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

Venachar Lochside, Nr. Callander

Every autumn OH and I visit The Trossachs just so we can see the amazing colour palette that adorns the trees before winter hits. The oranges, reds and yellows are an amazing sight and offer some wonderful photograph taking opportunities. Unfortunately today the weather decided to put a halt to any photo taking as I refused to get out the car in the rain to snap some landscapes. However, I did leave the warmth of the car to run into Venachar Lochside, a favourite restaurant of ours and one which I have written about many times before. Previously, my reviews have all been about the amazing food and IMAG0372abysmal service but today I had no complaints about the service but this could be because we were the first ones to arrive for lunch. Considering Venachar Lochside is pretty much in the middle of nowhere and there were no prior lunch bookings the place filled up quickly with hungry diners who had obviously heard of the restaurants good reputation.

We received water for the table and menus and I immediately noticed there was an increase in prices from our last visit. Cullen skink was now £10 and the main dishes were priced between £13 and £16. Soup of the day was Celeriac and thyme.

For my main I had difficulty trying to choose between the Ayrshire pork belly, butternut fondant, summer greens, black pudding and apple sauce or the Cod loin with cockles, summer greens, potatoes and pea puree. I eventually plumped for the Cod.

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Before

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After

The dish arrived in a bowl and then the waited poured over the pea puree.

The fish was beautiful and the cockles delightful. The potatoes were a little charred at the edges but this added a needed crunch as the vegetables were a little soggy. Overall the meal was gorgeous but I would have much rather have had it on a flat plate as it was difficult using a fork and knife in a bowl.

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OH had the Gressingham duck with bacon, baby gem, peas, potato rosti, red onion and cherry reduction. He loved his meal and although he said it was a little chewy he liked it and thought the bacon, peas and greens were excellent. The cherry reduction was not strong and there was not enough to really add to the dish.

After our dishes had been cleared I asked for the dessert menu and was told there wasn’t one but I could choose from the range of cakes on offer. There was berry and pistachio, chocolate porter, mocha cake, carrot cake, victoria sponge and coffee and walnut cake. I decided on the berry and pistachio and OH had another pint. IMAG0381The homemade cake was thick, heavy and yum. Of course OH helped me with the huge slice.

2 mains, 2 pints, a slice of cake = £44.85 (yes it was expensive)

The Rockies Restaurant, Anstruther

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The view from The Rockies Restaurant

Totally by accident OH and his friend found The Rockies Restaurant in Anstruther, Fife. They had been looking to play a round at the golf course (that was a round not around!) and noticed that the menu in the club house looked pretty good. I didn’t need my arm bent behind my back to pay it a visit so OH and I dined there yesterday.

Although the actual restaurant is pretty basic it doesn’t really matter as the view of Anstruther takes your breath away. Any big outlay on decorations would be wasted as you spend the whole time looking out of the window either back inland to the picturesque fishing village on the Fife Coastal Path or out over the Forth where the Isle of May and the Bass Rock lie .

The lunch menu offered 2 courses at £10.95 and 3 for £13.95 and the soup of the day was lentil.

OH went for the Chilled Gala Melon with 2014-09-27 15.33.42local berries and raspberry coulis and I had the Chicken Liver with Thyme pate with oatcakes and red onion marmalade to start. I cleared my plate and loved the oatcakes and onion marmalade which accompanied the pate perfectly. The salad dressing ensured I also 2014-09-27 15.33.47finished every scrap of the salad too.   I’ve just asked OH what he thought of the melon and he said “it was very nice by the way.”

It wasn’t too long before our mains arrived. OH had decided on the Seared Sirloin Steak with sauteed onions, mushrooms, corn on the cob, fries and garlic butter. It had a £4.50 supplement, 2014-09-27 15.45.46something that OH always denies noticing when he orders ;p I had the Corn Fed Chicken Ballotine with Toulouse forcemeat stuffing with a tarragon and mustard cream sauce. OH raved about his steak and said that the addition of the corn on the cob really made the dish as the buttery sweetness from it complimented the steak beautifully. I enjoyed my chicken but a word of caution to others who haven’t just been to the south of France (;p)  – the Toulouse forcemeat is a strong taste that you may not be used to.2014-09-27 15.46.00

There was a menu of liqueur coffees on the table that OH had been eyeing during his lunch so instead of a dessert he had a Rockies Coffee – coffee and Glayva. It came with a shortbread biscuit and 2 little squares of peanut butter millionaire shortbread. I always like it when the non-coffee drinker gets a bit of sugariness too (yes I’m easy pleased!) .

The main meals could probably have been better presented but they were tasty and great value for money. The waiter and waitresses were charming and eager to help and I will definitely be recommending this hidden gem to others.

2 Starters, 2 mains + £4.50 supplement, a liqueur coffee, a pint and a coke = £34.15