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

Trump Macleod House & Lodge, Scotland

Now I know a lot of you would never dream of giving Trump your money so the thought of staying in one of his hotels would not be on your list of things to do. However, I’m guessing you have probably wondered what it would be like. Therefore, knowing this, I selflessly decided to take one for the team and spend my birthday in Trump’s Macleod House this weekend on a DBB deal just so I could tell you all about it. (and because I got a great deal I could not resist!)

When we arrived we were met by a charming man in the car park who led us to reception where we were checked in and then escorted to our room, which was massive. Two dark wood Queen size beds adorned in gold and plush cushions monopolised the room to the point you hardly noticed the large wooden sideboard that hid the mini bar, held the Nespresso machine and offered a basket full of nibbley treats. Entertainment came in the forms of a large screen tv with all the Sky packages and a Bose sound system. The bathroom boasted Italian marble, underfloor heating, a large roll top bath, huge walk in shower and a countryside view. The complimentary toiletries were in abundance and covered every eventuality of our stay and more. Everything screamed American grandeur. Helpfully, the receptionist talked us through all the gadgets and showed us where all the hidden bits and bobs were.

Not long after she left a charcuterie board and 2 glasses of fizz were delivered as part of the romance package I had booked. The plate was large and full of different meats, cheeses, pickles and bread and was one of the best sharing platters I have had.

Later, dinner was served downstairs and for sake of brevity you can hopefully zoom in and check the menu out yourself. From the wine menu I chose one of the cheaper options at £35 for a young Rioja steering clear of the ridiculously priced bottles.

Disappointingly, the soup was lentil so that was given a miss and to start OH had Kedgeree, smoked haddock and egg, which he enjoyed because it was something he would not normally order. The rice was done perfectly and just like the dating app, there was plenty of fish. I had the game terrine with prune ketchup. It wasn’t an overly strong terrine but was a bit heavy as a starter. The prune ketchup was thick and rich and didn’t taste of prunes.

I struggled picking a main as the fish dish didn’t appeal so eventually plumped for the beef cheek. Not being a big meat eater this was a completely new venture for me. The meat fell to bits, didn’t require much chewing and didn’t stick in my teeth, which gets extra bonus from me. However, the gravy, like the ketchup was rich and thick, and along with the buttery mash became too much and I could not finish the dish, already feeling (and looking) like a snake that had ate a pig.

OH had the venison stew and dumplings. He says it was exactly as described and tasty but nothing special. The fact the stew came in a bowl didn’t do itself any favours as OH hates that and believes forks and bowls don’t go together. Also, to be fair, the photo doesn’t do it justice and because of the lighting both our plates look like puddles of mud.

I couldn’t face a dessert but OH opted for the salted caramel apple crumble. A nice end to the meal he says unenthusiastically but probably because he would have preferred ice cream with the dish.

Delightfully, I was brought another glass of fizz as a birthday gift from the hotel, which was lovely. I have no idea what it was but it didn’t give me immediate heartburn so it was probably expensive.

Fast forward to the following morning and breakfast was served because obviously I was back to my snakelike self and needed feeding up again (yeah right!). As is the norm at good hotels the breakfast was lovely. A selection of fruit, yoghurt, meats, cheeses, salmon and pastries were on offer as well as cooked menu options. Just in case you are wondering, OH had Eggs Benedict and I had scrambled eggs and salmon.

As we had brought our golf clubs with us, after breakfast and checking out, we drove down to the Clubhouse to spend some time on the practice grounds. For £25 you can spend all day on the short course, putting green and driving range. It was bracing but dry so we managed to waste some time whacking balls and trying to stay out the bunkers. We then had a walk amongst the dunes and down on the beach where the surf roared and the sands were empty.

It was a fantastic birthday in plush surroundings with good food and phenomenal service. I am over the moon I got a great deal on our stay but I am not sure I would feel quite the same way if I had paid full price.

Strathearn, Gleneagles

Last year I had a big birthday and BB and SiL gave me the fabulous present of a gift voucher for Gleneagles. Although I could have used it to do one of the many country pursuits they offer, OH and I thought we would rather have Sunday lunch. So, talking Mini-me into being a taxi driver for the day we donned our glad rags and set off for the 5 star hotel in Perthshire.

As ever, we arrived too early and decided to have drinks in the Century Bar first. I explained to the waiter I had a gift voucher and asked if it was okay to have drinks on it as well as lunch. I was told it was okay but he would have to transfer my drinks to the dining room. Therefore, with everything in hand I had a Bloody Mary and OH decided he fancied a pint. I have to say my Bloody Mary is one of the best I have ever tasted. Firstly it had a light sweet taste and then as it went down it gave a massive kick, which left your mouth tingling and demanding more.

At 1 o’clock a waitress took our drinks through to the Strathearn dining room and we were seated in plush surroundings reminiscent of 1920s. Gold trolleys were wheeled around by waiters and waitresses all who had their own role. We were given food menus and offered water by one and a wine menu from another. Then we were offered bread from a french waitress’s trolley. There were far too much to chose from so she offered to cut a selection of them. She then gave us butter with some Skye salt sprinkled on top.

The menu offered pre-starters of oysters and caviar blinis, which had hefty supplements. The menu then announced where to start with a box that described 2 different kinds of salmon. One from Dumfries, which had been smoked using beer barrels and one from Perthshire that had been oak smoked. Both came with capers, lemon, creme fraiche and shallots but if you wanted caviar there was another supplement. The salmon arrived on a gold trolley and was sliced thinly next to us. The waitress was amazing to watch as time and time again paper thin slices of salmon were removed from the large fish and arranged delicately on the plate. The salmon was delicious and the accompaniments really added to the taste.

Then there was the choice of soup, terrine, salad or crab. I went for the New Season Garlic and Potato Soup with sauteed leeks and girolle mushrooms and OH decided on the West Coast Crab, cucumber, pink grapefruit, white balsamic and hazlenut.

My plate arrived with the leeks and mushrooms deconstructed in the centre of the bowl and then the soup was poured from a jug around them. The soup was beautiful. Thick and creamy and garlicky with the leeks adding a very pleasant texture addition.

OH’s crab was a beautiful plate of colours. The grapefruit gave it a fresh citrus tang whilst the white crab meat was light to taste. The hazelnuts and cucumber gave the dish a crunch.

For my main, I had Seabass, roasted cauliflower, crushed potatoes, baby artichokes and champagne sauce. The skin on the fish could have been crispier and the cauliflower could have done with more colour but overall I enjoyed the dish particularly the artichokes, which I have been wanting again since enjoying them in Spain last March.

OH had Borders Lamb Rump, garden peas, confit shallot, fondant potato, roasted tomato and lamb jus. The lamb looked exceptional without a bit of fat insight and OH said it tasted just as good as it looked.

Throughout our meal the sommelier topped up our wine glasses with the sauvignon blanc we ordered and anyone passing would top up our water glasses. The service was impeccable. The ambience was added to by a three piece band who played a range of hits from people such as Pink Floyd, Nine Inch Nails, Amy Winehouse and The Clash but in the style of lift muzak.

After a short break we were given dessert menus. There was a list of ports with prices and a cheese trolley on offer with another supplement however, I went for a light and refreshing mix of sorbets. OH went for the sticky toffee pudding with a whisky and date puree.

My sorbets were the perfect way to end my meal. The mango, lemon and raspberry flavours going down a treat. The accompanying baked strip of loveliness wasn’t crisp as I had suspected but a soft, chewy affair.

OH’s pudding tasted of toffee and was sticky so ticked all the boxes. The date and whisky puree was a small dollop and I think he’d have preferred more.

When our plates were cleared we were offered coffee or tea and OH asked for a coffee, which arrived with 2 little sweets that looked beautifully wrapped in egg-shell blue and gold leaf. However, when I picked one up it immediately started to melt in my hand and I realised it was the chocolate which had been painted and not any kind of wrapper. The chocolate was rich and heavy.

Our meal was excellent and we both enjoyed all the food we had. The theatre of the dining room was stunning and it was great watching the waitresses and waiters give such fantastic performances.

After our lunch we returned to the Century Bar and mini-me joined us for a round of drinks. I then asked for the bill. Now this is when things went a bit awry. Our bill arrived with a whole bunch of drinks we hadn’t had and no mention of lunch. When I queried it, the original waiter appeared and I was told there was a difficulty because of our voucher and the drinks having to be transferred. Yes but those drinks still aren’t ours. I then had to return to the dinning room and explain to another waiter the issue. After a while he managed to clear it up and gave me the right bill minus the voucher. However, this was when I realised the smoked salmon and coffee were extras. This annoyed me because as I have been pointing out, it was clear everything was priced and it was highlighted where the supplements were. There was nothing on the menu that stated it was £25.50 extra for the salmon. Feeling slightly annoyed and a bit duped I paid the bill.

A very decadent Sunday lunch consisting of a Bloody Mary, 2 pints, a ginger beer, a G+T, a bottle of wine and 2 3 course lunches with salmon and a coffee. £247.

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

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

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

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 V&A and The Wine Press, Dundee

On Saturday I was spending the day with my mum so we decided it was about time we visited the V&A in Dundee. I was also keen to visit The Wine Press as I had seen friends of ours checking into it and from their pics and the website it looked like a place I wanted to visit. And for this reason I asked OH if he wanted to be the chauffeur for the day. (I’m not daft)

The V&A, which sits right next to The Discovery on the banks of the River Tay is a building that makes you take far too many photos as there are so many great angles and views. It’s free to get in although there is a cost if you want to see any private exhibitions that may be on. The public exhibition of Scottish Design was interesting and they have managed to incorporate a vast amount of drawings, samples, models and videos all depicting Scottish designs. The outdoor balconies offer amazing views over the Tay and as well as a shop, there is also a restaurant and cafe inside. However, we were on a mission to visit The Wine Press so we didn’t hang around for a coffee.

The wine bar was just a short walk from the V&A. However, it is across a number of busy roads and I have to say the crossing weren’t the best. For some reason there is no loud beeping noise to let you know it’s the green man and the signs that show the green men aren’t facing you – they’re attached to the posts just above where you press the button so you have to stay alert.

The Wine Press don’t take reservations on Saturdays so it’s first come first served, which was great for us arriving just after midday but not so much for the people who got there after 1 and had to sit at the bar until a table became free.

The food menu is fairly limited as the focus is more on the wine, of which there are loads to choose from. One of the quirks of TWP is that you can buy a card at the bar and help yourself to wine from a machine, which keeps the more eclectic or higher end wines in a perfect condition.

The food menu has 4 different sharing boards. Cheese, charcuterie, antipasti and camembert. There was also soup, bar snacks and a list of small plates, which you could order like tapas. On the specials board there were some pies. We decided to have the Tomato and red pepper soup along with the charcuterie board – 4 cured continental meats, artisan bread, khobez flatbread, beetroot and spring onion salad, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, fig, plum and apple chutney.

dav

The soup was delicious and although we had ordered a small bowl it was more than enough. The accompanying bread was soft and very fresh. The sharing board (meant for 2) was enough for the 3 of us along with the soup and nothing went to waste. The meat wasn’t too dry or too strong and the figs were lovely.

The service was impeccable, there was a good atmosphere and the decor was tasteful. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a wine bar and a small bite to eat.

3 small soups, a sharing board, a bottle of white and a non-alcoholic beer for the chauffeur = £47