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.

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The Inn on The Tay, Grandtully, Perthshire

OH and I had went out for a run in the car and had been touring around Perthshire with the roof down enjoying the rare Scottish sunshine. We’d had a big breakfast and weren’t hungry but by half 2 we were starting to get peckish. OH suggested stopping off at Grandtully as there was a pub with a great view of the white water on the Tay – the appropriately named The Inn on the Tay. When we drove into the car park OH commented that it was different from the last time he had visited. It turned out he had last been there in 2001 when he had kayaked down the Tay so it wasn’t surprising it had changed and the car park had been upgraded.

On the way in I noticed they stopped serving food at 3pm (it was 2.45pm). I also noticed they did Cullen Skink, which is one of OH and I’s favourites so it was a quick and easy decision to order the haddock, leek and tattie soup and not annoy the chef by placing a large food order minutes before he was due to finish. I placed our order for food and drinks at the bar, paid for it and took the offered cutlery and napkins outside to a table on the deck. I’m assuming it’s normally waitress service and this only happened because it was 2.45 and I had went straight to the bar to order. 2015-06-27 14.57.21

OH was right, the view from the deck is stunning and looks directly on to the spot on the Tay that kayakers and rafters brave the rushing white waters.

The Cullen Skink arrived almost immediately (I think I was right about the chef wanting finished promptly). To be honest, I was a little disappointed as it wasn’t the biggest of bowls – at £6 for a bowl of soup you do expect something that will fill you but then maybe I’m just greedy.2015-06-27 14.46.30 The Cullen Skink itself was a little thin and could have had a tad more cream but it was good enough.  I could see the orders the other diners were having and it all looked good and well displayed.

As we sat 2 teams of white water rafters paddled past. From their screams and shouts it certainly sounded like they were having fun. Free entertainment when you’re dining is rare and it certainly created an exciting buzz on the deck as everyone stopped talking/eating and watched the water.

The location is amazing and that alone is worth visiting The Inn on the Tay for. You can check out the lunch menu for yourself here – the other meals certainly looked good.

2 Cullen Skinks, a pint of cider, a soda water and lime and a great view of people taking on the white water = £17.50

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The Bein Inn, Perthshire

For the last fortnight I have been intending to tell you all about our recent trip to Spain but unfortunately life events have overtaken us and instead we have been involved with family stuff. Spain seems like a life time away now so I will leave it in the past and tell you about a more recent trip to The Bein Inn in Perthshire.

One of our niece’s had been staying with us – now to be known as D’Niece – and we were giving her a lift back to Crieff. It was late on a Sunday afternoon and we were struggling to think of somewhere that would be serving food. I thought of The Bein Inn as I knew we would pass it if we were going over the hill towards Perth but wasn’t sure if it would still be serving food. Thankfully when we stopped in the pouring rain we found it was.

There was a Roast Sunday Menu which offered Soup of the day, Roast Rib of Scottish Beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and fresh vegetables (or Mustard crusted roast ham), and Dessert of the day for £16.95.

The soup was pea, chilli and chorizo which I thought sounded lovely but made D’Niece turn a whiter shade of pale as apparently she has a fear of peas – probably brought on by a tyrannical mum (;)) making her kids eat up every last one. I’ve never had a problem eating them as I eat my peas with honey, I’ve done it all my life, it makes the peas taste funny but it keeps them on my knife ;p2015-03-29 18.09.59

The soup was just as lovely as it sounded (to me) and had tasty lumps of chorizo in it, which were gorgeous. D’Niece went off menu and chose Thai fishcake served with chilli sauce. She enjoyed it, saying they were spicy, hot and fresh just as they should be.2015-03-29 18.09.20

For mains, I had the roast ham 2015-03-29 18.26.07and both D’Niece and OH had the roast beef.

I didn’t expect to get a Yorkshire pudding with mine but I was over the moon when I did as I do love a good Yorkshire pudding me! Unfortunately, and very disappointingly, the pud was burnt and tasted a bit odd. It had a sweet tang to it and I ended up leaving it at the side of my plate. The rest was good although maybe a little bit unspecial – I never did find the mustard crust and I thought my gravy tasted the same as OH’s when I’d much rather have had something more in keeping with ham. D’Niece and OH enjoyed their roast beef 2015-03-29 18.25.48but they didn’t really rave much about it. I think the overall feeling was that it was a fine meal but nothing to write home about (unless of course you write a blog when you do get home).

The meal – 3 starters and 3 roast dinners – came to £42.50.

The Riverside Inn, Dundee

Last weekend I was off call for work but on call for babysitting duties. The baby in question is our beautiful 1 year old granddaughter (yes, I know you didn’t think I was old enough ;p)

As it was a rotten day on Saturday we tried to think of somewhere indoors that would suit a nosey wee one but also keep our interest too. Therefore, we decided to head north to The Scottish Antiques and Arts Centre at Abernyte in Perthshire, which if you like wandering around old bits and pieces, perusing chic modern furniture, accessories and clothes and finally pick up some fancy cheese in a deli then it is the place to go when it’s raining. There really is something for everyone whether it’s an antique figurine, a brand new footstool or a cup of tea and slice of cake. The down side is that the restaurant area is a bit too upmarket to sit with a toddler. We, therefore, headed along the River Tay to The Riverside Inn in Dundee.

I had thought it was still called The Marmalade Pot but we discovered it had been refurbished and boasted a tv screen at every table and a free soft play area. Yes, I did say a TV SCREEN at every table. It’s anti-social dinning at it’s best. I guess you do have the choice of switching it off but as the waitress led us to our table I didn’t see any blank screens.

What I did like though, was that the table we were shown to had already been set for us with a babyseat and children’s menu. I had brought some food for the wee one so it was just OH and I that needed to decide. As we looked over the menu the waitress brought over some plastic cutlery and chatted with the wee one, which was nice. The menu was the usual pub grub but also advertised hanging skewers and a Build Your Own Burger section. Thinking the DIY burger was too much hassle OH decided to go for a 28 day aged 8oz Rump Steak with seasoned chips, petits pois, mushrooms, onion rings and roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine. I went for the Chicken fajitas with pan-fried peppers, red onions, tortillas, jalapeños, grated Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese, sour cream and salsa.

Whilst we waited I tried to feed our granddaughter but she was far too interested in everything that was happening around us. Other children running around, large groups arriving with presents and balloons and the waitresses passing by with platefuls. However, we soon had her full attention when our food arrived. 2015-02-21 14.26.41My fajitas were sizzling hot and made quite a racket when the dishes were placed in front of me. OH’s steak, although looking good just didn’t have the same pizzazz.    2015-02-21 14.26.48   When I saw the amount of spicy chicken and peppers there were I didn’t think I would be able to finish it all but oh boy did I manage, and enjoyed every drop.

OH made short work of his steak too and managed to lose a few chips to the wee one who preferred them loads more than the food I had provided. I’ve just asked OH to pass comment on his meal and he’s said “You can’t really go wrong with a steak – it was a good bit of beef done the way I asked without any sauce on it.”  So there you have it. 2015-02-21 14.26.34

After we’d scrapped our plates clean, I toddled after the wee one through to the busy soft play area where she spent 20 minutes trying to get everyone’s attention and I spent 20 minutes trying to get her attention to capture a colourful happy pic. We both failed but both had fun.

It’s not a place I’d go for a romantic meal or even a meal with another couple but with kids that arent teens yet (let’s face it teens wouldn’t want to be seen with you out anway)  it’s an ideal place to go and have good food whilst they watch tv and run around in their socks.

One pint of lager and a tin of juice – £4.93 (bought at the bar as we waited on our table) and 2 main meals – £18.98 = a total  of £23.91.

The Grouse and Claret, Kinross.

After only managing to spend £4.50 yesterday we thought we’d treat ourselves to lunch at the Grouse and Claret today. So off we headed to Kinross to find it. Although there was a large sign advertising the restaurant we did wonder if we were on the right road as for one scary moment we thought we were going to end up among a heap of Perth and Kinross road grit. Along the road there were signs for a fishery but no more for the restaurant. We carried on regardless and were soon rewarded with a sign pointing the way to the restaurant car park.2014-05-25 14.27.40

The views from the car park were stunning as it looked out over one of the 4 fishing ponds that surround The Claret and Grouse.  We went in and hovered about in an entrance hall full of tat unsure where to go next. A man in a cook’s apron encouraged us to move further into the building. That person turned out to be the owner (and chef) who directed us through to the bar where more smiley, welcoming people waited to direct us through to an area with leather couches, chairs and nibbles. OH chose a sofa so he could look out on to the fisherman sitting around the pond. It wasn’t long before the waitress arrived to take our drinks order. Only once we had our drinks were we allowed to see the menus. The available dishes reflected the decor of the seating area and the nationalities of the owners – “local produce with hints of the orient”. After a while our food order was taken and then, after another short wait we were shown through to our table. Unfortunately, we were sat at possibly one of the only tables without a view.

For starter I chose Smoked Haddock Welsh Rarebit 2014-05-25 13.29.55and OH had Spicy Thai Pork Fritters. 2014-05-25 13.29.49My rarebit was fantastic. If anything there was too much and I wondered if I’d have enough room for the Twice Cooked Pork Belly in Hoisin sauce I had ordered for my main meal.  OH voiced the same difficulties saying his fritters were delicious with a clean, fresh taste to them but he wished there were only 2. For his main course OH had ordered Sea Bream which came on a raft (his word) of green beans and asparagus with a warm pesto sauce. 2014-05-25 13.44.48He managed all his fish but said the potatoes were boring and there were too many green beans. My pork belly was amazing! Sorry there’s no pic because my (lack of) photography skills didn’t do it justice. It honestly melted in my mouth and the rich hoisin sauce was perfect. Half way through I warned OH that if I couldn’t finish it I was asking for a doggy bag. This wasn’t required however as I managed to demolish the pork and only had to leave some of the rice.

Normally, I would finish the wine whilst OH orders a pudding but not today; today OH ordered a whisky and I sipped my coke because I was ‘Des’ and he was full up.

As we sat letting our meal digest (and because we didn’t have a view) we started discussing our surroundings. Although the building and scenery were great the internal decor looked as if it hadn’t been thought about since the 80s. White plastic curtain tracks, pine furniture, awful art on the walls and pasty linoleum made it feel like an old people’s home.  Saying that, considering we were at least 25 years younger than our fellow diners, maybe that’s how it should be. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, the toilets completely matched the decor.

I loved my meal, the surroundings, the service and the building. However, to make it a more enjoyable experience and worthy of the prices, I would completely change the decor, try to attract a younger diner and add a couple of sign posts along the road.

The bill came to £51.

2 starters and 2 mains = £40.50, Drinks £10.50

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Stunning views

The Roost

Visited 8th March, 2014

Today we decided to visit The Roost in Bridge of Earn, Perthshire. Well, I say today but we actually booked the table midweek having thought through what we wanted to do this weekend. As it’s another weekend of not being on call I wanted to head out of Fife again – as is often my want. Anyway, we started thinking of places we had been before and meals we had enjoyed. Suddenly we remembered The Roost. We first enjoyed eating at The Roost maybe about 6 years ago. Way back then it wasn’t licensed and it had a rustic decor – looking at the website it had matured over the years so we decided to pay it another visit.

The Roost

The Roost

When we arrived at The Roost we were welcomed in and offered the choice of 3 different tables for 2. Taking our seats we noticed quickly that the furnishings had indeed changed over the years and now it was more geared towards fine dining with white tablecloths and brown leather chairs compared to the rustic wooden tables we remembered from before. We also noticed we were the youngest in the place – easily by 30 years – and we had forgotten to put marbles in our mouths.

Listening into their conversations I could hear rhubarb, rhubarb, World War 1, rhubarb, rhubarb, Queen Victoria.

We were given 3 different menus. A wine one (yes it’s now licensed – what a relief!), an a la carte one and the set lunch menu.  The set lunch was very set and only offered only one choice for each course at £17.50 for 2 courses and £21 for 3, whereas the a la carte one offered 7 different options for starters and mains. The options were varied and deliciously different from the usual run of the mill options.

OH chose Perthshire rabbit rillettes with pickled vegetables and crostini at £6.95 from the a la carte and I had Butternut Squash soup garnished with smoked paprika aioli and croutons from the set menu.   I have to say the soup was absolutely gorgeous. The ‘garnish’ really added to the soup and gave it an amazing depth which meant that every spoonful was tasty and the soup tantalized the taste buds with every mouthful.

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

OH asked the waitress what rillettes were and she was able to give an excellent description of the process which involves cooking the rabbit really slowly until it falls to bits. It’s then shredded and formed into a course pate which is then shaped with double spoons. See – everyday is a school day! Apparently and gladly, the rabbit wasn’t as strong as OH had feared since it was a taste he hadn’t experienced since childhood and his Gran had cooked it for him.  OH loved the balance of the dish and raved about his good choice.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

Rhubarb, rhubarb, Claire plays bridge, rhubarb, rhubarb, first to water sky on Lochearnhead, rhubarb, rhubarb, port.

For his main course OH chose the Confit of Barbary duck leg with braised red cabbage, potato rosti, Chantenay carrots and thyme jus at £14.50. I had Pan fried coley fillet, saffron risotto, tomato, olives and capers with lemon butter.

Yet again I was a little disappointed with my choice and OH trumped me (the bugger!). Unfortunately the coley was a bit bland and the saffron risotto although lovely, didn’t lift the dish enough and to be honest the black olives were the highlight of the course – something I never thought I’d say! In comparison OH’s duck was perfectly cooked, fell of the bone and worked really well with the

Holy Coley

Holy Coley

red cabbage. Honestly I’m getting fed up with OH trouncing me on his menu choice. I will have to rectify this soon!

Rhubarb, rhubarb, Kaiser Wilhelm, rhubarb, rhubarb, Tony Blair, rhubarb, rhubarb, cigar.

I’m really not a dessert person so I opted for another glass of pinot (yeah I know this is becoming a theme;)) and ignored the option of white chocolate, honeycomb and stem ginger cheesecake with poached Yorkshire rhubarb from the set menu (btw why Yorkshire rhubarb – specially when all I’ve been hearing is posh Scots rhubarb???).

OH, who is a pudding person, chose Plum frangipane tart served warm with orange crème anglaise. He then boasted that his choice was perfect as he still had the taste of duck in his mouth and therefore the orange crème anglaise complemented it beautifully and at the same time cut through the almonds and the plums flawlessly.  Really, I think he was just bragging because he had selected (in his eyes) the perfect menu.

When OH ordered a coffee I was also (annoyingly) jealous of the piece of tablet that accompanied it but thankfully the waitress noticed my dissatisfaction and brought me a piece too. (yuss!)

All in all, the bill came to £58.10 which included £13.20 for drinks.

Rhubarb, rhubarb, golf in the wind, rhubarb, rhubarb, swinging party keys in the ashtray.

Good food, friendly service, pricey lunch menu =  7/10

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