The Kinneuchar Inn, Kilconqhuar, Fife.

Last week after visiting Bowhouse Market we went for a drive and noticed that the Kinneuchar Inn in Kilconqhuar was open again (after being shut for 2 years) so we popped in. We chatted with Aletha Palmer who told us her and her partner, renowned chef, James Ferguson had come up from London to open the restaurant. After having a couple of drinks and a nosey at the menu we booked a table for lunch the following Saturday. And of course yesterday was that day.

When we arrived we were seated and given menus and the specials board was read out to us. The menu was confidently simple (thanks to my SiL for that description) but also a little disappointing. I had already known there would only be a meat dish, a fish one and a veggie option but the main meat was mince and tatties! And that was the exact description. I don’t think I am alone in making mince and tatties regularly at home so I was surprised to see it on a relatively fine dining menu as the only meat dish on offer. The fish dish was Shetland Mussels and Nduja (spicy pork paste) and the vegetarian option was Crown Prince Squash, White beans, Goats Curd & Gremolata. The only main on the specials board was a Chicken, Ham and Chanterelle pie, which was for 2 to share.

This made the menu difficult for OH who isn’t keen on mussels and (understandably) had ate mince and tatties midweek and didn’t want to pay £12 for it now.

After deciding on our mains we then worked backwards and chose our starters. On offer there was soup, brawn and red cabbage, a leek gribiche and on the specials board there was a squid dish and Smoked Trout, beetroot sauerkraut and horseradish, which I decided to have and OH went for the Spinach and Potato soup. When they arrived the colours were spectacular. OH’s soup was a vibrant green and my trout was bright orange, which contrasted with the purple beetroot sauerkraut. There was no bread with the soup and we realised too late that we should have ordered it as a side from the menu. OH enjoyed his soup, which was thick, heart warming and perfect for the breezy autumn day.

My trout was very smoked, the sauerkraut was a little acidic and the horseradish cleared my sinuses even though they hadn’t been blocked. It was a plate I wanted to finish even though it was challenging me and I had to take several breaks and breathe through the horseradish.

With just the right amount of time between courses our mains arrived. OH had eventually decided on the veggie option and unfortunately it came in a bowl (OH hates food in bowls unless it’s soup). Sounding quite surprised, OH said his meal was tasty, everything worked well together and it wasn’t a dry boring dish (how he usually views veggie dishes). However, he couldn’t finish it and felt there were too many beans, which had bloated him. He also said he was all cheesed out by the end.

I had went for the mussels. They arrived with a piece of toasted sourdough bread precariously balanced on the side. The mussels were huge, fat and orange. The broth wasn’t too salty and the Nduja tasted a little like chorizo. There was nothing wrong with the meal but I could have done with a spoon, a side plate and a larger bowl for the shells as I had to start carefully positioning them like backwards Jenga, constantly in fear they would topple. The accompanying bread was spread with loads of garlicky butter and I loved it but it kept falling into the broth and by the end of my meal my fingers were a sticky, fishy mess and there as no finger bowl.

OH, who usually never passes up the chance of a dessert, declined to look at the menu as he was too full of beans and cheese. However, I know you really want to know what the options were so I took note – there was a treacle and walnut tart with creme fraiche, blackcurrant ice cream with a golden syrup biscuit or Hebridean Blue Cheese.

As I waited on OH finishing his pint I noticed a couple of elderly diners at another table had ordered the pie to share. It arrived in a large dish with 2 plates and a spoon. The pie wouldn’t have disappointed Desperate Dan it was so big and hearty. I watched on as the female of the couple then tried to cut into the pie whilst trying not to burn herself on the dish. The spoon was far too small and the operation looked like a disaster in the making. The male obviously loved the pastry and spent quite a bit of time chiselling down the sides of the dish to try and get to the crust and he did burn his finger. I just felt that initially one of the waiting staff could have helped serve the dish rather than just plonking it down and leaving.

I also noticed another diner got a piece of lemon with their smoked trout. Where was mine? Another colour on my plate would have looked awesome.

Overall, the food was beautiful with a locally sourced menu that tries to use every bit of the animal but there could be more thought put into how the dishes are served to make it a bit easier for the diner.

2 pints of Czech lager, an apple juice, 2 starters and 2 mains – £50.30

Cafe Circa, Abernyte, Perthshire

There’s an antique and arts centre in Abernyte, which is on the road between Perth and Dundee that OH and I often visit on wet weekend days. It’s a big building full of different antique dealers, new furniture, clothes and a kitchen/deli section. Yesterday, after checking the weather forecast, we decided it was one of those days to visit.

As we wandered around we were stopped in our tracks when we spotted a beautiful chaise longue that would go really well in our living room. It was a good price and it’s a piece of furniture I have always wanted but did I really need one and did I really need it right now? We decided to have something to eat at Cafe Circa the restaurant in The Scottish Antiques and Arts Centre to discuss and mull it over.

The menu was in sections Breakfast, Light Lunch, Mains, Cakes and Bakes. There was also a special boards. In the mains sections it was listed as a set 2 or 3 course meal and didn’t have individual prices so a set 2 course lunch it was. Smoked Haddock Chowder with baked seeded crusty brown bread and butter jumped out from the list of starters, which included tomato, mozzarella and parma ham, salmon bon bons and salad.

The chowder was far too hot but tasted fabulous. It was so thick and creamy you could stand your spoon up in it. It was jam packed full of fish, peppers, potatoes and sweetcorn and the smoked haddock pieces were so big I think I had a whole fillet in my bowl. The bread was also far too tasty and I really wanted to eat both slices but I knew I was already going to struggle with my next course as the chowder was so filling but ever helpful OH didn’t see it go to waste.

For my main I had Tempura Battered Sea Bass and King Prawns
on a rocket and pea shoot salad with lemon and thyme potatoes. The plate arrived with half a field of potatoes and a jungle of green.

The batter was light and crisp and the sea bass and prawns were obviously straight from the fryer. The accompanying soy sauce dip was the coldest thing on the plate so it immediately cooled the king prawns, which were chunky and tailless (that’s a good thing btw, the contrasting cold dip not so much). Unfortunately, the abundance of potatoes were on the hard side and the jungle was in such a tangle there was no delicate way of eating it so both were left on the plate. This was not really an issue though as I was needing an excuse not to eat anymore.

OH had Pulled Beef and Wild Mushroom Wellington
with port gravy, roast potato, green beans and mashed turnip. The pastry was golden and crisp (he says there was no soggy bit, which is my favourite bit ) the mushrooms were under the pastry and around the pulled beef, which melted in the mouth. He had no complaints about his potatoes, which were roast and the veg went well with the dish. He too was struggling to finish (and remember he’d also had a piece of my bread) but to his credit (and thickening waist line) he managed.

There was a dessert menu but for once OH didn’t even want to look at it. However, what jumped out was a Chocolate and Cherry Tartlet with creme fraiche sorbet, which sounds divine.

I would definitely go back but next time I would only have the chowder….and maybe a sandwich.

Two 2 course set lunches, a bottle of locally brewed Abernyte Festbier and a Ginger beer – £40.80.

And in case you are wondering. We didn’t buy the chaise longue.

The Allanpark Hotel, Stirling

Having bought tickets for Bloody Scotland, yesterday OH and I headed to Stirling to see crime writers Denise Mina and Louise Welsh chat with Janice Forsyth and then Mark Billingham chew the fat with Richard Osman in the Albert Halls.

A friend at work had advised us to park at the Vue Cinema and walk over the bridge into the middle of town, which turned out to be a great idea rather than driving around trying to find a place to park in the busy city centre. She also suggested the Allanpark Hotel for somewhere to eat, which also turned out to be a great piece of advice.

The Allanpark Hotel is off the beaten track and hidden at the end of a street not far from the Albert Halls. When we went in we were seated in an already busy room. I could tell by looking around that other diners were also there for Bloody Scotland as I spotted a number of programmes being read.

Soup of the day was Potato and garlic, which meant OH had already chosen his starter. The menu offered a lot of light bites, sandwiches and soup, sharing platters, pizzas and afternoon tea. The mains were things like fish and chips, burgers, stuffed chicken and macaroni cheese, which does sound a bit dull but I could see the dishes being taken to other tables and they looked good.

OH’s soup arrived quickly and was accompanied with some home made bread from the Bavarian Bakehouse. The soup was the perfect temperature and meant all the different flavours could be tasted. It was smooth with a little kick to it and went down a treat.

For main, I decided to go for the Seafood Tagliatelle w/ Tomato, Basil & Mascarpone – King prawns, squid, clams, chorizo, samphire, tagliatelle, Parmesan, garlic ciabatta. The prawns were huge and firm and the sauce was perfectly balanced. The samphire gave it a crunch and the chorizo was well cooked and not over powering. Overall the dish was great, just the right amount of pasta and all the ingredients complemented one another. Looking back though, I can’t remember tasting any squid or seeing any clams in the dish.

OH had a Super Food Bowl w/ roasted Chicken breast – wholemeal cous cous, lentils, kale, sun-dried tomato, roasted beetroot, artichokes, pesto, micro-herbs. OH enjoyed it but said there was too much and by the time he ploughed through it the dressing became too acidic as it had all pooled in the bottom of the bowl. The bowl also annoyed him and he would have preferred a plate but then they would have to change the description.

When we were asked if we wanted dessert, I stuck with the Pinot Grigio and OH decided to have the Classic Crème Brûlée – set vanilla custard, brown sugar, home-made shortbread, which I thought was a boring choice but when it arrived it looked amazing. The whole dish was sweetness in different forms. The caramlised brown sugar snapped into brittle shards and clashed delightfully with the soft creamy custard and OH loved every single calorie of the dish.

The service was exemplary. Everyone was cheerful and friendly, the food arrived quickly but with just the right amount of time between courses and when the bill arrived in a little Wind in the Willows book the waitress immediately brought the card machine.

1 starter, 2 mains, 1 dessert and a bottle of wine = £57

The Tavern at Strathkinness, Fife.

Today OH and I decided to visit the The Tavern at Strathkinness. It’s been on our list of places to visit for a while now and today turned out to be the day. We didn’t book but that didn’t seem to be a problem as we were given a seat in the restaurant although, we were also offered a table in the bar.

When we were given the menu my first thought was akin to the couple who dined in The Rook Restaurant in The Two Ronnies sketch. There was haddock pot – done in a cheese sauce, haddock coated in coconut, haddock in batter and haddock risotto. There was also salmon in Cajun spices, which makes me wonder why the haddock couldn’t have been done like this…and if you didn’t fancy haddock there was also steaks, steak pie, pork belly and mushroom stroganoff.

Thankfully, there was no haddock starters so we decided to share the ‘Crispy Breaded Brie – slices of french of brie coated and fried, served with sticky onion chutney’. When the one slice of brie arrived (note not plural as advertised) there was no onion chutney. It did however, have a very nice beetroot salad and the slice was a large one. We both enjoyed it and it didn’t feel like a frozen bought in starter due to it’s size.

brie

For main, I decided to go for ‘Pork Belly – a generous slice of slow cooked premium pork belly, slathered in creamy apple cider sauce. Decadent with potatoes and veg.’ I was asked what kind of potato I wanted – chips, mash or roasted. I went for roasted and got a “Good choice” from the waitress.

pork belly

When the dish arrived I was more than happy with it although I did give OH my green beans as I am not a fan. Everything else though was lovely and the pork really did melt in my mouth. The potatoes, cauliflower and carrots were all spot on. (Yes, I know it looks like an under-cooked scotch pie but it really was pork) OH went for ‘Smoked Haddock Pot – smoked Scottish haddock baked in a copiously creamy sauce and topped with our homemade scone crumb crust’. OH was also asked what kind of potatoes and he copied me – possibly because of the ‘good choice’ commendation I got.

haddock pot

OH’s haddock pot arrived in it’s own little dish and I soon realised that ‘copiously creamy sauce’ meant you needed to ask for a spoon. OH said he enjoyed his dish but thought he had maybe ate too much as by the end of it he said it was a bit salty and the scone crumb seemed a little too sweet. Oddly, he says he would order it again even though he didn’t finish it. Hmmm. I thought that my green beans looked good on his plate and that he maybe should have had some green veg with it too.

At this point another couple arrived and I overheard them giving their order. The woman, when asked what kind of potatoes she wanted, asked for chips. “Oh good choice.” the waitress replied. Eh?!?!?!? What a floozy!

By the end of our mains I was done but OH thought a desert wouldn’t go a miss so I ordered another wine (as you do). And after looking at the blackboard of sweets OH decided on the Mango Mojito Sorbet, which arrived with 2 spoons (love it – even though the waitress is obviously a player ;p). The sorbet was really well balanced with mango and mint so that the mint was not overpowering and the pomegranate seeds made a nice contrast in both colour and texture.

sorbet

OH then decided he wanted a coffee so there was nothing else for it but to order another Rioja.

Overall, the food was good, the ambience and view were great, the service was excellent and the menu needed some work – especially their over use of haddock and their dodgy adverbs.

1 starter, 2 mains, 1 dessert, a coffee, an orange and soda water, 1 large and 2 small glasses of wine – £50.80

Lake of Menteith – Hotel and Waterfront Restaurant

After checking the weather forecast and realising The Trossachs were going to be out of the rain, we headed to the Lake of Menteith to dine at the Hotel and Waterfront Restaurant there.

We had not booked but a table for 2 was not a problem and we were seated with a fantastic view of the lake and given menus. A specials, wine and lunch one. I have to admit I was not that excited by the lunch menu, which offered expensive macaroni cheese, beef burger, Thai veg curry and a pasta and shellfish dish. The special was venison but at £24 I looked at it and looked away. I, therefore, went for another option, Fish’n’chips – Battered sustainable sourced Scottish Haddock with garden peas, tartare sauce and skinny fries. OH went for the House-smoked Perthshire Chicken on a Caesar Style Salad. He would have much preferred something hot but like me he was a bit underwhelmed by the menu.

As we waited I ordered a large Pinot Grigo and OH had a non-alcoholic larger. We also sat and watched an osprey fishing. As an aside, Good news:- we were given a jug of water without asking. Bad news:- it wasn’t cold.

After a further wait, which to be fair felt like a ‘we are preparing your food fresh’ wait rather than ‘we are having a nightmare in the kitchen’ wait, our dishes arrived and we ordered another round of drinks.

My fish and chips looked well manicured with even the garden peas coming in a dish of their own. I know some people don’t like their food stuffs touching (yes Claire I am looking at you) but these were garden peas not mushy! Plus, as the dish they came in was the same size as the dish of fries, there was an unnecessary amount of peas and even I couldn’t finish them and I love peas. Saying that though, my meal was fantastic. The batter was crisp, the fish was beautiful and the fries were amazing. If I wanted to be really picky I could moan about the tartare sauce as it was a bit meh but on the whole the fish n chips were totally spot on.

OH’s tried his home smoked chicken salad and immediately said “We should try to do this at home” (he smokes his own fish btw) so he obviously loved it. There was an abundance of chicken and he enjoyed the salad but I have to admit I am not sure why the menu said it was a Caesar salad ‘style’. It may have been a lack of anchovies but OH isn’t sure. Regardless his plate was wiped clean and he said all the flavours and textures were well balanced.

Service was excellent and it was not long before we were offered dessert menus. I declined but OH went for Lemon Tart with Berry Compote. I think it came it with Chantilly Cream (I stuck in my little finger to check (it was clean)). OH said the lemon tart was not tart to taste but the berries, which were excellent, were so the vanilla cream made a great accompaniment. He also later mentioned that the tart did not taste like washing up liquid as it was not OTT lemony, which can only be a good thing.

Overall it was a beautiful meal with good service and a fantastic view. 2 mains, 1 dessert, 2 large white wines, 2 non-alcoholic lagers = £53.50

After a short walk we returned and sat in front of the lake and had another round of drinks.

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.

art

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

Fabric, Dunfermline

So yesterday OH and I dined with Mr and Mrs Hairy at Sol y Sombra in Broughty Ferry. It was a good time with great company and great food. However, I wrote about it in 2014 and when I reread my blog from back then I thought it was still as relevant today so I didn’t feel the need to write another. If you want to see it you can read it—> here

Instead, I am writing about Mini-me and I dining in Fabric in Dunfermline today. We had just walked around the fabulous Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries and when we came out we noticed Fabric diagonally opposite the library. The menu looked good so we went in.

Fabric is the epitome of a place for women who lunch. The white stylish chairs, the single red roses at each table, the mirrored tiles, the chandeliers and the huge vase of flowers on the bar said it all. We were seated among other women who were enjoying afternoon tea. The cake stands of scones, fancies and sandwiches looked fantastic. At another table a woman sat surrounded by glasses and Prosecco in an ice bucket obviously waiting for friends so they could celebrate a birthday.

We were given menus and brought glasses of water with ice, which was great. We oohed and aahed over the offer of a starter and a main for £11.95. However, as it was a Sunday and they were serving brunch all day, Mini-me fancied the full breakfast with sourdough toast so I thought I’d get a starter we could share as it was only a couple of pound extra and therefore decided on – Arancini – red pepper, watercress and tomato salsa – followed by Tiger prawn squid ink linguine in a creamy tomato sauce. When the waitress appeared we ordered. She said, “Are you ordering the starter and main combo?” Yes I am. “Sorry, the pasta isn’t a main meal, it’s just these ones here. The menu is a bit confusing.” I couldn’t agree more. “Just the pasta then thanks.”

Tiger Prawn pasta

We waited quite a while and discussed afternoon teas and coming back for one, we read the drinks menu and chatted about what cocktail we would order if we were going to have one and we listened to other people’s conversations about being at Ladies Day. Eventually, our meals arrived and they looked great although Mini-Me’s toast looked like the Guinness Book of Records could give it an award for the whitest toast in the world. We both thought it was bread.

toast (yes really)

My pasta was lovely, roasting hot and very messy. I had to tuck my napkin into my top to save it from the tomato sauce (thankfully Mini-me let me) but I loved it. As well as temp hot it also had a bit of a kick to it and the sauce was beautifully creamy. I would have liked more prawns but I’m not sure how much is too much when it comes to good prawns.

breakfast

Mini-me was enjoying her breakfast – the bacon, sausages and eggs were great but the buttered toast was fast becoming a problem. She said the butter tasted cheap and was leaving a bad taste. The haggis was tasty until she got to the bottom of it and she started to wonder if it had been fried in the same butter. When I had finished my pasta I asked Mini-me if she was going to finish her toast as I fancied a bit to wipe up the last of my sauce. I even went as far to pick up a bit but it was rock solid. Her reply was, “If you’ve got a nice taste in your mouth I wouldn’t.” I didn’t.

We asked for the dessert menu but nothing jumped out so we just got the bill.

As we didn’t have any drinks (we just stuck with the water) it was a bargain £16.90 for a breakfast and a main meal (which wasn’t really a main meal it was pasta).

With hindsight we totally should have had an afternoon tea.

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

The Courtyard, Cupar

One of our favourite restaurants in Cupar was Cafe Montmarte but disappointingly, it moved to Dundee a while ago. However, now in it’s place, is The Courtyard, which is exactly the same inside as Montmarte but they’ve swapped the black and white photos of famous French people with black and white photos of fishermen and as the chef/owner is Bavarian, the menu now has Bavarian influences.

We were given the lunch menu and there were specials on the board. The menu offered starters and light lunches and a few out of the ordinary main meals such as mussels and fries and Venison and mushroom lasagne. The specials board offered other dishes like Fresh Crab bisque, Jager Schnitzel and Mediterranean strudel.

Eventually we decided to share a starter of Baked Coconut Prawns – jumbo prawns baked in a creamy coconut, roast pepper & chilli sauce with crusty bread (which also came as a light lunch option). They were amazing! The prawns were big and fat and there were plenty of them, the sauce was thick and creamy and the flavours were balanced perfectly. There was heat but not too much and there was coconut but it was not overwhelming. I can not rave about it enough and I’d go back for this dish alone.

For main meals OH decided on the Pork Schnitzel – breaded pan fried pork escalope with fried potatoes, mixed salad & coleslaw from the lunch menu and I had the Baked Hake Fillet with King Prawns served with a tomato, fennel and garlic sauce from the specials board.

My hake was a little mushy but it tasted lovely. The vegetables were perfectly crunchy and the potatoes were a great accompaniment. The fennel in the sauce was delicate and thankfully, did not overpower the dish. OH enjoyed his schnitzel but said it started to get a bit boring by the end. The photo of his coleslaw doesn’t do it justice as it was a lot more colourful than the white blob in the pic and was obviously homemade.

Next to our table there was a black board with ‘Chocolate pot with caramelised almonds and cream’ written on it so instead of asking for the dessert menu OH pointed and said, “I want that one.”

Chocolate pot

It felt like Christmas when it arrived. It was fabulously decadent and came with its own little jug of cream. The caramalised almonds set off the rich chocolate giving it a sweet crunch. If he could have OH would have licked the bowl. Out of interest, when we got home, I checked the online menu to see what other desserts there were and I would definitely have had the Apfelkuechle – fried apples in a crispy batter, rolled in cinnamon sugar, served with vanilla ice-cream.

I went with low expectations thinking it would not be better than Montmarte but it was every bit as good. We will definitely be back.

1 starter, 2 mains, 1 dessert, 1 bottle of Fürstenberg lager and a diet coke £42.45

Ham’s Hame Pub and Grill, St Andrews

A lovely, sunny (but cold) Sunday afternoon saw OH, Mini-me and I venturing to St Andrews for something to eat. After walking along the side of the golf course we found ourselves in the very dog friendly Ham’s Hame, which sits right on the corner of The Scores and Golf Place.

The bar is a large, wooden floored room with lots of televisions showing sports. We were shown to a window seat and given menus for bar snacks and lunches. The soup of the day was Caramelised White Onion, which I immediately wanted as did OH. Also on the menu was Lentil and ham soup so Mini-me decided she’d prefer that. The soups arrived steaming hot and in lovely pottery bowls. My caramelised soup tasted charred, which initially was odd but the more I ate, the more I liked it. By the end of it I felt like I had been sitting in front of a very smokey fire. I tasted Mini-me’s soup and I thought it was missing a layer. Mini-me reckoned it lacked lentils and tasted more like barley.

For mains I ordered Beef Rigatoni – Steak mince bound in a rich tomato sauce, rigatoni pasta, fresh micro basil, Parmesan cheese & garlic bread. It could have been hotter when it arrived and unfortunately, I felt it was a bland meal with no intensity of flavour. I got bored halfway through and I’m pretty sure I’ve made better at home.

OH decided on Slow Roasted Pork Sandwich – Maple and Dijon mustard glazed, slow roasted stuffed pork shoulder, served on a focaccia bun, pork crackling, red cabbage & apple slaw, apple purée, mixed leaf salad & steak cut chips. I misread the menu and thought it was going to be pulled pork – it wasn’t, it was a thick slice of pork on a roll. He said he liked it but when I asked if he would order it again he hesitated and started to chose his words really carefully knowing I was going to quote him in this blog. Eventually he said he got exactly what was written on the tin.

Mini-me got adventurous and went for Haggis Scotch Egg – Lothian Haggis, soft boiled egg, bacon, roasted tomatoes, rocket salad & a whisky, mustard dressing. It looked lovely when it arrived and even better when she cut the egg in half as it was a runny, rich orange yolk. I tried a bit of the ham that was strewn through the salad and it was very dry. Thankfully I had wine to wash it down. Mini-me said the haggis was tasty and not too spicy and overall enjoyed her meal but said she would have preferred more iceberg lettuce rather than rocket. She also raved about the whisky and mustard dressing.

The toilets were clean with Molton Brown toiletries, service was spot on and it was good to find someplace to eat that is dog friendly.

3 soups, 3 mains, 2 pints of lager, a bottle of wine and a coke £85. 60