Bridge Inn, Ratho

 

OH and I had arranged to pick my brother and his wife up from Edinburgh Airport on Friday night so instead of hanging around at home waiting for the clock to edge ever forward we decided to head to Edinburgh to get something to eat. I did a quick google on restaurants near Edinburgh Airport and the Bridge Inn in Ratho jumped out as somewhere close, different and exactly what we were looking for.

Finding the Inn wasn’t difficult as it is right on the Union Canal and the only place that jumps out at you in Ratho.

The menu was large and highlighted they must be one of the only pub restaurant in Scotland to employ a full-time gardener, working in their walled garden further up the canal towpath. They also have their own pigs, chickens and ducks – a reason to return for their breakfast menu. During the shooting season they obviously have a word with their local game keeper too.  All these good things added up to various offerings on the menu such as their own sausages, venison, duck and a roast vegetable and puy wellington. With that in mind, I was boring and went for Haddock and chips, from Scottish day boats, lemon, chunky chips, mushy peas. 2016-03-11 19.13.58There was a choice of small or large so I sensibly (with hindsight) went small. OH plumped for the Roast duck breast, pak choi, tomato bulgar, baby courgette honey glaze, jus.

My fish was excellent. The batter spot on, light crisp and not greasy. The mushy peas came in a separate jar in case you’re  the fussy sort (like some people I know – yes I’m looking at you Claire) and don’t like their foodstuffs touching.  I was also given some tartare sauce, which was homemade and I loved.

2016-03-11 19.13.24OH raved about his duck, which was done to perfection. It wasn’t the slightest bit chewy and the perfect shade of pink. He wasn’t so sure about the tomato bulgar and would probably have preferred some roast potatoes but that’s only a slight thing.

As I had went small earlier I had room for a dessert, which when I looked at the menu quickly became cheese. AND (I’m blaming the menu here) because the list of dessert wines and ports were also shown, I decided to be decadent and have a glass of port with it too.

OH chose the Frangipani sponge, vanilla pear, blackberry gel, roast almonds. I didn’t taste it but it looked lovely and OH cleared the plate. 2016-03-11 19.48.54My cheese came with a variety of biscuits, some celery, grapes and a fabulous homemade chutney. I’m guessing here but I think there was grapes and cherries, which had been soaked in booze before being added to the onions. It was lush!  As was the accompanying port.2016-03-11 19.49.02

OH finished his meal with an double espresso (remember he still had to drive to the airport) and I finished my second glass of red.

The service was fantastic – waitresses and waiters alike were friendly, welcoming and helpful.

The bill came to £56.00 (2 mains, 2 desserts, lots of drinks).

The area the Bridge Inn is in looked lovely in the dark and OH and I have decided to return in the summer to check out their decking area, which looks over the canal. This restaurant is off the beaten path but definitely worth a visit – especially if you are picking up someone from the airport.

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A Nice Journey. Not.

As mum (I’m so tempted to call her Maxi-Me but she’d go daft) and I are off to Amsterdam on Monday OH and I aren’t dining out this weekend. However, I’ve recently realised that I wrote a blog post about the awful start to our holiday in Nice earlier this year, which I didn’t post so I thought I’d share it now. Just in case you need your weekly dose of Dear Lorraine…

So anyway as I said….It was a disastrous start to our holiday. Part of the initial problem was due to the fact that we had downed 3 bottles of wine at my mum’s before going to bed too late for our 4.30 am alarm call. When OH got up he was still half asleep and unhappy at the prospect of driving. I was just unhappy because I always get stressed before holidays. I am never happy until I am sitting down in the apartment/hotel room/rented house. And just so you know, this time it was a rented apartment booked through AirBnB, the website that gives you the option of renting a room, shared house or whole house. 2015-06-15 17.07.03We had booked a whole house in Nice on the French Riviera and that was where we were heading – leaving an unusually bright and sunny Scotland behind.

I was trying to remain chilled and OH was bumbling about in the house packing last minute bits and pieces so, being totally ready and prepared, I made myself a coffee and poured it into a travel mug for the car journey.

I then picked up my suitcase and took it out to the car. This was the first bit of bad luck as the handle on my suitcase gave way. Arghhhhh. It ripped right from the fabric and was completely unrepairable, even if I had the time. I’m trying to look on the bright side and think at least it didn’t come round on an airport carousel burst or I’d have had to complain, try to claim compensation and been really annoyed at someone else instead of being able to totally blame myself.

I went back into the house to grumble loudly to OH who was less than sympathetic. He lugged his own bag out and got into the car leaving me to lock up. Second mini disaster. I got my travel mug and keys, set the alarm and left the house only to find something was stopping me getting my key in. As I bent to see his keys blocking the lock I managed to pour coffee down my light blue trousers and shoe. I was not amused. Of course I now couldn’t go back into the house because I had set the alarm so I marched back to the car to blame OH for the whole sorry mess. I thrust my travel mug into the car, muttered angrily and returned to the house to try and lock the door again.

Eventually back in the car we drove away from our house.  I attempted to drink my coffee but of course it was dripping all down the mug and over me. Tissues were flung at me and we travelled to the airport in silence. Well, we did until we got stuck in traffic approximately a mile before the airport. That mile took as 20 minutes and started us bickering again. It also made us late parking in the long stay car park. There is nothing worse that standing at a (shuttle) bus stop waiting for someone else to pick you up. We both tried to judge if we would be able to walk to the airport faster than the bus would take. Thankfully, before we decided, the bus turned up and ferried us the relatively short distance to the airport. We rushed inside and into security where it was like a cattle market. Prime bits of meat being penned, prodded and pushed along in perfectly formed queues. Stripped of all our personal belongings and made to walk through metal detectors we eventually managed to scurry to the departure gate and straight on to our flight as it was last call to Nice. We had just made it!

By the time I sat on the plane I was shattered. The red wine, lack of breakfast and general rushing about had taken its toll so I decided to get some shut eye. Sleeping on public transport is not my forte but I was going to give it a good go. 5 minutes into my nap and OH woke me up to ask if I wanted coffee. Eh, no! Of course that was me. I’d had 5 minutes so there was no getting back to sleep so it was the in-flight travel magazine from cover to cover to pass the time as, obviously, my kindle was stored safely in the overhead locker and I was in the middle seat  .

Thankfully, we managed to get out of the airport pretty smoothly in Nice – a slight difficulty in finding the bus ticket office but a quick stop at the information desk solved that and before long we were on the bus hurtling towards our well-earned break. I knew it was only a couple of stops so I didn’t mind that the bus was packed and I couldn’t get a seat. I wanted to be in prime position for getting off of the bus.

I saw our stop, picked up my bag, pressed the bell and watched the bus stop tearing past. I saw the next 3 stops go past too as I frantically pressed the button. Nope. The bus wasn’t for stopping – it was like something out of Speed. 3 kilometres down the road and eventually another passenger went up to the bus driver and demanded that she stopped. Half a dozen people alighted alongside us.

It was easily 25 degrees in the midday sun as we lugged our suitcases back up towards our apartment. There were very little words between us as we sweated our way along the coast.

The house numbers started at 67 and we had to walk up to 303. Needless to say my feet started to blister and my face was the colour and shape of a tomato. I was a pretty sight. When we got to number 303 there was a push button entry system and no obvious signs for what button I had to push. I started pushing them all. No-one answered. OH was pissed off, I was pissed off and, I swear, it was the sunniest day of the year. My t-shirt was sticking to me, as was my hair. You could have planted rice on my back it was that wet. I pressed every button again. I sent a text to the apartment owner. I tried to piggyback on to someone’s Wi-Fi to see if I could get in contact with someone that could help. All to no avail.  OH insisted we went somewhere to sit down for a drink. We ended up in a crumby pizzeria sharing a pizza. It was then that I received a message asking if I was at the door number 233 on a completely different street as I had been given. Eh? It turned out there was 2 entrances and her buzzer was on the back door not the front. Arghhh.

2015-06-15 20.28.10

The problem pipe

We finished up our pizza and, not even stopping for the toilet, made our way to the back door and (thankfully) were invited inside. When we got to the apartment door we could see there were men drilling. Plumes of dust filled the air. Pierre, our landlord, apologised profusely for the mess and explained they’d had a broken pipe the day before. The whole apartment (and the one below) had been flooded. Therefore, they had the workmen in doing an emergency repair job and as there was no water, could we come back later?

I felt like Mary and Joseph when there was no room at the inn. Desperately we asked, “Can we just come in for a short while please?”

“Oui, oui. Would you like a bierre?”

Would I?  Without hesitation. “Oh yes please!”

Well long story short. He only had one bierre but he had a large bottle of ‘cidre’, which had my name all over it. I drank the majority of it before I realised there we no water and therefore no toilet!

I must have taken on the shape and form of a camel at that point as it was approximately another hour before I got to relieve myself. It cost me the price of a diet coke in a French café but it was worth every penny.

When we returned to the apartment Pierre was still there as the work men were just finishing up. He proffered us a bottle of Champagne as way of an apology. I swear it didn’t hit the sides.

So that was the start of our holiday. Thankfully, the champagne was the start of it getting better.2015-06-15 20.49.27

Tunisia – day 1

A couple of months ago Mini-me and I were chatting about holidays and things to do. After a glass or 2 of wine we decided a week in the sun doing nothing except soaking up the sun and drinking cocktails was the definite way forward. OH and her bf weren’t getting an invite – this was going to be a girly, mother ‘n’ daughter sunshine romp! As it was much cheapness it didn’t take me long to book an all-inclusive holiday in Tunisia.

I had to work right up until the last minute as I was oncall and unfortunately ended up having to go out and do a visit grrr. However, as this didn’t give me a lot of time to pack it ended up being a good thing as I didn’t keep putting last minute essentials into my suitcase as I usually do when I have time and room to spare.

Leaving our home town well and truly behind Mini-me drove us to the secure car park next to Edinburgh airport. Although it was £36 to park for the week it turned out to be hassle free and money well spent. As, as if by magic, the screen next to the barrier lit up with our surname (having electronically read Mini-me’s registration) and invited us to take a ticket and then to park anywhere we found a space. We then walked to the nearest bus stop and in less than 5 minutes a bus picked us up and deposited us at the airport. There was no queue at check-in so we skipped ahead to security and with no liquid nitrogen or hidden bombs in our shoes we were allowed through to test as many perfumes as we wanted.Image

Stinking like two expensive hookers but looking like a middle age mum and daughter going on holiday we hit the bar and ordered our first drink of our trip. £9.10 for 2 drinks – roll on all-inclusive alcohol!

Even before we had finished our drinks our flight was being called and before we knew it we were sitting on the flight and ready for take off.

You could tell it was a holiday flight and everyone was gearing up for a fun time as there were people drinking cans of Tennents behind me and women sneaking drink from their duty free stash in front. The pilot soon put paid to this and made announcement involving the illegality of it and the police being there to greet the flight when we landed. It was just a threat at this stage but it ended up being one he had to follow through on because then some complete twat decided to have a fly ciggie in the toilet. Then, when he was caught, instead of putting it out properly he threw it into the paper towel bin and nearly set the plane alight. The pilot sounded really pissed off with his next announcement and obviously the police had to be contacted this time.

Thankfully it wasn’t as ‘exciting’ as it could have been and our flight details didn’t need to be mentioned on the 10 o’clock news!
With hindsight I maybe should have tried to set the flight alight as we may have got through passport control a bit quicker. It was the worst bit of the holiday so far! Everyone was tired, pissed off and short tempered. Including Mini-me who nearly started WW3 when an glammed up old German woman tried to push in the queue in front of her. Mini-me was haivng none of it and put the glamorous granny firmly in her place, which was behind Mini-me.

Eventually, we got to our hotel and were immediately shown to the dinning area where thoughtfully they had left out some bread and salad. Unfortunately, before we got there a swarm of locus descended on the buffet and wiped it out within minutes. Mind you, grated carrot on flat bread turns out to be quite nice when you’re tired and hungry.

We were then given our room key (minus our bags) and off we trotted to see what delights were in store for us. A swan made from towels holding a couple of sweets tried to hide the fact that the room was best described as adequate. Saying that, it was clean and had air conditioning so it was better than some beach hotels I have stayed in.

The bags arrived and we departed to search for the bar. Mini-me was on lager and I decided it was a gin night. We sat til midnight making sure there was consistency in each drink. Happily there were no issues with the free alcohol.