthy fat – is there such a thing?) I have to admit it was full of flavour and I’m glad we tried it but I’m not entirely convinced it was the best in the world but maybe I need to do more research before I contradict Manuel.

The cold tapas selection was great and Lusa and I both loved the stuffed peppers and aioli the best.

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I forgot to take a pic of the cold tapas – sorry

We were still making our way through the dishes when Manual added even more plates to the table. Large shelled prawns, which were sitting in garlic oil that was still sizzling, skewers with chicken, chorizo, peppers, mushroom, Spanish black pudding and onions, hake (which had a longer description but I can’t remember it), paella, potatoes with aioli, goats cheese wrapped in courgette, and asparagus with prosciutto. Everything was delicious and Lusa ate it all – I can no longer call her fussy!! (she’s still high maintenance though ;p) Our favourites this time were the prawns and potatoes.

By the end of it all we were as stuffed as the peppers and although we asked what there was for dessert (just in case there was custard) we passed on the homemade cheesecake or sorbets that were on offer and settled for coffee, which incidentally was lovely.

I really can’t praise Sol y Sombra highly enough. I’ve often been to Spain and have tried various tapas but none of them have impressed in the way that Sol y Sombra has. By not giving you a menu it makes you try things that you probably wouldn’t normally order and as you have already told them what you don’t like you can relax in the knowledge that you’re not going to hate anything they bring you.

You really must visit for yourself but make sure you phone in advance as it’s often fully booked up.

2 cokes, 2 x set meal + the best ham in the world, 2 coffees = £41.90.

(Sol y Sombra don’t have a website but click this link for their Tripadvisor page and if you’re looking fr their phone number it is 01382 776 941)