Boat Brae, Newport-on-Tay.

We have tried to visit Boat Brae on several occasions since it opened but it’s always been fully booked. Today we were in luck and managed to secure a table with a fantastic view over the Tay (to be fair all the tables up the stairs have a fantastic view of the Tay). The white horses were aplenty today and the vista just added to the beautiful decor of the restaurant. Where we were sat I could see into the kitchen and OH could see the rail bridge.

We were given menus and told the specials – Butternut and Rosemary soup, Arbroath smokie pate with citrus creme fraiche and oatcakes and Sirloin of scotch beef was the roast of the day. I scoured the menu and decided I was having the pate to start and the Seafood Bourride – Chunky monkfish, squid, mussels, surf clams, tomatoes, potato, fennel, garlic aioli, sourdough for my main. When OH said he fancied the same starter we decided to share and he settled on the Peterhead Fillet of Sea Bass – Sweet potato, chilli, lime, sun-blushed tomato, green beans for his main. There were other offerings such as Pork Belly, Bone Marrow Beefburger and steaks for the meat eaters and for the vegans there was a pearl barley risotto and beetroot, fig and vegan feta filo tart. The full menu is >>> here

The starter was wonderful. The pate was deliciously smokey and for once there was just the perfect ratio of oatcakes to pate even if there were an odd amount and OH won at rock, paper, scissors. I know this is totally not a foodie thing to say but the little circles of pickled onion tasted exactly like pickled onion Monster Munch and were amazing.

My main came in half of one of the large kettles they usually serve mussels in and was swimming with large chunks of monk fish, squid and mussels as well as tomatoes, potatoes and fennel. The fennel was hardly noticeable and the squid was little white puff balls that weren’t in the least bit rubbery. I loved the broth and could have happily sat and ate it all but as the portion was huge, I knew I would regret it so picked out all the little clams and leftover fishy bits I could find from the leftover tomato and potato soup.

I was surprised that OH ordered fish but it just goes to show you I don’t know him as well as I thought. When OH’s bowl arrived (yes I know he hates a bowl but he didn’t moan this time) there were two large fillets of sea bass on top of green beans, sweet potatoes and zingy sun-blushed tomatoes. OH enjoyed it and said it was filling and the skin was crisp. I know the tomatoes surprised him a couple of times because his lips pursed.

When we were asked if we wanted a dessert (obviously) I asked for another glass of white and OH went for (and I am trying to remember because I didn’t take note at the time) a panna cotta on top of a rum infused pineapple with coconut, raspberry sorbet and frozen grapes (sorry it might have been the panna cotta that had the rum but I had wine!). I had a little taste and it just reminded me why I don’t order desserts but OH loved it and said it was a great palate cleanser.

OH also ordered an Americano, which came with a little bit of shortbread. I leaned over and whispered, “I’m totally not complaining but I think this is going to be our most expensive lunch for a long time.” He laughed and said, “I don’t care. It was bloody delicious.”

One starter, two mains, one dessert, two large white wines, 1 non-alcoholic beer, 1 americano = £67.00

The Kirklands Hotel and Restaurant, Kinross

For Sunday lunch we were out and about near Kinross and decided to visit the restaurant in The Kirklands Hotel. When we arrived we were given a table in the front of the building next to the bar but later realised we had entered a TARDIS as there was also a large restaurant through the back.

We were given menus and told the soup of the day was Red lentil and tomato and the 2 Sunday roasts were beef and pork. Our drinks order was taken and we were given water for the table.

The menu was full of things I liked so it was a hard choice. Even the macaroni cheese came with options of ‘with haddock’, ‘with ham hock’ or ‘with pulled beef brisket’. Different things that stood out were pumpkin and coconut curry, Tacos and there was small and large options of all of the mains.

I decided I was going to start with French Onion soup with Gruyere cheese crouton, which arrived with a warm Mediterranean brown roll and butter.

Often French onion soup can be hazardous and leave your tongue and chin burnt with long stringy cheese and rodent onions but the temperature of this soup didn’t need a health warning. It was delicious and tasty but if I had to make a complaint it was that the croutons weren’t crunchy and the plate wasn’t deep enough. If I’m paying £6.50 for a plate of soup I want it leaving me wishing I hadn’t ordered a main dish instead of wanting more.

OH had forgone a starter and went for a large plate of Katsu Chicken Curry – breaded chicken fillets & katsu curry sauce served with egg fried rice.

This isn’t a dish OH would normally choose as he isn’t a fan of breaded food but he loved all the tastes on his plate and said the fresh coriander, spring onion and side salad made the dish zing for him and he’d happily order it again.

Following my soup, I went for a small bowl of Moules Frites – steamed mussels with bacon, pine nuts and Parmesan sauce, skinny fries and crusty bread. Prior to my meal arriving I was given a finger bowl and dish for the shells so the restaurant was already given brownie points for the their fore thought.

The bowl was the same size as the plate of soup so wasn’t big at all but it was full of a thick creamy sauce and heaped with both red and spring onions. The mussels were fresh and all of them had burst open. The bacon bits were thin on the ground but there were plenty pine nuts and the crusty bread was soft and perfect to soak up the cream sauce. To begin with I had thought the onions were overkill but I managed to eat them all and was not complaining about them at the end. Often I can leave the broth in mussels because I am either bored or it’s too salty – not the case here, if there had been a pattern on the plate there was no evidence of it by the time I had finished wiping it clean. The skinny fries also managed to disappear without trace.

OH finished with a flat white so I ordered a small glass of wine to keep him company.

As were sat next to the bar I could watch the young waiter making up other’s drink orders and I could tell he took pride in what he was doing whether it was chilling a glass prior to pouring wine into it or putting a feather pattern on top of a coffee cup. Like the finger bowl it’s the small things that make a big difference.

A starter, 1 large main, 1 small main, 1 coffee, 1 non-alcohol beer, 1 large and 1 small glass of wine – £43. 90

The Ship Inn, Elie, Fife

As it was a horrible, wet and windy day OH and I decided to visit the Ship Inn in Elie for lunch as it isn’t too far from home and would have some fantastic views of any white horses in the Forth. Although we have had numerous drinks at the Ship before we have never ate there since it was done up a few years ago. We have however, dined at their sister restaurant in Ratho, The Bridge Inn, which you can read about if you click their name.

When we arrived we were seated in the corner of the room where OH could look out over the harbour and watch the water splash up over the deserted beer garden. Menus had been left on our table but there was no sign of any specials or a board. It did have catch of the day on the menu with the POA acronym next to it so I did ask and it was Sole and was £23.95. I also had to ask for a wine menu.

For starter OH decided on Beetroot Pesto vegetable crudites, heritage beetroot and toasted seeds. We did think about sharing it but I really wanted to try the Cauliflower Fritters harissa, crème fraiche and coriander, which came under the heading of Nibbles.

When it arrived it was nothing like I had expected as you couldn’t lift up any individual vegetable. That didn’t stop me trying it though and it tasted wonderful. The colours were vibrant and the tastes were fresh. OH said it was a large helping and filling. He also said he felt very healthy after it.

My cauliflower fritters were like little clouds of heaven. I loved them. The balance of deep fried batter with the crème fraiche along with the kick from the harissa worked so well I could have just kept eating.

OH and I could have probably left at this point as we already felt like we’d had a lovely meal but our main orders had been taken and it would have been rude not to stay.

To be honest, I was disappointed in the main choices considering the restaurant is right on the water as the only fish dishes were fish and chips or fish pie (obviously apart from the sole) so I opted for a small fish and chips and OH went for the fish pie. Other options were Bangers and mash, Butternut Squash Risotto and the Ship Inn beef burger.

The fish pie arrived in what OH called a meals on wheels container with the vegetables on top. He had trouble cutting his carrots and beans and complained (as usual) about food not on flat plates and the problems it causes. However, getting over that he said the pie had big chunks of fish, the vegetables had a bite and the sauce was really creamy. The piped potatoes on top were also thick and creamy. He says he would have it again but needs to remember and order it on a flat plate. I have been writing these blogs and going with OH to restaurants for about 6 years and he still forgets to bring his glasses to read the menu so I am guessing it will be at least another 6 years before he remembers to ask for a flat plate.

My fish and chips were good, if a little boring. The batter at the tail end was a bit soggy but the further up the fish I worked the crisper it got. The crushed peas were exceptional compared to other bashed up peas I have had recently but I would still prefer mushy ones. The tartare sauce was unique with an ingredient I couldn’t quite make up mind what it was – maybe just the gherkin was pickled in something different but whatever it was, it was good. (Edit: my mum has text me to say it would be capers not gherkins) The chips were also good but I had to stop myself eating them all as I was fuller than the moon that was making the tide outside so high.

2 starters, 2 mains, 1 x 250ml of Argentinian Malbec, 2 x 125ml of house wine and a lager. £54.95

The Boat House, South Queensferry

After a visit to Port Edgar Marina, and finding there was an hour and a half wait for food at Scotts, we decided to head into South Queensferry and try The Boat House . We had seen the doorway often but had never ventured down to the restaurant at the bottom of the stairs before. Incidentally, on the window on the way in we saw a sign saying the restaurant was shutting at 4pm for the staff’s Christmas night out, which I thought was great. For a boss to close his business so the entire workforce can celebrate together says a lot about an owner and I really appreciated that.

When you enter the dining area the first thing to hit you is the panoramic view of the Forth (Rail) Bridge. Even though I live in Fife and frequently see it, the sight of it up close still catches my breath so it was great when we were offered a window seat.

We were given the chef’s specials and the daily menu and our drinks orders were taken. I decided on one of the specials, the prawn and salmon linguine with parmesan and garlic bread. I can’t remember what sauce it was in but I have a feeling it was lobster and prosecco but I might have made that up. Regardless, the dish was fantastic. The prawns were bigger than the garlic bread and reminded me of a Dr Who episode The Green Death (I shall let you google that if you can be bothered). However, these little monsters did not give me nightmares. They were thick, meaty and juicy. The salmon was smoked and abundantly scattered throughout the pasta dish. If I had any complaint at all it would the food was too hot – burny burny not nippy.

OH decided on the Seafood Curry – Chunks of fresh fish in a Malaysian style Coconut and Coriander curried sauce blend served with steamed Basmati rice and warm naan bread. When it arrived there was immediate disappointment as it arrived in a bowl with a knife and fork. If you’re a regular reader you will know OH hates this. There was also a small bowl of mango chutney in the bowl, which added to OH’s annoyance but that’s just him – it seems nowadays no-one wants their food touching. That aside though, it did not take him long to work his way through it. He thinks, as well as mussels, there was also salmon and haddock in the dish but he could be wrong. The sauce was mild and maybe not as spicy as it could have been but it did prompt him to ask if I could make the dish at home, which is a big compliment from him.

The dessert menu was a bit unexciting for me (sticky toffee pudding, profiteroles, panacotta) but the Chocolate and Orange Tart with Crème Fraiche appealed to OH. As I watched him chisel his way into it I could visualise it coating his arteries. He enjoyed it and used words such as heavy and sticky and tart but tasty. I also noticed it was on a bed of raspberry coulis, which would have balanced the tastes. OH then finished off with a lovely coffee and piece of tablet, which he offered to me but I declined and sipped at my large glass of sauvignon blanc instead.

Additional notes: Service was great, toilets were immaculate and although we both had seafood dishes there were a number of other meat and vegetarian options on offer.

2 mains, 1 dessert, 1 coke, 1 large glass of wine, 1 coffee = £50.15

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

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

The Dory Bistro & Gallery, Pittenweem.

Looking for lunch not too faraway I opened up my laptop and did a search for nearby restaurants. A short browse led me to The Dory Bistro & Gallery in Pittenweem, a seafood restaurant in the East Neuk of Fife I had never visited before. I phoned up to book before we left as I wasn’t sure if it was a place you could just walk in. When we got there the room was full of empty tables but all with reserved signs on them so I was right to call.

Pittenweem is the most active harbour in the East Neuk and has a daily fish market a matter of metres from the bistro, which was obviously reflected in it’s menus. Along with the wine and lunch menu we were also given the specials menu, which the waitress read through. She was knowledgeable about where the fish was caught and had more detail about how the dishes came. Unlike last week’s menu in Room with a View there were a few meat dishes such as pheasant au vin and steak pie as well.

Initially, when we looked at the list of starters and mains we thought it would be an easy order but there was quite a bit of heeing and hawing around what starter would go with what main. I am a big fan of Cullen Skink but there was also a shellfish bouillabaisse as a main. Eventually we decided to share a starter of moules marinière with cream, shallots, white wine, parsley. We told the waitress we were sharing and she asked if we wanted them in 2 pots. Oh yes please.

The mussels were fantastic. Fat, big and juicy. There was no beards or barnacles and the creamy broth was fantastic – full of shallots and parsley and not salty. As well as the bread we were given at the start of the meal I used my spoon to try and get as much as possible – something I don’t always feel the need to do.

When OH was in Orkney he saw a family of locals ‘spooting’ – the art of catching razor clams, which spoot water up when you drizzle them with salt but didn’t get the chance to taste them even though they did offer him some still in their shells. Therefore, when he saw razor clams on the menu he decided he would have them. They were served with pancetta, cherry tomatoes, garlic, white wine and dill. It was an impressive dish when it arrived even if the clams did look like ridiculously large sperms (sorry mum but they did). I tried a bit of one and was glad I hadn’t ordered the dish. It was chewy and did not hold much taste. OH said he enjoyed the buttery sauce but felt the clams were a bit like squid. He struggled on. I could tell his heart wasn’t in it. This was not in any way a reflection on the chef but on the razor clam itself. OH said he was really glad he tried it but wished it had been a starter. I noticed he then turned into Mr Bean as he tried to hide his unfinished clams under the long thin shells.

I had decided on the pan-fried fillet of sea bass with smoked salmon risotto and pesto. This was a colourful dish with bright green pesto, saffron yellow rice and small green peas and at last I had found a crispy skin. I had been worried about the pesto being too strong but I needn’t have been. It was not like any other pesto I have had before (and disliked)…actually, now I am sitting writing I am wondering if maybe it was a wild garlic pesto? The tables all had wild garlic flowers in them but no leaves – could they have been in the kitchen in a pestle and mortar? Anyway, I loved my risotto. It wasn’t sticky, it had bags of flavour and the peas gave it another level. The fish with its crispy skin was spot on.

There were no desserts on the menu but there was a blackboard with a list of cakes. Almond and orange cake, Rhubarb drizzle, chocolate brownie, whisky and marmalade fruit loaf and scones. OH needed something to get rid of the memory of the razor clams so asked for the almond and orange cake. As the waitress warned it was not a sweet cake but tart and tangy. I’m guessing OH would have loved some custard or cream with it but enjoyed it nonetheless.

Service was great, the toilets spotless and the fish was excellent.

1 starter (£9.95), 2 mains, 1 cake, 2 bottles of craft lager and a coke £55.35

Incidentally, the Dory Bistro and Gallery is behind the white campervan in the top pic of Pittenweem.