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

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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.

A Room with a View, Aberdour.

My cousin from LA has been over recently (my mum and her mum are sisters) so we decided we would all go out for lunch. After many discussions and not being organised enough to book an afternoon tea we eventually decided on A Room with a View. This was for a couple of reasons 1. Lusa is pescatarian and the seafood menu at Room with a View means she wouldn’t be a PESTatairan and 2. It has been on my list for years but the myth of it being hard to get to had put me off. However, when I phoned up to book, I was asked if I needed a lift down to the restaurant that overlooks the Forth and is right on the edge of the coast, as they offer free transport from anywhere in Aberdour.

OH very kindly offered to run us there and took us right to the door in his 4×4. We were all very grateful as my initial plan had been to park in the car park at the top of the hill and walk down but it soon became evident the road is not for the faint-hearted so if you go (and you should) take them up on their offer of a free lift.

The restaurant is part of The Forth View Hotel and has a very homely feel to it. When we arrived we had a seat in the lounge and were offered drinks. Shinty Awards covered the shelves and old black and white photos adorned the walls. We could easily have been sat in someone’s front room. When we were taken through to the restaurant the decor was similar with views over the Forth. Unfortunately it was a dreich day so the views, which would normally be stunning, were grey and faded.

We were given the lunch and wine menus and our water glasses were filled up. All four of us love seafood and we had a genuine difficulty in picking what we would have as everything sounded great.

We eventually all manged to decide on something. Lusa had Sweet Potato Fritters with Harissa Salsa. Maxi-me had Room with a View Scotch Egg, Scottish salmon & Dunbar Quails Egg on a green Lentil & Asparagus Salad. AA and I both plumped for Smoked Mackerel. smoked salmon & radish pate with Arran Oaties.

As we waited on our orders we were given bread rolls, which were warm and moreish. One of the other tables were delivered a hamper, which was full with tasters of all the starter options and I think we maybe mucked up by not ordering that.

Our starters soon arrived and MM’s scotch egg was the winner and we all had dish envy when it arrived. MM said it was just as good as it looked and the salad was exceptional, which annoyed Lusa who said she was a bit disappointed in her salad and would have preferred MM’s. Her harissa salsa was very sweet and not as hot as I thought it would be. She enjoyed her dish but said she wouldn’t order it again and wished she had ordered the soup (leek, potato and watercress topped with prawns). My pate was very fishy and I loved it. As ever there is never enough oatcakes but an hour later I was really glad there weren’t more.

For main MM chose Pan fried sea bass fillet served on apple, bacon & celery risotto, Lusa had Halibut & herbs served en-croute, potato wedges, baby carrots & onion veloute and AA and I both went for Sole fillets stuffed with fresh mackerel, scallop roe bisque, mangetout and hand cut chips.

MM enjoyed her sea bass and said the risotto worked well, especially with the bacon, which added an extra layer. Lusa’s dish looked like a pasty and was jam packed with halibut. She said the highlight of the dish was the onion veloute as without it the dish would be dry but this made the meal and there was enough to keep pouring over as she cut her way through it. Lusa was disappointed with her potato wedges and thought they could have done something a bit more adventurous with the potato. My stuffed sole was lovely and the accompanying bisque was fantastic, which was rich, creamy and not at all salty. The mangetout was still crunchy and my chips were good but I had to agree with Lusa that the chips didn’t go with the dish but then the plate did need the texture.

To dessert or not to dessert, that was the next question. The sisters decided they were fine with coffee and Lusa and I debated what sweet we would share. We eventually went for the Rhubarb Crumble as it came with custard and the states don’t do custard. The crumble was good and just as you would want with not too thick nor too thin sweet custard to compliment the tart rhubarb. I have to apologise as I didn’t take a pic of the dessert menu so you’ll have to visit A Room with a View yourself to find out what else was on the sweet menu.

Crumble

We all enjoyed Room with a View, we loved the menu and it ticked loads of boxes. There were a number of compliments for the plates the dishes were served on, throughout our meal the service was excellent and our wine glasses were rarely empty. When you go (and you definitely should) don’t go and expect stylish decor or highfalutin toilets as all the attention has been placed on the food, which is as it should be.

4 starters, 4 mains, 1 dessert, 2 coffees and 2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc = £153.30

The Courtyard, Cupar

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chocolate pot

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

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

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

Ham’s Hame Pub and Grill, St Andrews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Port Restaurant, Perth

OH and I were in Perth today. We had been for a wander around the Continental Food Market and also the Museum and Art Gallery so when we got hungry I searched for somewhere close by that wouldn’t mean another walk. My phone suggested North Port Restaurant, which was right round the corner and I am so glad it did. Although it really was a meal of 2 halves (to misquote a footballing cliche).

When we arrived our coats were taken and we were seated in a dark, olde fashioned room. Dark wood was everywhere; chairs, tables, floor and even a low ornate wooden ceiling. However, our table was light and airy.

The waitress appeared with a bottle of tap water and wore a loose floaty apron which added to the ye olde feel. She gave us 3 menus. A la carte, set lunch and specials. The lunch menu was 2 courses for £14.95 and 3 for £17.95. The a la cart menu offered main meals around the £18 mark and the specials menu boasted scallops, pigeon and hake.

We were asked what drinks we wanted and as there was no wine menu I asked for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. New Zealand or Spain? New Zealand of course. Large or small? Large. OH asked for a bottle of St Mungo’s lager as there was nothing on tap.

After much deliberation, OH decided on Whipped Arran Blue – celery, sweet cicily, toast and I went for the Smoked Haddie, leeks, hazelnut dressing. OH is trying to eat more fish, which is what I usually order but as the other menu items didn’t appeal as much (we were ordering off the lunch menu) we both ordered North Sea Coley, celeriac, spinach, mushrooms, shellfish sauce.

As we were waiting, the waitress arrived with our drinks and a plate of homemade bread and a carrot dip with pumpkin seed granola and parsley butter. I am not usually one for filling myself up with bread before a meal but I ate it all and when I was asked if I wanted more I was sorely tempted. It was gorgeous.







Arran Blue
Smoked Haddie

I have to say, my starter was amazing. There was large lumps of delicious smoked haddock, the leeks and hazelnut dressing gave it a fantastic taste and texture and the fish skin gave it a lovely salty crunch. After I had finished I could not wait for my main meal and bragged to OH how clever I was at finding this hidden gem of a restaurant.

OH wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about his starter. I had thought it would look a bit blue but it resembled vanilla ice cream. The taste however was very blue. I tried a small amount and mentioned that it could do with a glass of port and OH agreed that was exactly what was missing. He enjoyed it though and like the crunchy celery.

There was the perfect wait between courses and the waitress was very friendly and attentive.

Coley

Our dishes both looked great when they arrived and initially I thought it was good but as I kept eating I got more and more meh with it. The skin was only crispy at the edges, I wasn’t sure the mushrooms actually went with the dish and the spinach could have been drained more. The celeriac was the biggest flavour on the plate and didn’t really deserve to be. Trying to find something positive – the shellfish sauce was good and it was a quality piece of fish.

I think because the bread and the starter had been so absolutely bloody brilliant, I got overly disappointed in my main. It was now up to the dessert to try and at least equalise in the second half. (or should it be third?)

White chocolate custard

OH ordered the Set White Chocolate Custard, hazelnut crumble, coffee jelly. Did it score? Yes it did. The coffee jelly was small but strong enough to cut through the sweet white chocolate and the crunchy crumble balanced well with the squishy, set custard. OH also ordered an americano, which arrived with 2 square truffles of really strong chocolate. I believe when only 1 coffee is ordered and you still get two bits of sweet yummyness the restaurant gets brownie points. I ordered another glass of white but small this time.

I know that some of you reading this don’t like toilets that are a hassle (Mum I mean you) and unfortunately these ones are up a spiral staircase. However, the staircase fits in perfectly with the rest of the decor and the toilets are lovely (and there is White Stuff toiletries).

When the bill arrived I kicked myself that I didn’t order a bottle of the house white as

1 3 course lunch – £17.95, 1 2 course lunch – £14.95, 1 small, 1 large NZ White £17.90 (!!!) 1 lager £4.50, 1 coffee £2.50 = £57.55

Service was fantastic, ambience and decor great and I’d say on the whole food was very good (I just need to stop putting starters on pedestals just to knock it over when the main arrives)

The Bothy, Boglily Farm Steading, Kirkcaldy

I have always been aware that there is buffalo farm in Fife but recently it has been more and more on my mind. Possibly because Boglily Farm has been one of the farms featured on the program This Farming Life or maybe because I entered a competition and ever since Steve Mitchell, the farmer, has been emailing me with gorgeous pictures of meat packs but either way The Bothy, the cafe on the farm, was on my list and today OH, Mini-me, Teeny-him and I decided to pay it a visit for lunch.

I had pre-checked the menu on their website and knew that it was a cafe that sold mainly sandwiches and burgers so pre-warned everyone and I also knew that the children’s meals were macaroni, sausages or sandwiches and that Teeny-him would be happy with any of them.

When we arrived the first thing we saw was a colourful turkey and 2 emus, which fascinated the wee one just as much as they did the adults.

Mini-me and I went into The Bothy to find a queue and a very busy room. We were asked if a 15 minute wait was ok. It was so our names were taken and it was suggested we had a look around the shop. OH and Teeny-him explored the farm some more and found some pygmy goats and new born lambs. Unfortunately, the buffalo were still in the barns but they should be out and about in the summer, which is a great excuse to go back.

The shop was packed with good food. There was everything from buffalo steaks to chicken kebabs, pork sausages to fish cakes, duck eggs to marinades and there was definite bargains to be had. Once I have emptied my freezer I am going back for one of their packs.

When we wandered back into The Bothy they were ready for us and we were quickly seated. The waitress was fabulous with Teeny-him and after taking his order of macaroni and chippies (no garlic bread) and apple juice took him over to where there were some hidden toys and helped him pick some he could take back to the table. We all ordered burgers, which are named after the main places in nearby Auchtertool to thank them for putting up with the odd stray buffalo that may wander around the village. OH had the MURRAY COURT, Buffalo burger, cheddar, crispy bacon, fried egg, lettuce, tomato, red onion & bacon jam , Mini-me had the THE MALTINGS, Buffalo burger, haggis, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion & peppercorn sauce and I had the MAIN STREET, Buffalo burger, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion & Bothy burger sauce.

Teeny-him said his macaroni was tasty and yummy and his mum, who stole some, agreed that it was really good and she is a connoisseur!

OH really enjoyed his although the runny egg did make a bit of mess and his bun disintegrated but other than that he loved it and particularly enjoyed the red onion and bacon jam.

Mini-me, who I think is hard to please, loved hers and commented that the home made coleslaw was good. She also said, although the haggis was lovely, she wouldn’t order it again as it filled her up too much and she now feels haggis shouldn’t be on a burger (this was the first time she had experienced the addition of haggis). Of course, she cleared her plate.

I cut my burger bun in half and had no issue with it as it kept it’s integrity throughout. The burger was solid and high quality, the sauce went well on it and the potato wedges that accompanied our burgers were amazing and were coated with herbs – we think thyme, rosemary and oregano but we could be wrong. Regardless they were lush.

Looking around I could see others with sandwiches and cakes and everything looked amazing. The service was impeccable and the quality of food was spot on.

1 children’s meal, 3 burgers, 3 tins of juice – £41.90

Delivino, Auchterarder

Yesterday, as the start of me celebrating a big birthday, OH and I spent an entire day (along with MiniHim and TeenyMe) at Strathallan Skydiving Centre waiting for the clouds to clear. Unfortunately they didn’t and my birthday skydive has now been rescheduled for the 4th of November. To try to salvage something of the day we decided to visit Delivino in Auchterarder. I had visited the one in Crieff before and thought the Italian wine cafe was wonderful so when I found out there was one even nearer to us we just had to visit.

Thankfully they managed to squeeze us in, telling us what time they needed the table back by. Grateful for the table I didn’t mind sitting by the door. However, I did get a cold breeze every time someone came in but because I had my thermals on for the skydive I was actually quite glad of the occasional chill.

A bottle of water was immediately placed on the table along with the menu, which offered various pasta dishes in small and regular, pizzas, burgers and large sharing platters.

We ordered a carafe of wine and decided to share a small plate as a starter. davRoast Garlic and Chilli Prawns, which arrived sizzling and spitting and were fantastic; very hot, both in spice and temperature. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic at the start so you will just have to imagine another 5 of these fat, fabulous prawns along with some chunks of bread.

For my main I decided on Pancetta Carbonara – Crispy Smoked Pancetta, Parmesan & Creamy Carbonara Sauce. I chose to have a small plate rather than the regular size because I knew I would over eat if I did. OH had the special of Smoked haddock and Leek Risotto.

davMy pasta was everything I wanted it to be. Rich, creamy, hot and delicious. There wasn’t enough for me to get bored but the right amount to leave me completely satisfied although I was looking for some bread to mop up the remaining sauce with but that was just greed.

OH enjoyed his risotto, which was full of large lumps of haddock. I sneaked a taste and it was thick, cheesy with a nice salty fish taste. Both our dishes arrived in deep bowls, which I think really helped keep our meals warm throughout. Nothing worse than cold pasta mid-meal!mde

AS I finished the wine OH asked for Affogato for dessert. It came dismembered. Yes I know it’s supposed to be deconstructed but there’s something murderous about having to pay to make your own dessert. OH ‘drowned’ his ice cream with the espresso (affogato is italian for drowned – see you actually learned something from this blog) and crumbled the amaretto biscuits in as well. He then devoured it, whilst complaining it was just coffee and ice cream. mdeThis was solely because it was on the blackboard he was facing and he could see the price for a change. Regardless, he enjoyed it and as he would often have coffee and a dessert it was actually cheaper ;p.

I decided to visit the loos before we left and crammed myself into the one ladies toilet. Bizarrely, one of the tiled walls hadn’t been grouted so I’m guessing they are half way through doing them up? In the tiny toilet there was also a sink, which I had to go on my tiptoes to get my hands into only to discover it was so teeny I had to wash one hand at a time. To be honest, I’m not sure if they have sacrificed toilet space to enable more room in the restaurant but I did leave wishing they had put in as much effort to their toilet design as they have to their food.

Loos aside, service was great from a very smiley, happy-to-help waitress and food was fantastic. I definitely will be back but unfortunately it won’t be after my skydive as it isn’t open on Sundays. (it is in Crieff though)

One small plate, one small pasta, one main, one dessert, one carafe of wine £41.50.