Golf Inn @ Ladybank, Fife

Recently, OH had heard the pub in Ladybank was under new management and was now called the Golf Inn. He’d also heard good things about it so we decided to give it a go. When we arrived we were offered a table in the dinning area next to the fire and shown the specials on the board.

The decor was fresh and clean with grey tartan checks and wood. Later when we went into the bar area there was a snug with comfy leather club chairs and a wood burning stove.

We were given menus but the barman/waiter quickly removed the board and told us the soup was now lentil and not tomato, ale and cheese (?) I might be making the cheese bit up but it did have another ingredient. It also (I’m pretty sure) had smoked haddock and chips written under it.

The menu was proper bar lunch stuff. There was a range of starters including Cullen Skink and the mains were Steak pie, fish and chips, pasta, burgers, scampi and chilli. All reasonably priced. The back of the menu was dedicated to pizzas – obviously a speciality.

One of the main reasons we were out for food was that OH wanted a hot bowl of soup to heat him up so he went for the lentil soup followed by steak pie and I decided I would just have the smoked haddock on the specials board, which had now been rubbed out but my order wasn’t questioned.

As soon as the soup arrived OH dived in and I forgot to take a photo so just imagine there are 2 pieces of crusty bread with 2 bits of butter on top in the photo. The soup did not last long so I can assume it was just what the doctor ordered.

When my fish arrived I was a little disappointed to see it was just fish and chips. I had thought by ordering the smoked haddock from the board it would be a tad different but nope it was just fish and chips and when I say just, I mean just. There was no tartare sauce or peas! Saying that though, the dish was great. The batter was crispy, the fish (not smoked) was fresh and the chips were spot on. Yes, I did miss something to mix it up a bit and would have loved some mushy peas but I survived.

OH’s steak pie was laden with large chunks of beef and much to his delight the pie had a bottom, which is maybe why he didn’t complain about getting his pie in a bowl. He did say though, the meat wasn’t chewy and was falling apart in his mouth. In contrast to my dish, he had thousands of peas.

OH ploughed though his half cow in a pie but was now so stuffed he couldn’t manage a pudding but I did notice a blackboard with daily offerings from £3.95.

We went through to the bar area for another round of drinks and in the snug there was a large group of friends with children enjoying pizzas and pints with footy on the box and everyone looked very relaxed and comfortable. Sadly, there was no room in front of the fire but the atmosphere was warm enough.

All in all, service was friendly, food was great and it was exactly what you want when you want a proper bar lunch.

One starter, 2 mains, 1½ pints of cider and 2 soda water and limes = £32.

Fisherman’s Tavern, Broughty Ferry

This weekend we had Mini-me and Teeny-him staying so we decided to head to Broughty Ferry knowing Teeny-him would love the beach and park. Therefore, after Mini-me and I had worked up an appetite shopping and OH and Teeny-him were tired out after the park we went to the Fisherman’s Tavern for something to eat.

Teeny-him

We chose The Fisherman’s Tavern as it’s a Bellhaven pub and would be a bit more child friendly than some of the other pubs in the area. As expected it had one of those large set menu’s with pictures of food and offers all the normal kind of pub grub – burgers, pasta, steak pie etc. OH immediately plumped for Gammon Steak with Eggs – a 10oz gammon steak served with 2 friend eggs, chips and garden peas. Mini-me and I both decided to have the normal size Fish & Chips – Chunky beer-battered haddock fillet, served with chips, garden peas and tartare sauce (I had mushy peas) .

There was a chilren’s menu which offered a pic’n’mix selection of burger, fish fingers, sausages, chicken nuggets or fillet and then add a side and a veg. Teeny-him wanted cheese burger, chips and garlic bread but was told he wasn’t allowed that as it had to be a veg and they couldn’t swap items so his mum ordered him the cucumber and carrot sticks (which she ate herself) . We were also told we had to pay extra for the cheese, which we said was fine.

When Teeny-him’s meal arrived there was no cheese on it so we all had our meals and he didn’t, which devastated the tired 3 year old. Cue 4 minutes of hysterical tears as the waiter dashed off to find some cheese and we all tried to pass the toddler chips to appease him without success.

Our meals were all good. OH got runny eggs, which was great although he did mention his gammon steak was a little salty. Mini-me and I both enjoyed our fish and chips and were glad we didn’t go large as our fish was already big enough. The tartare sauce was a bit boring so it probably came out of a jar. The batter was spot on and the fish was fresh. I loved that I got proper mushy peas and none of those crushed peas people keep trying to fob off on me.

Like a typical toddler, Teeny-him ate the majority of his burger, most of his garlic bread and all the chips we put on to his plate so from that I am saying he really enjoyed his food.


My only complaint was the strict children’s menu. Kids are picky, it’s hard enough getting them to eat in the first place never mind putting up barriers by telling them they can’t have something. Surely it’s not that difficult to offer garlic bread and chips? And don’t get me started on the 50p for cheese that didn’t turn up at the start…

3 main meals, 1 kids meal, 1 non-alcohol lager, 1 large glass of white, 1 diet coke and a slice of cheese (50p) = £43. 14

The Dining Room, Kirkcaldy, Fife.

This blog all started because OH and I were looking for a shared hobby so it isn’t often I write about a restaurant when he isn’t there but after a visit to The Dining Room in Kirkcaldy I felt moved to blog. So why was I out without him? Well, what happened was that Sir Harry Burns was doing a talk at the Kirkcaldy Foodbank AGM and my colleague, PC, and I wanted to hear him so we decided to go for something to eat after work and prior to the AGM.

Now, before I start to tell you about The Dining Room, I just want to acknowledge the irony of PC and I going for a nice meal before we attend a food bank AGM and listen to Sir Harry discussing the impact of poverty and food insecurity in families. I can say I do feel guilty. btw if you ever get the chance to listen to Sir Harry please don’t miss it…actually google him and listen to one of his TED talks – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

So, that said, the Dining Room turned out to be an inspired choice even though it was really chosen for its geography. When we went in we were pleasantly surprised at the stylish decor and subtle lighting.

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Sat on our own with evening menus, we admired the black and white photographs on the walls and enjoyed the playlist. The waitress told us it was 2 for 1 burgers as it was Tuesday and asked for our drinks order. We just asked for tap water. As we perused the menu another couple came in and they were the only other people we saw dining at the same time as us.

The menu highlighted that all the pasta dishes could be gluten free and other options had GF marked on the menu. This delighted PC who has recently been testing her intolerance. She went for GF Penne pasta with strips of beef fillet, sugar snap peas and fresh chillies topped with freshly grated Parmesan. However, she asked for it without the chilli.

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When the dish arrived the waitress apologised as it was spirals instead of penne but this wasn’t a problem for PC. I thought it was unusual for a pasta dish to have beef in it and using olive oil instead of a sauce, probably because it wouldn’t have been my choice but PC loved her meal saying the pasta was cooked to perfection and the flavours went well together with there being just the right amount of everything. If anything, she would have preferred a lot more cheese on top but she said she would have wanted a lot more cheese on most things. I asked her about the pasta’s taste minus the gluten and she said she genuinely couldn’t tell the difference (and that’s not because she is a novice GFer it is because it tasted so good).

I decided on Smoked haddock on a bed of spring onion mash topped with a soft boiled egg and Parmesan cream, which was lovely. The spring onion gave the otherwise creamy dish a nice crunch. The fish was fabulous right up to the tail, which unsurprisingly got a bit dry. The egg was as described – soft – but I would have loved runny but I’m not complaining because I really enjoyed my meal.




Although we were finished our meal, we sat for a while chatting as we didn’t want to be too early at the AGM. We finished the bottle of water as we put the world to rights and rather than someone politely placing a bill on the table we were asked if we wanted more water, which was a great touch. Another great touch was the lit candles in the bathroom.

We were eating early on a Tuesday and the place was really quiet so I maybe need to take OH back one weekend to check out the atmosphere. However, I’m fully expecting it to be just as good.

2 main meals and tap water £24.40

The Saint, St Andrews, Fife

Yesterday OH and I were in St Andrews to do some research for my new book – a murder mystery set in St Andrews (if you’re interested my last book is available to download here The Same Individuals) Anyway, it was lunchtime and I remembered that the West Port Bar had undergone a revamp and had changed its name so we decided to try it out.

We discovered it was now called The Saint. Inside it was still the same layout but there was new fancy wall paper and some lovely lighting. We were sat in an intimate little niche, which would have been great if I wasn’t such a nosey bint and wanted to see what everyone else is eating. Immediately we were offered a jug of water and when the waitress returned with it she asked us if we wanted any other drinks. And when she returned with our drinks she took our order for food. It’s a simple way of attending to a table but it works really well and more restaurants and bars should do this.

The menu was big and had the same old pub food – fish and chips, burgers, scampi and pies but additionally there was duck, salmon and pork chop. To me it was a pretty boring IMAG9975menu and nothing jumped out so I ordered the  fish and chips. However, I asked if I could get some Bloody Mary Ketchup on the side, which was offered with the scampi. It was the only thing that did stand out and I really fancied trying it. The waitress said it wasn’t a problem at all. When my fish arrived I was disappointed not to see tartare sauce as well but as I had asked for ketchup it was justified. Initially, the fish melted in my mouth but then it got a bit greasy. The chips were a big hit, chunky and obviously hand cut. The ketchup wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would have been and lacked any kind of kick. Overall it was an okay plate of food.

OH ordered the IMAG9974Fish Pie – Scottish peat smoked haddock, leek and garden herbs, topped with creamed mash. Surprisingly, the waitress asked if he wanted potatoes or chips with it. Automatically OH asked for chips.

When the pie arrived I could see they hadn’t taken much time in piping the mash on top and had went for the dodding it on method instead. It took ages for OH to eat his pie as it was so hot, which meant he ate all his chips and veg first so there wasn’t a lot of room left for the pie but he battled on regardless. OH said the potatoes on top were dry but this wasn’t a criticism. Inside there was loads of smoked fish within a nice creamy sauce. He enjoyed his pie although he felt completely stuffed after overdosing on carbs.

When we asked for the bill the waitress appeared with it and the card machine at the same time. More service bonus points!

2 mains, 2 pints and a coke = £34 so not the cheapest bar lunch we’ve  had recently but OH did get the opportunity to waddle for the rest of the day and complain he could no longer see his feet.

 

 

The Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant, Stonehaven

OH and I haven’t had a planned lunch out for a while so with an empty weekend on the horizon we decided to plan a trip to Stonehaven so we could visit The Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant and pop in to see our niece and her new fiancé who live in the area.

We set off up the A90 and then prior to heading into the coastal village we stopped off at 2016-08-27 12.05.11.jpgDunottar Castle for a wee daunder around the picturesque, cliff top fortress to work up an appetite.

It was just a short drive from there down to Stonehaven and to the harbour the restaurant looks over. 2016-08-27 12.26.09.jpgUp some stone stairs the restaurant sits on top of the Tolbooth Museum and is the oldest building in Stonehaven dating back to the 16th century.

Soon we were sitting down with menus in hand. There was a blackboard of daily specials, a set lunch menu (3 courses for £20) and a short à la carte menu.

Fresh langoustines, mussels and oysters were also all on offer However. the set menu was perfect for me as I easily chose the Cullen Skink followed by the sea bream. OH also went for the set menu choosing mackerel and then Thai prawn curry.

The Cullen Skink was served with chopped chives, croutons and herb oil and came in a IMAG4472beautiful bowl that I would have loved to take home with me.  The yellow smoked haddock was dominant within it as it should be but for me there was a lack of lumps of potato in it and the consistency was verging on splitting. Nevertheless it was a tasty starter.  IMAG4470

OH’s hot smoked local mackerel fillets, baby green salad, pickled red onions and orange dressing didn’t last long. He had been intrigued by the orange dressing and was perhaps a little disappointed that it was spotted around the dish rather than over the fish and salad but this was a very minor thing.

IMAG4475My grilled fillet of sea bream with crushed ratte potato, chargrilled courgette and spicy tomato sauce  was beautiful. The skin was crispy and the fish fell away from it in nice tasty chunks. I’m a big fan of courgettes and these were perfect. I also loved the potatoes having never knowingly tasted ratte ones before.

Surprisingly, OH had went for the Thai prawn curry, crunchy greens, IMAG4473black onion seed & coriander rice as his main. He isn’t a big fan of prawns so my eyebrows raised at his choice. However, I then realised that the other option left on the set menu was rib eye steak and he’d had one a couple of nights earlier so didn’t fancy another so soon. Plus when we go out we try (we don’t always succeed) to get different dishes. Therefore, he had decided to leave his comfort zone on this occasion.  I asked him how it was and he said just like mine when I cook Thai so maybe he wasn’t too far out his zone. His plate was wiped clean before mine so I’m guessing he enjoyed it – the prawns certainly looked like big, meaty ones.  IMAG4476

For desserts we had also chosen different dishes. He had dark chocolate mousse, honeycomb and salted peanut brittle. He IMAG4477loved his and liked the crunch of the brittle alongside the thick, rich mousse.  I had went for local Castleton Strawberries, vanilla meringue, chantilly cream and strawberry coulis.  This hit the spot and wasn’t too heavy or too much after the previous 2 courses – just a great ending to a great meal.

For me the set menu was really well thought out offering something for everyone. However, the waiter did say you could mix between the set and the à la carte and they would change the price accordingly, which is a good thing.

2 large glasses of Sauvignon Blanc, a Gran Marnier, a soda water and lime and 2 x 3 course set menu came to £58.85.

 

 

 

 

 

Venice – top tips

  1. Get a water taxi from the airport to your hotel. 2016-07-12 18.52.11
    Yes, it’s expensive but you will arrive at your hotel (or as near as the canals allow) feeling like James Bond.
    The alternative is the airport waterbus which takes ages, can be overcrowded and doesn’t offer you the wow experience of seeing Venice when you first arrive. Obviously the waterbus is a heck of a lot cheaper.
  2. Book a Free Walking Tour. 2016-07-15 17.40.23.jpgThis is a great way to get to know the city as it takes you off the normal tourist routes, gives you loads of information about Venice and at the end they give you a brilliant map of Venice, which advertises great shops and restaurants to visit.
  3. Learn how to stand. If you can stand at a counter to drink  and eat you will save a fortune in Venice. Venetians will pop into a cafe or bar stand at the counter and drink their coffee or a small glass of house wine called an ombra, pay a euro and walk out again. If you sit you pay more.
  4. Eat like a local. Don’t eat in restaurants that show photos of food. If you want to avoid the tourist traps look out for osterie and bàcari that sell Cicchetti (also sometimes spelled “cichetti” or called “cicheti”) These are small cheap snacks that you can stand and eat with your ombra. Or if you want something a bit bigger look out for the restaurants that don’t usher you in but have small menus with only a few options.
  5. Learn how to sit on anything that isn’t a chair. As I’ve said if you sit you pay. Therefore, fountains, steps leading up to bridges, the side of a canal all make great places to take the weight off. We found a great spot close to our hotel next to the canal where we would drink like a local (see no. 6) and eat pizza (see no. 9).
  6. Drink like a local. There are little shops that sell you wine straight from the barrel into a plastic bottle for just a few euros. This means you can grab a couple of plastic glasses from your hotel room, find a spot with a view and relax for a couple of hours watching the gondolas go by. 2016-07-14 15.46.39
  7. Don’t get a gondola until you’ve done no.6.

    Whilst sitting ‘drinking like a local’ we witnessed nose to tail gondolas slowly going past, the passengers engrossed in their phones or looking completely bored. It looked like the most unromantic thing EVER. If you have to tick the gondola box go off the tourist route to avoid the traffic jams and make sure you get a gondola with a steel end looking like the ones in the pic. 2016-07-12 17.44.04If it doesn’t have a steel it’s not a registered gondola.

  8. Shop with locals.  Venice is full of tourist shops full of imported masks, fake Murano glass and leather that has been sprayed with a ‘real leather’ scent. Look out for authentic Italian artisan’s shops to spend your money in. You’ll find these off the tourist routes in back streets usually with unassuming signage.
  9. Eat in the streets2016-07-16 16.41.06Sandwiches, paninis, rolls, slices of pizza can all be bought hot from shops and enjoyed next to a canal – couple it with no. 6 and you’ve got the best picnic ever.
  10. Get lost.  The best way to explore Venice is by wandering the streets without a map. Get up early and see Piazza San Marco when it’s empty. Cross the Rialto bridge when it’s deserted and best of all watch the locals getting ready for work. If you can, walk until your feet hurt and then get the vaporetto back at sunset.

Kelso, Dryburgh and Ancrum

As I’m a bit of a twat and didn’t realise it was a Bank Holiday weekend I only booked one night away this weekend as I honestly didn’t know I had Monday off.  Anyway, OH and I had already decided to get away for the night and instead of heading north or west as we often do, this time we headed south towards the Borders.

We wanted a dog friendly hotel so my search led me to the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, a country house hotel just north of Kelso. As we arrived in the area too early to check in we took the dog for a walk to see the nearby Wallace Statue. 2016-04-30 12.47.22.jpg
Having never heard of the statue before I had no expectations, therefore when I saw the massive stone structure (ha you thought I was going to say erection – stop being so childish.) I was gobsmacked. It was humongous. You could even see up his kilt! 2016-04-30 12.45.04.jpg(btw I will know if you click on that pic to enlarge it ;))

After the dog had stretched her legs we drove on to Kelso and had a wander around the historic town situated on the Tweed. We also had a  lovely lunch in the The Cobbles, where the service and the menu were great.

With full bellies we headed back to check in to our hotel. The hotel was fabulous. A proper country feel to it with comfy old couches and arm chairs. Our room was large and had everything we needed. OH had brought his rod with him and, as we knew the hotel had fishing rights on the stretch of the Tweed in front of it, we went out to investigate. It wasn’t long before OH had donned his wellies and was out casting and I was in the warm hotel with a glass of wine in hand. Yeah, I’m not daft. As if I’m going to be outside on a Saturday evening trying to work out what kind of flies are dancing on the water. 2016-05-01 10.57.41-1.jpgOH didn’t catch anything but him and Amber seemed to have a great time. We finished the evening in the hotel bar where dogs were made very welcome and thankfully Amber (who is trained as a gundog) didn’t retrieve any of the stuffed birds scattered around the hotel.

The hotel breakfast was great. As you do, I ate far more than normal as there was so much on offer. After my apple juice, fruit, muesli and toast, I had to chose from the hot menu so every dish was cooked to order. I had a 3 egg bacon omelette, which was lush. OH had smoked haddock and poached egg. He was just a little disappointed that his egg wasn’t runny. (I say a little he was devastated).

I have to say  The Dryburgh Abbey Hotel has been one of the best hotels I have stayed in for along time. The receptionist couldn’t have been more helpful. The waiting staff were friendly and the hotel facilities spot on.

Before driving home we headed to Ancrum as, thanks to lots of little photocopied flyers scattered around Kelso, I knew there was an art thing happening. Turns out it was Art At Ancrum where the village had opened itself up to over 30 artists who were exhibiting their wares. We were welcomed into peoples homes, offered coffee by a stone mason  and spoke to a number of interesting artists more than happy to discuss their techniques. I came away with a cute little green pottery jug and almost bought an expensive green suede handbag that had my name all over it but the wrong price tag.

Of course, the best bit is I’ve been away for what has felt like a long weekend and I still have Monday to go 🙂

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 search 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 similar to the google search the only place that does jump out at you in Ratho.

The menu was large and highlighted they must be one of the only restaurants 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 beautiful!  As was the accompanying port.2016-03-11 19.49.02

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

The service was fantastic – the waiting staff 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.

The Explorer’s Garden and The Old Mill, Pitlochry

OH and I found ourselves in Pitlochry at the weekend. We had decided to park at the Festival Theatre and I noticed there were gardens to the side of it. Apparently OH had known there were gardens there as he had built the fence around them in a previous life (OH can turn his hands to anything, dontchaknow?). He said there were supposed to be stage productions put on in the gardens as, when they were planning the gardens, they wanted it to be an extension of the theatre.

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George Forrest Pavilion

It was called The Explorers Garden and from what I could see before we went in was to do with Scottish plant hunters who had traveled the globe looking for new plants and trees to bring back to Scotland.  We decided to pay the £4 entrance fee and have a wander around.

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The Douglas Pavilion

I’m told (by OH obviously) that August isn’t a great month for gardens. Flowers have either already flowered and are past their best or they are just getting read for Autumn. Therefore, we probably weren’t seeing them at their best. The gardens are laid out in segments each depicting different areas (S.America, Australia, New Zealand, N. America The Himalayas, and Japan) and there are boards explaining what explorers had been where and what plants they had brought back. Due to the season (I hope) I didn’t really see many of the outlined plants  but I did enjoy the short traipse around the paths and through the woods.

DSCN3764Throughout the gardens there were paved circles, a couple of pavilions and an amphitheater. OH had asked the woman at the ticket desk if there were concerts etc put on in the garden and she looked at him blankly. If there isn’t (and that does seem the case) it’s a bloody shame as they could put on an excellent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream there.

I’m sure in other months it will be worth the entrance fee but not in August so pick your time to visit carefully. (£2 each would have been a fairer fee in August I think)

After working up an appetite it was only a short walk across the suspension bridge and into town to find The Old Mill. It’s an impressive building with an old water wheel attached.  We gave the menu a cursory glance (should have paid more attention) as we entered and were seated by a polite South African cross between Derren Brown and Rylan.

Talk about a whirlwind experience. We went in, we ordered and before we knew it we were stuffed and back on the street again.

The menu was pretty uninteresting and uninspiring so OH had a burger (YES! That uninteresting) and I had the beer battered haddock.

4 minutes after the order was put in, it arrived. As the waitress set down my haddock she told me the plate was hot – she wasn’t joking. I spent the rest of the meal feeling like I was sitting in front of the coals in a sauna. The fish was a tad greasy but that was probably because it continued to cook on the plate and the deep frying oils continued to seep out of it. 2015-08-09 16.34.16The 2015-08-09 16.34.05skinny chips were fab though. OH said the best bit of his burger was the roll. Don’t get me wrong he did enjoy it, it was just the bun stuck out because it didn’t fall to bits as they often do.

My fish was filling but evidently OH needed more. So dessert menu it was – obviously it appeared promptly. It didn’t take OH long to decide on the Iced Cranachan Parfait with Raspberry Sauce, which was good as the waitress suddenly appeared from nowhere to take his order. I reckon it was less than 2 minutes before Derrin Rylan had the dessert on the table in front of him. Sweetly, he asked me if I wanted another spoon – I declined of course.

2015-08-09 17.00.12OH loved his Cranachan as it was like a surprisingly good cross between rice pudding and porridge. However, he says he would have preferred a smaller helping. This is because he eats anything that is put in front of him just like a labrador. Therefore, we were both stuffed as we left the restaurant just a few minutes later.

2 mains, 1 dessert, a soda water and lime and a mixed fruit Kopparberg = £39.05

It’s a lovely place, it was fast service, which wasn’t as bad as it sounds but the food was expensive for what is basically pub grub. There are loads of other places to eat in Pitlochry that I would maybe try first.

The Red Lion, Culross, Fife.

I write this blog as a hobby. Finding different places to eat in and write about is something OH and I both enjoy as it gives as something to do at the weekend. However, last night I was out for dinner on a works night out (we had a visitor from the states that we wanted to entertain) and I now feel compelled to write about our experience. Normally I wouldn’t bother, which is why there are no photographs as I had no intention of reviewing The Red Lion in Culross, where we had booked a table for 8 people at 6 o’clock.

As 1 person had backed out and 1 was joining us late, 6 of as turned up at 6pm and were seated. Soon our drinks order was taken and a jug of water appeared on the table. All was looking good as we poured over the menu. There was a specials board that added 2 different starters and 4 extra main courses. The menu we had in our hands was lengthy and offered everything from  fish cakes to steaks. There was quite a few veggie options as well as light bites, salads and side orders – prices were on average £12 for a main meal.

After a short wait, all our drinks arrived apart from one person’s but when prompted it was quickly brought through from the bar. When our late one arrived (just after 6) and had her drink, everyone gave their food order. As it turned out everyone ordered something different. Our visitor from the states asked for the lamb from the specials board. 2 had ordered starters of haggis creggans, which was obviously something that was regularly ordered as it was on the set 3 course special menu. By approximately 6.45 pm we still didn’t have any haggis starters so someone went to ask. This prompted a waitress to go to the kitchen and then return saying the starters were right on their way but they had just ran out of lamb and could our guy from the states order something else. He then plumped for the steak and haggis pie. The starters arrived and were devoured by the already hungry mob who couldn’t sit and watch the others eating.

Then the waitress appeared, again full of apologies to our guy from the states. They had run out of pastry tops and could he order something else. He eventually went for the Cumberland sausage, onion gravy and mash. Then the waitress realised someone else had also ordered a pie and asked them to reorder as well. Now I’m no great chef but even I could rattle up some pastry at short notice.  The waitress offered us a round of drinks on the house to make up for the lack of lamb and pastry. She explained that they’d had a lot of unexpected ‘walk-ins’ and were struggling to cope. Again, I’m no business owner but I think I would be concentrating on the people who had pre-booked and had been sitting waiting for an hour. Of course that’s if they knew we were sitting waiting or had the waitress only given our order to the chef when we asked for our starters??

Eventually, after another lengthy wait, our main meals arrived and the food was good. It was really good. No-one had any complaints about the quality or amount of food on their plates. It was so good people even ordered desserts.

By 9.15 everyone was finished so we asked for the bill. We were assured it would be straight with us. By 9.30 pm we were still waiting for the bill. We had to go up and interrupt the chatting waitresses to ask for it. They hadn’t even rung it up. When it arrived we checked it out so we could split the bill and noticed that all the drinks were on it. A bit embarrassed, we had to call the waitress over and say. She assured us she had taken off the round of drinks personally.  She took the bill away and returned apologising yet again. She wasn’t sure what had happened but gave us the revised bill with the round of drinks now off it.

It was a long night. Thank goodness for the good company and good food as it made up for the horrendous amount of time we spent in the restaurant.

It’s just not fair on the chef when he/she is producing excellent food for it to be so overshadowed by such piss-poor service. Unfortunately, after our experience, I won’t be rushing back.