A Room with a View, Aberdour.

My cousin from LA has been over recently (my mum and her mum are sisters) so we decided we would all go out for lunch. After many discussions and not being organised enough to book an afternoon tea we eventually decided on A Room with a View. This was for a couple of reasons 1. Lusa is pescatarian and the seafood menu at Room with a View means she wouldn’t be a PESTatairan and 2. It has been on my list for years but the myth of it being hard to get to had put me off. However, when I phoned up to book, I was asked if I needed a lift down to the restaurant that overlooks the Forth and is right on the edge of the coast, as they offer free transport from anywhere in Aberdour.

OH very kindly offered to run us there and took us right to the door in his 4×4. We were all very grateful as my initial plan had been to park in the car park at the top of the hill and walk down but it soon became evident the road is not for the faint-hearted so if you go (and you should) take them up on their offer of a free lift.

The restaurant is part of The Forth View Hotel and has a very homely feel to it. When we arrived we had a seat in the lounge and were offered drinks. Shinty Awards covered the shelves and old black and white photos adorned the walls. We could easily have been sat in someone’s front room. When we were taken through to the restaurant the decor was similar with views over the Forth. Unfortunately it was a dreich day so the views, which would normally be stunning, were grey and faded.

We were given the lunch and wine menus and our water glasses were filled up. All four of us love seafood and we had a genuine difficulty in picking what we would have as everything sounded great.

We eventually all manged to decide on something. Lusa had Sweet Potato Fritters with Harissa Salsa. Maxi-me had Room with a View Scotch Egg, Scottish salmon & Dunbar Quails Egg on a green Lentil & Asparagus Salad. AA and I both plumped for Smoked Mackerel. smoked salmon & radish pate with Arran Oaties.

As we waited on our orders we were given bread rolls, which were warm and moreish. One of the other tables were delivered a hamper, which was full with tasters of all the starter options and I think we maybe mucked up by not ordering that.

Our starters soon arrived and MM’s scotch egg was the winner and we all had dish envy when it arrived. MM said it was just as good as it looked and the salad was exceptional, which annoyed Lusa who said she was a bit disappointed in her salad and would have preferred MM’s. Her harissa salsa was very sweet and not as hot as I thought it would be. She enjoyed her dish but said she wouldn’t order it again and wished she had ordered the soup (leek, potato and watercress topped with prawns). My pate was very fishy and I loved it. As ever there is never enough oatcakes but an hour later I was really glad there weren’t more.

For main MM chose Pan fried sea bass fillet served on apple, bacon & celery risotto, Lusa had Halibut & herbs served en-croute, potato wedges, baby carrots & onion veloute and AA and I both went for Sole fillets stuffed with fresh mackerel, scallop roe bisque, mangetout and hand cut chips.

MM enjoyed her sea bass and said the risotto worked well, especially with the bacon, which added an extra layer. Lusa’s dish looked like a pasty and was jam packed with halibut. She said the highlight of the dish was the onion veloute as without it the dish would be dry but this made the meal and there was enough to keep pouring over as she cut her way through it. Lusa was disappointed with her potato wedges and thought they could have done something a bit more adventurous with the potato. My stuffed sole was lovely and the accompanying bisque was fantastic, which was rich, creamy and not at all salty. The mangetout was still crunchy and my chips were good but I had to agree with Lusa that the chips didn’t go with the dish but then the plate did need the texture.

To dessert or not to dessert, that was the next question. The sisters decided they were fine with coffee and Lusa and I debated what sweet we would share. We eventually went for the Rhubarb Crumble as it came with custard and the states don’t do custard. The crumble was good and just as you would want with not too thick nor too thin sweet custard to compliment the tart rhubarb. I have to apologise as I didn’t take a pic of the dessert menu so you’ll have to visit A Room with a View yourself to find out what else was on the sweet menu.

Crumble

We all enjoyed Room with a View, we loved the menu and it ticked loads of boxes. There were a number of compliments for the plates the dishes were served on, throughout our meal the service was excellent and our wine glasses were rarely empty. When you go (and you definitely should) don’t go and expect stylish decor or highfalutin toilets as all the attention has been placed on the food, which is as it should be.

4 starters, 4 mains, 1 dessert, 2 coffees and 2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc = £153.30

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The Bank, Anstruther, Fife

IMAG9861A few months ago I was at a meeting in the Dreel Hall in Anstruther. As usual, I was far too early and went for a walk around the graveyard. Sitting on a bench, overlooking the Dreel Burn merging with the Firth of Forth, I noticed a conservatory sticking awkwardly out from the back of where I knew to be a bar. However, in my mind I thought it was an auld man’s kind of pub. It got me wondering and therefore it went on to my list of places for OH and I to visit (btw I’m always looking for recommendations).

We parked the car just dIMG_20180721_175027_504own the side of the Dreel Halls and crossed the Dreel Burn using the large square stepping-stones that take you on to the beach next to the end of Shore Street. From there we followed the Fife Coastal Path up to the back of The Bank and through their beer garden. Following our noses we climbed some stairs and ended up in the bar where we were taken into the conservatory and given a table with a lovely view of rooftops and the Forth and given a lunch menu along with a leather-bound one. When I opened the bigger menu the first page was a list of drinks so I closed it again and looked at the lunch menu. 2 courses for £12.00. There was fish and chips, burgers, mac n cheese etc, which was fine but nothing really jumped out. Bored I opened the leather menu again and discovered a page of starters, a page of chefs specials, a page of burgers and  a whole page of seafood. Ignoring my normal annoyance at it now being too big a menu, I was back in a good mood and made my decision as did OH. However, no-one appeared to take our order so we sat in a hot conservatory without a drink for far too long. Eventually a different waitress appeared and was about to disappear again when I called her over and told her we were ready to order.

I asked for the ‘Haddock Timbale – Smoked ourselves with oak shavings, poached with prawns and saffron cream, finished with chef’s vegetables and buttered baby potatoes’. When it arrived I was surprised to see the haddock was white and not the usual smokey yellow. However, IMAG9855the sauce was electric yellow and I immediately worried for my white top. The fish was good but white and not smoked, the sauce was a bit salty, the vegetables were good, crunchy and not over done but the best bit was the prawns that were hidden in the drum of haddock. They were large and succulent.

OH ordered the ‘Roasted Sea bass, Crispy skin sea bass fillets, tomato, chorizo, cashews, rocket & new potato salad. It looked fantastic and I was immediately jealous. IMAG9853

It’s not often that OH wins at the food ordering competition we have but he definitely hit the jackpot with the Sea bass. He could not talk more highly about it. The textures, taste and amount were all perfect and created a memorable dish. The cashews and thinly cut chorizo were a big hit as were the fresh tomatoes and crispy skin.

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Leaving a empty plate OH then ordered a pudding from the full-page of desserts. ‘Dutch Apple Flan – Dutch apple pie filled with apple, raisins and cinnamon topped with a glazed lattice pastry, served hot or cold with cream, ice cream or crème anglaise.’ He decided on it hot with ice cream. He was disappointed to find it must have been heated in a microwave as the pastry was soggy but still enjoyed it and managed to leave another empty plate.

Overall, it was a good lunch and we will probably go back just so I can have the Sea bass.

2 mains, 1 dessert, 2 pints of ale and a pint of coke = £40.05

The Rockies Restaurant, Anstruther

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The view from The Rockies Restaurant

Totally by accident OH and his friend found The Rockies Restaurant in Anstruther, Fife. They had been looking to play a round at the golf course (that was a round not around!) and noticed that the menu in the club house looked pretty good. I didn’t need my arm bent behind my back to pay it a visit so OH and I dined there yesterday.

Although the actual restaurant is pretty basic it doesn’t really matter as the view of Anstruther takes your breath away. Any big outlay on decorations would be wasted as you spend the whole time looking out of the window either back inland to the picturesque fishing village on the Fife Coastal Path or out over the Forth where the Isle of May and the Bass Rock lie .

The lunch menu offered 2 courses at £10.95 and 3 for £13.95 and the soup of the day was lentil.

OH went for the Chilled Gala Melon with 2014-09-27 15.33.42local berries and raspberry coulis and I had the Chicken Liver with Thyme pate with oatcakes and red onion marmalade to start. I cleared my plate and loved the oatcakes and onion marmalade which accompanied the pate perfectly. The salad dressing ensured I also 2014-09-27 15.33.47finished every scrap of the salad too.   I’ve just asked OH what he thought of the melon and he said “it was very nice by the way.”

It wasn’t too long before our mains arrived. OH had decided on the Seared Sirloin Steak with sauteed onions, mushrooms, corn on the cob, fries and garlic butter. It had a £4.50 supplement, 2014-09-27 15.45.46something that OH always denies noticing when he orders ;p I had the Corn Fed Chicken Ballotine with Toulouse forcemeat stuffing with a tarragon and mustard cream sauce. OH raved about his steak and said that the addition of the corn on the cob really made the dish as the buttery sweetness from it complimented the steak beautifully. I enjoyed my chicken but a word of caution to others who haven’t just been to the south of France (;p)  – the Toulouse forcemeat is a strong taste that you may not be used to.2014-09-27 15.46.00

There was a menu of liqueur coffees on the table that OH had been eyeing during his lunch so instead of a dessert he had a Rockies Coffee – coffee and Glayva. It came with a shortbread biscuit and 2 little squares of peanut butter millionaire shortbread. I always like it when the non-coffee drinker gets a bit of sugariness too (yes I’m easy pleased!) .

The main meals could probably have been better presented but they were tasty and great value for money. The waiter and waitresses were charming and eager to help and I will definitely be recommending this hidden gem to others.

2 Starters, 2 mains + £4.50 supplement, a liqueur coffee, a pint and a coke = £34.15

Teuchter’s Landing and Roseleaf Bar Cafe

One of my favourite places to visit is Leith in Edinburgh, especially when there’s sunshine on it. Our nephew and niece were visiting a couple of weeks ago so we decided to take a trip to Leith to show them some of the sights. In particular Teuchters’s Landing and Roseleaf Bar Cafe.

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Guinness

It was late Saturday afternoon and OH and our nephew were going climbing in Alien Rock (an indoor wall climbing centre built inside a former church) I’m not into any form of exercise so I talked my niece into coming along for the journey but to check out how good the Guinness was in Teuchter’s Landing rather than getting sweaty and sore.

It was a lovely evening and there was a relaxed atmosphere in the bar. A mixture of couples and small groups were enjoying the views out on to the water in the back conservatory. There was also a family playing cards in the corner as their daughter, safely and well within sight, amused herself outside. We ordered a couple of pints and plonked ourselves on comfy brown leather chairs and chatted. The Guinness was good – maybe not as good as I enjoyed in Dublin but still good.

The time sped by so it wasn’t too long before we were joined by the two climbers and due to a small need to eat we ordered from the bar’s mug menu. The mug menu is a great idea as you can have chips, haggis stovies, mac ‘n’ cheese, cullen skink, chicken wings, stew, soup, curry or risotto all served in either a small or a large mug depending on your appetite.

I ordered the stovies which were tasty but they had put carrots in it!!!! It’s not that I don’t like carrots, I just don’t think they have a place in stovies – it’s just not right (yes I know other’s will argue otherwise).

OH had the Cullen skink, nephew the chicken wings and niece the cheese n mac. We also had a couple of mugs of chips. All the mugs came with oatcakes too and nothing went to waste.

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Mugs of food

Within easy walking distance (basically walk out the front of Teuchter’s and keep walking – across the road and up past the bins) you will find the Roseleaf Bar Cafe – a bar that manages to mess with your senses. Once through the door you can see women pouring from fancy teapots into china cups surrounded by plates of cakes and scones but the aroma isn’t of tea or coffee, what your nostrils pick up is definitely a pub smell, not a cafe. With a drinks menu thrust into your hand you quickly realise that it is actually cocktails that are in the china teapots or more precisely Pot-tails. Although you can get a great cup of coffee or tea in the Roseleaf Bar Cafe their pot-tails are something you need to try. With a huge juicer behind the bar every cocktail is made with fresh fruit pulped in front of your eyes and served in a teapot with an accompanying teacup and saucer (btw individual cocktails are also available and their Bloody Mary’s are great on a Sunday morning). We didn’t dine this time but they do great food and you can also book to have a Mad Hatter’s Tea-party using some of the many hats that decorate the walls.

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Pot-tails

Another quirky aspect is the chalk and blackboards in the toilets so make sure you leave a message for your mate…

 

 

…oh and the chips in Roseleaf are the most amazing chips ever!

Craig Millar @ 16 West End

Last night I was out doing my daughterly duty and spending time with my mum and aged aunts. The chat was all about sick and dead people so it was a lot like Twitter. Anyway, I left OH with instructions to find somewhere to go for lunch today. When I arrived home, full of cake and tea (delivered as it should be – in a china cup with saucer from a teapot), OH had the restaurant picked.  Craig Millar @ 16 West End in St Monans. I was a bit reticent as I knew it was going to be pricey – after all it was just for lunch and not for a special occasion. However, come the morning, it looked like perfect weather for a restaurant with a sea view – bright and very breezy! Therefore, I phoned ahead and booked a table for 1.30pm. The restaurant is the long, white building with the orange roof on the right hand side of the photo.

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When we arrived, we were asked if we wanted a drink in the bar first and ushered through to the cosy, dark bar in back. There was a coal fire burning (it may have been gas) and the walls, which looked like they were covered in original thickly embossed wallpaper were adorned with old black and white photographs of St Monans. Once we had ordered our drinks we were given the lunch menu. There was a (very) set lunch menu of Onion and Cheese Tart, Hake and Puy Lentils with mushrooms and Pannacotta with mango sorbet for £18 or the other menu, which offered 3 choices for each course at £22 for 2 courses and £26 for 3.

Soon we were taken back through to the restaurant, which in stark contrast to the bar was light, airy and had a spectacular view of the Forth. The waves were crashing around us as the waitress brought us some bread, a small round parmesan roll and a slice of foccaccia with rosemary.

When our starters arrived OHs looked very pretty and the photo of his Pea Mousse, pickled mushroom, pea cream and  toasted foccaccia really doesn’t do it justice. ImageHe gave me a wee taste (and then blamed me for the rest of the meal for the green stain he left on the pristine white tablecloth!). I thought the mousse was a bit dull but with the tang from the vinegary mushrooms and the crispy bite of the foccaccia it all came together. OH raved about it saying it was just like posh mushy peas, which he loves. I had opted for the Pig’s Cheek and Puy Lentil, carrot, honey and ginger puree. The presentation was lovely but I felt the addition of a small oatcake wouldn’t have went amiss as the mix of cheek and lentils had the consistency of pate. However, that aside it tasted gorgeous and we were both happy with our starters. Image   OH had to ask the waitress the name of the Japanese mushrooms that had been pickled but she couldn’t tell us at that point but the ensuing conversation led her to say that “Craig doesn’t really do vegetables – he does things with vegetables”, which I thought was the perfect way of describing his cooking. (by the way, it turns out they were shimeji mushrooms.)

For our main courses I opted for Cod with Thai Coconut and Mussel Chowder and OH had Braised Ox Cheek, Truffle Gnocchi and Root Vegetables. My meal was perfectly balanced – the coconut was very subtle, which isn’t a bad thing when you’ve had a nasty one night stand with a bottle of Malibu in 1984. The cod was firm and broke into large flakes that mixed well with the potato mash it sat on and the mussel chowder complimented it all beautifully.Image

OH’s Ox cheek fell apart under his fork and he says he enjoyed every minute of the rich meat. The gnocchi weren’t too heavy or doughy and were a welcome accompaniment to the cheek instead of boring old potatoes. He also says it was the perfect portion size. I sneaked another wee taste and although I could appreciate it was cooked to perfection it was too strong a taste for me so I was glad I had went for the cod.

Just in case you are wondering the other option was Sea Bass, Israeli cous cous and satay sauce.

I’ve probably already mentioned I’m not a pudding person and if I hadn’t of been on call (which means no wine for me) I would have ordered the cheese board that I could see others ordering as it looked like a great mix of cheeses with biscuits and quince. OH, on the other hand, always needs something sweet to finish off his meal so he opted for Mint Chocolate Cremeux  and Malt Ice Cream. (Chocolate Cremeux is something between a chocolate sauce and chocolate mousse and pretty much means ‘just chocolate creamy’). Again OH raved about it (I’ve asked him to describe it and he says yes it was really nice I enjoyed it :S).  Image

He then ordered coffee and it came with 2 decent sized pieces of fudge and 2 little discs of shortbread. I love it when I don’t order coffee or tea but still get the fudge – restaurants should get another award for that added attention to detail, something like The Bean awarded to restaurants that remember not everyone is a coffee drinker.

Of course I had to visit the toilets. Interestingly, there is a well next to the restrooms and if you peer over the edge you can see water far below. I’m sorry to say the loos were a tad disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, they were spotlessly clean and perfectly adequate just not up to the high standards of the restaurant. A spot of hand cream and some small cloth towels would have made all the difference.

The bill came to £60.75 (not incl tip)

Lunch  – £48,  Drinks –  £12.75

All in all, Craig Millar is definitely worth a visit. The service was faultless, the food fantastic, fresh and fishy and the views spectacular. However, I’d keep it for a special occasion, on a day when the sea is at it’s best.  7 ½/10

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