Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

Wildwood, Lothian Rd, Edinburgh, Scotland,

I always get a little nervous when I am meeting a lot of new people for the first time, but for the meal arranged by the inimitable Kelly Lacey for the Facebook Group, Authors and Book Bloggers in Scotland, I need not have worried – what a lovely meal in excellent company. Wildwood 105-109 Lothian Rd, Edinburgh, Scotland is very centrally situated so it was easy for everybody to get to either by car or public transport. wildwood out 2

We were all seated at one long table I was sitting amidst a very jolly group and the chat flowed easily. Several bottles of Prcesso were on the table and included in the cost of our meal. It all added to the happy atmosphere. The staff were most warm and friendly without being intrusive and we all enjoyed a joke with them. wild wood in

The restaurant is decorated in a modern, relaxed style and, because there were so many of us, we had ordered in advance. Our starters arrived on large sharing platters these included figs and strips of pizza bread with cheese and onion jam. Everything was delicious.

Main course choices included sea bass and turkey but I chose the pizza. This caused great hilarity as it was enormous and would comfortably have fed a family of five for  a fortnight, I think! I thoroughly enjoyed what I had, but there was no way I could possibly finished such a large serving. Deserts included a chocoltate brownie with ice cream or a sorbet. I had the brownie. Again, this was very tasty but I had already eaten so much, perhaps I should have chosen the sorbet.

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All in all this was a delightful afternoon. The restaurant did not rush us at all and I had a delicious meal in fresh surroundings served by attentive staff and in good company. I highly recommend Wildwood and plan to visit again with my husband when we are in Edinburgh.

Val Penny

 

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One Square, Sheraton Hotel,1 Festival Square, Edinburgh, Scotland

one square outsideRecently, I had to organise a festive family lunch where I could be sure my mother and her wheelchair would be accomodated and my granddaughter would have access to a highchair all on the Sunday before Christmas. I chose the centrally situated Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh as the restaurant, One Square is highly praised. It was years since I had eaten at the Sheraton, but my mother was delighted by the choice but unfortunately she was belatedly unable to join us.

Nevertheless, many people had had the same idea and there were many with mobility issues and wheelchair users there, but the tables were too close together making access for these guests difficult.

one-square-restaurantOur servers were pleasant and helpful and brought drinks but yhey were not efficient about refilling water glasses. The meal was buffet style. The buffet was set in three parts, starters, mains and deserts and cheese. Access around these areas was virtually impossible for those who were not able bodied.

The starters were tasty and varied, but portions very tiny: the real disappointment was the mains. The mains were served in the buffet area by people in chef outfits. There was very rare beef, turkey roll with a strong tasting stuffing and a good looking roast of gammon. However, I am vegetarian: I asked a female in a chef uniform if there was a vegetarian option. I was told she could give me a butternut squash ‘patte’ and I could help myself to vegetables. I am not partial to butternut squash. When I mentioned this, the woman shrugged and turned her back on me. I feel retraining may be required. Had my daughters not been there, I would have called the manager. As it was, I did not want to cause a scene.

one square 2The deserts were delicious and the selection of cheeses varied. The coffee was provided by a machine which needed cleaned when I went to use it, but there was nobody to ask about this. No provision was made for tea and, again, no member of staff was anywhere to be seen to ask. Even getting my bill was a struggle and I did resent the 10% service charge. However, I paid it, but did not add a further tip. It was not deserved.

I had a wonderful time in the company of my husband, our daughters, my son-in-law one square outside 2and our granddaughter, but the food was mediocre and the service far too variable for such a feted hotel. Would I book lunch as a family treat in One Square in the future? No. Would I return to One Square in any other circumstances? Not voluntarily.

Val Penny

The Orangery Restaurant, Seamill Hydro, 39 Ardrossan Road, Seamill, West Kilbride, Scotland

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It is not often that my husband and I can go out for dinner with friends and walk to and from the event, so it was rather nice when we met with Jill and Paul who had suggested we go to dinner at The Orangery restaurant in Seamill Hydro. The hotel has recently undergone a major extension and refurbishment, so we walked down and arrived a little early to have a drink before dinner in the well appointed pub where I had a fine choice of gins.

orangery bar

When we met up with our friends in The Orangery we were seated with them in a booth where we studied all three menus: the regular menu, the vegetarian/vegan menu and the wine menu. The fellows each had a beer, Jill chose a small house wine and I went with a soda water and lime after my earlier gin.Orangery 1

For our meals, we all chose different things. Jill and Paul shared a mixed fish starter while my husband chose a haggis starter and I had the temura vegetables. For our mains, My husband went with a steak, unfortunately this was a bit cooler and more cooked than he had ordered. Jill chose chicken, Paul had a vegetable pasta and I ordered the asparagus and mushroom risotto. My meal was delicious, but very filling. orangery out

Only my husband chose a pudding, a chocolate and icecream desert. The rest of us all had coffee. It was a lovely meal, except for my husband’s steak: the environment was fine, although the service was a big slow. Still, I would give The Orangery another try.

Val Penny

The Cafe Royal, 19 West Register Street, Edinburgh, Scotland

I recently met up with a delightful clowder of Cats: some other authors whose books are also published by Crooked Cat Books. We got together at The Cafe Royal, 19 West Register Street, Edinburgh, Scotland.Cafe Royal

It was years since I had been to The Cafe Royal and I had forgotten what a popular, busy pub it is. Hidden away around the corner at the East end of Prince’s Street, it is a gem. The décor is fabulous: Victorian & Baroque, stained glass windows in the Oyster Bar and Royal Doulton ceramic tiles. The staff were friendly and attentive. The wide choice of beers and whiskys is legendary.  cafe royal inAfter we had drunk our publisher dry, but not under the table, we all ordered meals and the food was excellent. Our main courses ranged from fish to risotto, steak pie. All the choices were much enjoyed and all were very reasonably priced.

Cafe royal outWhen we arrived about 3pm the bar was quite empty: by the time we left to find a different watering hole some five hours later, The Cafe Royal was back to being the bustling bar I remembered from years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to The Cafe Royal. The company, the food and the drinks were all excellent, so whether you are looking for a pub to watch a rugby match or a restaurant to enjoy a meal with friends, I highly recommend Edinburgh’s Cafe Royal.

Val Penny

The Apartment, 7-13 Barclay Place, Edinburgh, Scotland

My husband, my mother and I recently went to The Apartment, 7-13 Barclay Place, Edinburgh, Scotland for a celebration lunch together. My husband was treating us to celebrate a successful year which saw my debut crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ published by Crooked Cat Books with a launch date of 02.02.2018. ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is dedicated to my mother. The story is set in Edinburgh and two of the main characters live in Gillespie Crescent, just opposite The Apartment.Hunter's Chase book cover (1)

Although there were only three of us, we are not an easy group to cater for. Mum uses a wheelchair. Unfortunately for her, I am not the best wheelchair driver on the planet, but she is very gracious. Access was easy.  I am vegetarian while my husband and mother are confirmed omnivores.

We had booked a table and the staff were very helpful and kind. We were able to choose between two tables and opted for the one nearest the window. We decided against alcohol in the middle of the day, but we all had different drinks. Mum had a diet coke, I chose a soda water and lime while my husband asked for a ginger beer.The Apartment Outside

Mum did not have a starter, but my husband chose the traditional Scotch Broth soup. I went for the pear, blue cheese and walnut salad. We were both delighted with our choices. The menu is not huge, but it is a carefully chosen mix of meats, fish and vegetarian dishes to suit all tastes. I always feel pleased when I have genuine choices: at The Apartment, I did.

The omnivores both chose the rib-eye steaks for their main courses. Mum requested hers be cooked ‘medium’ while my husband wanted his ‘medium rare’. Apparently both were perfectly cooked. They both seemed to enjoy their main courses. My husband’s only complaint was that there was parmasan cheese on his salad. He believes this to be the cheese of the devil! I chose a halloumi, sweet potato and pepper skewer for my main course. It was served with a beetroot coleslaw, green salad and another side. I chose fires. The beetroot coleslaw sounds strange, but tastes delicious. I highly recommend it.The Apartment Food

Neither Mum nor I could manage a pudding, we shared a plate of truffles. They were tiny but tasty. A delicious end to the meal with a fine coffee. My husband chose the chocolate brownie. This was served warm with a bitter fruit couli cutting the sweetness of the chocolate and a fine vanilla icecream. My husband is very fussy about his coffee, but not even he could find anything to complain about with his Americano.

The service was flawless. This was a first visit to The Apartment for all of us, but we thoroughly enjoyed it, so it will certainly not be our last.

‘Hunter’s Chase’ is available to order from Amazon.

mybook.to/HuntersChase

Val Penny

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Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, High Maybole Rd, Alloway, Ayr, Scotland

I went to visit Alloway with my friend Anna. We stopped for coffee and cake at the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, High Maybole Rd, Alloway, Ayr, Scotland. The Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, is set on the banks of the River Doon and across from the Burns Memorial Gardens. We took the opportunity to visit the beautiful gardens before stopping in at this tranquil hotel.Burns museum

The Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, is situated in an ivy-covered house is a 6-minute walk from the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. We took a self-guided tour of the property Robert Burns grew up in, Burns Cottage,  as well as a visit to the museum that houses his manuscripts, books, many artefacts and artwork. Burns Cottage, was the first home of Robert Burns, the famous Scottish poet and radical thinker. It is located in Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland. It was built by his father, William Burness in 1757. Burns is acknowledged as Scotland’s national poet. He was born there on 25 January 1759.Burns Cottage

After our visits in the town of Alloway, Anna and I decided to look for somewhere to stop brig-o-doon outfor afternoon coffee and cake. We were delighted to find the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, its fine-dining restaurant offers traditional Scottish cuisine, and panoramic views of the gardens and river. The hotel also retains exclusive fishing rights on the river for its guests. Other amenities include landscaped gardens, event facilities and limited parking, but coffee and cake sufficed for us. brig-o-doon entrance

The entrance is beautiful and in the lobby and fire added to the warmth of the surroundings. We so enjoyed curling up in the comfortable armchairs whiling the afternoon away. The coffees were delicious. Anna had a cappuccino, while I opted for a decaf latte. The cakes were fresh and tasty. Anna had an individual bakewell tart, while I had a slice brig o doon insideof apple pie. The service provided by the staff was excellent.

There was a wedding taking place the day we were there. Nevertheless, the service for us was still excellent. We were not made to feel unwanted or in the way at all. The only brig o doon roomsdisadvantage to the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel is that the access for those with mobility issues is poor. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel and we hope to visit there again.

 

Val Penny

 

 

1745 Cottage Restaurant, Traquair House, Traquair, Innerleithen

I had lived within 40 miles of Traquair House at Traquair, Innerleithen, Scotland, for many years, but had never visited it. So, earlier this year, My friend Anna and I took time out to visit Traquair House and we had lunch in its 1745 Cottage Restaurant. The date in the name of the restaurant refers to the Jacobite rising of 1745 was the unsuccessful attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the males of the House of Stuart.traquair house

Traquair House is Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited House. Throughout its history it has been visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens. The house dates back to 1107 and has been lived in by the Stuart family since 1491. Traquair House was originally a royal hunting lodge, and played host to Mary Queen of Scots. Later as staunch Catholics they supported the Jacobite cause without counting the cost.traquair 1745

Now, in its grounds, there is a maze, a selection of craft workshops, a brewery and the 1745 Cottage Restaurant. traquair 1745 in

The 1745 Cottage Restaurant is situated separately from the main house. It is picturesque outside but spotlessly clean inside. Internally, the restaurant combines traditional features and modern cleanliness. For lunch, I chose the leek and potato soup. It was home made, but lacked seasoning. I was a bit disappointed by it. Anna made the better choice. She thoroughly enjoyed her homemade tomato and basil soup. Certainly the portions were generous and the rolls served with it, although they did not look homemade, were fresh and tasty.traquair 1745 inside

After our soup, we were served a selection of freshly made sandwiches. Again, there were plenty of them. There were prawn, tuna salad, ham and tomato, egg mayonnaise, cheese ans cheese savoury sandwiches washed down with a pot of strong tea. or coffee. We enjoyed the sandwich selsction very much. Also the service at the 1745 Cottage Restaurant was polite and friendly. The restrooms were spotlessly clean and the restaurant offers good access for those with moblity issues. We were pleasantly surprised by the price, too.

If you have a chance to visit the house and gorunds of Traquair House, I am sure you will find it interesting, and I recommend the 1745 Cottage Restaurant. Anna and I enjoyed our meals.

Val Penny