Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Review of The Stockbridge Restaurant

Nestled away under St Stephen Street is the Stockbridge Restaurant. You could be forgiven for walking right past it if it wasn't for the welcoming fairy lights beckoning you in. 

Hubby and I, on our first solo outing for a wee while (by solo I mean minus baby!), were warmly welcomed and invited to choose any table we liked. We opted for a cosy corner table toward the back of the restaurant. For a Thursday evening it was quite busy so there was a nice atmosphere. 

We instantly felt relaxed. I love places that promise great food in a non-pretentious way and The Stockbridge Restaurant lives up to that. I felt comfortable wearing jeans and a nice top but would equally have not looked out of place wearing a nice dress. Girls, you know what I mean! 

So, we ordered our drinks. As driver I had a sparkling water and hubby went for  one of the unusual beers on the menu. 

We were offered both the set menu and the a la carte. As carnivores through and through the menu didn't disappoint! Here's what we had...

To whet our appetite we were given an 'amuse bouche' of mozzarella with Parma ham. 

To follow, my starter was seared scallops with butternut squash purée, apple salsa and Parma ham. A generous serving of perfectly cooked scallops arrived and I ate the lot! It was delicious - the creamy butternut squash and the sharpness of the apple complemented the scallops perfectly. 

Hubby went for the braised ox cheek with horseradish creamed potato, onion rings and red wine jus. Again, a very generous starter size portion arrived and it was equally delicious - melt in the mouth meat accompanied by a tasty sauce. 

For main course I went for the corn fed chicken breast with dauphinois potato, wild mushrooms, Savoy cabbage and Madeira sauce. This was from the set menu but they kindly let me mix and match! 

Hubby, on a red meat mission, went for the venison loin with venison pie, braised red cabbage, parsnip purée and a port wine sauce. I'm not usually a venison fan but I have to admit, I had food envy. It was delicious. 

Stuffed, we looked at the dessert menu as you do, not really expecting to order anything from it. Until I was presented with a chocolate lovers dream. Chocolate brûlée with chocolate brownie, white chocolate mousse and milk chocolate ice cream. I couldn't pass that up! 

When I was presented with this much cutlery for dessert, I was excited! 

And quite rightly so! Once the 'pre dessert' of a heavenly passion fruit sorbet was promptly scoffed, my chocolate buffet arrived...WOW! 

It was amazing! Warm chocolate brownie, decedent brûlée and a creamy ice cream - I was a happy customer. 

As promised, we had a relaxed dinner with excellent food and great service. A winning combination for a date night in Edinburgh. Had we not had the car and a baby to get home to, we may have sampled some of St Stephen Street's cosy bars, making The Stockbridge Restaurant the perfect location. Maybe next time! 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A warm welcome awaits at "The Elph"

When I think of the perfect lazy Sunday I think of family, long chats, cosy log fires and good food.  On a cold and dreary Sunday afternoon there's nothing nicer than a warm snuggly pub lunch. And that's exactly how I've just spent my afternoon, at The Elphinstone Hotel in Biggar.

After driving for around 45 minutes in the rain we arrived at The Elphinstone Hotel (affectionately nicknamed The Elph by locals) to find a parking space right at the door. With little Miss Paige and all her luggage, this is always a bonus! 

A very warm welcome awaited us as we entered the toasty warm bar area. Our table was reserved in the corner beside a roaring log fire. We were helped with all our stuff by an extremely lovely waitress (and I'm now kicking myself that I didn't ask her name so I could mention her as she was so friendly!) The place has a real family atmosphere. It reminded me of my local pub where I grew up so I instantly liked it. 

The menu was extensive with all the usual pub classics and an additional specials menu which had some really interesting dishes, as well as a lighter snack menu (wraps, baguettes etc). But I was in the mood for good old fashioned pub grub! For starter I went, predictably, for the Brie and hubby went for the haggis with peppercorn sauce. 

Both were generous portions but not too huge, just enough to get you ready for the main course. Really nice, fresh, light batter, not greasy at all, and gooey cheese in the middle - what can be bad about that! 

For mains we went old school - scampi and chips for me and haddock and chips for hubby. Hubby did comment that it was nice to have the choice between battered and breaded fish - he went for breaded. Again - nice piping hot freshly cooked fish arrived with a fresh salad. 

Admittedly not the healthiest lunch in the world but that's what Sundays are for...and hubby had just completed The Mighty Deerstalker the night before so was allowed a treat!! 

Already stuffed, I noticed the couple next to us getting something very yummy looking for dessert. I've said it before and I'll say it again - it would have been rude not to look at the dessert menu! Again many of the usual classics you would expect but also an extensive ice cream sundae list. I LOVE ice cream so was delighted by this. The menu stated that the ice cream was from Taylor's of Biggar. I went for a chocolate honeycomb affair which was gigantic and super indulgent. And for once I was actually defeated and couldn't finish it. 

As we waddled to the door, happy and full we happened upon the owner who told us of a huge refurb taking place over the next few weeks. So I will definitely return, if not to see that, then to have another go at that sundae!

We drove home full, happy and content having spent a lovely lazy Sunday at The Elph.