Monday, 26 April 2010

The Chop and Ale House, Linlithgow

The Chop and Ale House in Linlithgow is a former bar of Champany Inn, 'a haven of excellent restaurants and comfortable bedrooms just twenty minutes west of Edinburgh'. They have got a Michelin star restaurant as well as their own wine shop, sitting in the middle of nowhere and I've heard that the place is always busy.
The Chop and Ale House is a more relaxed and cheaper alternative to the fancy restaurant. They take no bookings, but a table in this cosy, small pub is worth the wait if need to.
It was hard for me to even consider ordering anything else than one of their famous burgers, but the menu offers Aberdeen Angus steaks, Scottish lamb chops and fish and chips, just to mention few options.
Brie and bacon burger with side salad, coleslaw and homemade chips, not one's typical Monday night dinner, but what a treat it was. We both agreed that the burgers were one of the best we've ever tasted and we have sampled few! Good quality, juicy beef and smoked bacon that was out of this world, but then again, this is a place that has got it's own butcher and smokehouse, so no wonder.
 We were too full to have a dessert each, but ordered a cranachan to share and while enjoying it, made plans to save our pennies so we could come back and have dinner at The Restaurant.
big portions

best chips I have ever tasted

their own wine shop and the big dog that 'works' there

Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland, EH49 7LU - 01506 834532
Chop & Ale House at The Champany Inn on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Cornish Pasty, Keswick

Driving back from the Lake District we stopped in picturesque Keswick to have a wander around, our plan was also to sit down and have lunch somewhere before heading back home.
 Little did we know that we would end up eating our lunch standing up on the street and enjoying it!
Pie menu, so much choice that I felt dizzy...
There they are, cornish pasties! We had two and shared them.
Spicy vegetable...
... and leek, ham and cheese. I have never tasted anything like this. They were both so good that I have no words to explain it. I regret now that we did not buy more to put in the freezer at home.
They even have water for dogs outside! We had dessert as well, of course, but unfortunately I failed miserably to document it as it was just too good. Sorry. If ever near Keswick, go and taste for yourself and you'll understand.
 constant queue outside, never a bad sign

one thing, done to perfection

super tasty food

3 Lake Road, Keswick, CA12 5BS - 017687 72205

Monday, 19 April 2010

The Windermere Restaurant, Lake District

After Easter we took ourselves for a mini break to the Lake District where we stayed in the Low Wood Hotel that is situated on the north shore of Lake Windermere, near Ambleside. I understand now why so many people choose to go to 'The Lakes' for holidays. It's so relaxing and beautiful out there that you would just want to go back.
  This hotel is hilarious: the location could not be any better and it has somehow got four stars, browsing through their website you see images of this modern, chic hotel but in reality the rooms and leisure club are quite small, basic and dated. Their main restaurant, The Windermere Restaurant, bar and reception area are done up really nicely and don't somehow fit in with the rest.
I liked the tasteful decor of the restaurant quite a bit, lots of dark wood, high ceilings and windows, contemporary art scattered on the walls.
We both had high hopes that dinner in here would be really nice...
I had smoked haddock and gruyere cheese fish cakes with watercress, tartar sauce and quail eggs for starter and enjoyed it, so far so good.
Our pan-seared Goosnarch cornfed chicken breast, cassoulet of chorizo and beans with butter bean puree arrived after a long wait and we had to send them back as there was no chorizo on the plate, oops. Our waiter was genuinely apologetic and we had new plates in front of us in minutes.
Sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream, can never go wrong with this pudding! After our first dinner experience I was actually nervous for next nights dinner, but to our relief it went a lot smoother with no major hiccups. We both ended up having excellent burgers but the service was still painfully slow and strangely disorganized. I hope that they will get their problems sorted and bedrooms re-decorated as this could be a really special hotel.
staff that tried their best

really superb burgers

sophisticated decor

Ambleside Rd, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LP - 015394 33338

Monday, 5 April 2010

Cafe Andaluz, Edinburgh

Cafe Andaluz in Edinburgh's George street is something that I've wanted to try since it's opening but never managed to until now. After I booked us a table I couldn't stop thinking about our trip to Barcelona couple of years ago in and the yummy tapas that we ate there.
On a Sunday night they do a special deal, three tapas of your choice and a dessert for £14.95 which is what we had. With great difficulty we ended up ordering the following...
Roasted sweet potato, parsnip and chickpea mixed with chopped parsley and coriander, topped with a tahini dressing.
Creamy soft cheese, fried in breadcrumbs and served with caramelized onion chutney and
pan fried sliced chicken breast marinated in paprika, lemon and coriander, served with chili yogurt.
Two portions of chorizo and black pudding sauteed in spicy tomato.
Grilled goats cheese with Seville orange and chili marmalade.
And finished with caramel cheesecake and raspberry pavlova.
Needless to say, we were well stuffed after all that food! It was like 'fast food tapas', all our food was in the table in less than five minutes from ordering and tasted like not a huge amount of effort was put into the cooking. But still, I would probably go back. This would be a fun place to go with a big crowd and just order everything, so until next time...
Spanish staff

great interior

real Spanish atmosphere

77b George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3EE - 0131 220 9980
Cafe Andaluz on Urbanspoon