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.

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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

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The Base, Leven

Long story short, Mini-me has been staying with us recently so when we asked her where she wanted to go for Sunday lunch her only request was for nowhere posh. Knowing her levels of posh I went on to Tripadvisor and trawled restaurants in Fife. It was there I happened upon The Base, Leven, which advertised Pizza, Pasta, Grill. I had a quick look at the menu and thought it sounded ideal so off we went.

On entry, I was pleasantly surprised to see the urban decor. Metal chairs, bare light bulbs, brick walls and chunky wood tables, which isn’t the norm for Leven. I know you’re now wondering what is the norm for Leven and if I was being really unkind I’d say formica and plastic but I’m not an unkind person.

The menu did indeed offer pizza, pasta and grills but also salads, fish, wraps and stuff like steak pie a and chilli. What was good was that you could have small dishes for a fiver or you could go 50/50 and have half pizza/half pasta. There were also offers on each day of the week but unfortunately the offer for a Sunday was kids eat for £1 and Teeny-mini-him wasn’t with us. We gave our drinks order and studied both sides of the large A3 menu.

OH and Mini-me fancied starters but as the soup was carrot and parsnip I decided to go without, knowing I’d be stealing off their plates. OH went for Garlic Mushrooms – seasoned button mushrooms, breaded and served with a spicy garlic mayo and salad garnish and Mini-me went for Mac & cheese bites. Both arrived (possibly straight from Iceland) with side salad and dressing. Tasty enough (yes I did try them both) but nowt special. However, what got us talking was the dressing, which we tried to guess the ingredients for. We all argued about the orange and red liquid, which I thought had a citrus tang but, when we eventually asked, were told it was sweet chili sauce and honey. Oh.

After lots of tooing and froing OH and Mini-me both decided to have a Calzone. Something new for OH but something tried and tested by Mini-me. OH had the ‘Tikka Chance on Me’ – Roasted chicken, mixed onions, mixed peppers, tikka sauce and Mozzarella & Cheddar mix. He managed to eat it all but said that he could feel it filing his arteries and was fearful for his heart. He also mentioned at one point that the last thing he expected to be eating for his Sunday lunch was a folded over curry pizza. So although it was good and he enjoyed it, he wouldn’t hurry to order another.

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Mini-me had the Mex-ellent – Roasted chicken, mixed peppers, mixed onions, salsa, guacamole, sour cream with lots of Mozzarella cheese. Basically a fajitah pizza. She really enjoyed it but regretted having a starter as she didn’t manage to eat it all. However, they very kindly gave her a doggy bag and her leftovers are now sat in my kitchen.

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What was obvious was that both meals had been prepared fresh and cooked to order.

For my main I decided to have the Beef Lasagne, which was described as “Our chef’s signature dish, lovingly prepared on the premises and it’s just the best lasagne around bar none! Served with chips and salad garnish.” Yes, maybe loving prepared but not today – probably one day last week and re-heated everyday since. From the charcoal look of it I expected it to burn my mouth but no it wasn’t even that hot. The chips were lovely though…. I said to OH it was the second worse lasagne I’ve ever had. He immediately replied with “At least it wasn’t as bad as the one in the Elvis Presley Bar then.” As usual he was spot on. Do click the link if you want to hear about the worst lasagne I’ve ever had.

We asked for the bill as no-one could fit in a dessert. The bill arrived with mint chocs, which is always a good thing. After I went up to pay I visited the toilets, which were extremely clean and trendy – definitely worth their own mention as they impressed me far more than my main meal.

Over cooked lasagne aside, I loved the look of the place, the waitresses were both lovely and I really like that they’re trying to bring a city centre feel to the streets of Leven.

2 starters, 3 mains, 2 large glasses of wine, 1 pint and 1 coke – £55.65