Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

Oscar’s Cafe, Bar and Restaurant, The Esplanade, Saltcoats, Scotland

oscars outsideMy husband and I had arranged to meet friends for dinner at Oscar’s Cafe, Bar and Restaurant at The Esplanade, Saltcoats, Scotland but they were unable to make the date. However, as we had been looking forward to the evening, we decided to go anyway. What a fun evening!

Access is by a small flight of stairs or by a ramp, so those with mobility difficulties have easy access. The service at Oscar’s was friendly and polite. We were seated in a booth and enjoyed people watching through the evening. Oscar’s caters for a wide variety of diners: families with children, couples both young and not so young, larger groups and a private party was going on in the function area upstairs. This restaurant also runs a Disney movie silently on a large screen behind the bar. This is a brilliant way of keeping the younger diners amused.

The menu is varied and does cater for vegetarians. My husband had the chicken and chorizo sausage pie. He really enjoyed it. I had the vegetarian fajitas: also delicious. The atmosphere in Oscar’s was excellent. The restaurant was happy, busy and good-natured. This certainly added to our enjoyment of our evening.Oscars inside

For pudding my husband had a chocolate brownie, which he said was one of the best he had tasted. I had a chocolate nut sundae. it was delious, but enormous and I had no chance of finishing it! We rounded off our meal with coffees. We did not really need to have coffee, but we were having such a lovely time, it would have been a shame to leave earlier than we had to.

I highly recommend Oscar’s Cafe, Bar and Restaurant, The Esplanade, Saltcoats, Scotland and will dine there again.

Valerie Penny

Henderson’s Bistro, Albert Halls, Dumbarton Road, Stirling, Scotland

bloody scotlandMy husband and I recently attended the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in Stirling, Scotland. We managed to get a table in Henderson’s Bistro for coffee and cake. This, in itself, is an achievement. I strongly advise you to book a table! Henderson’s Bistro is located within Stirling’s premiere functions venue, The Albert Halls in Dumbarton Road, Stirling. It offers mouthwatering cuisine and a bespoke hendersons 2approach to all things culinary.

We were only there for coffee and cake between events on the Friday afternoon, but even then there was only one small unreserved table in the corner. Still, it was big enough for two people and there were only two of us.

The menu for meals is varied and original. It includes an interesting dipping platter to share amongst its starters. This caught my husband’s eye. My mother’s favourite, sea bass, was on the menu as a main and my particular favourite, a trio of deserts was amongst the puddings offered.

hendersonsThere is no doubt that Henderson’s Bistro is a very self-important restaurant. It is in a prestigious position within the Albert Halls and the staff are well aware of this so the reception given to those who have failed to reserve a table is rather superior. However, once you cross that barrier and secure a table, the service is friendly and professional. We enjoyed our visit and would go back – with a reservation!

Valerie Penny

Olly Bongo’s, 4 Teviot Place, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1 2QZ

christineI met a friend for lunch recently. She works at The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland and suggested that we meet near her work so that I could catch up with her during her lunch break. As I was not familiar with the area, she chose Olly Bongo’s. We were greeted by a friendly waitress on arrival, who gave us a choice of seats. I like getting the option rather than being told where to sit, so that was a good start. The decor was nice with a Mediterranean feel and posters advertising music nights.

We ordered our drinks quickly, but took time choosing lunch from the varied menu. I chose a spinach, tomato and mezzefeta cheese bruchetta while my friend chose a mezze. When our meals arrived, I was amazed by the size of the portions. Our meals were enormous and delicious. The food was freshly prepared and served with a side salad by polite and attentive staff. I certainly could not finish my meal. The portion was so big. However, I did enjoy it very much and my friend finished every crumb. I subsequently discovered that she is such a regular customer she qualifies for a discount!

Access to Olly Bongo’s is easy for those with mobility issues and the cafe is spotlessly clean. We finished our lunch with tea and coffee. Again, it was freshly brewed and outsideserved with individual pots. I had never heard of Olly Bongo’s, but, for the price, it was a real bargain.  This inconspicuous little cafe on the corner of Teviot Place is one of Edinburgh’s fun and quirky places to sit down, have a chat and enjoy a great plate of food. You could easily walk right past it as it does not look like much from the outside. However, if you step through the doors you will get a different impression entirely. I highly recommend Olly Bongo’s.

Valerie Penny

 

Jimmy Chung’s Chinese Buffet, 17 Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 1BQ

jcJimmy Chung’s is a restaurant in Edinburgh that provides affordable buffet dining experience for friends and family to enjoy Asian cuisine in Scotland. Jimmy Chung’s have Chinese Buffet Restaurants in Edinburgh, Dundee, Stirling, Inverness in Scotland, and Dublin, Ireland. My friend and I met for lunch at the branch on Waverley Bridge in Edinburgh.

The restaurant offers a buffet meal at a set price for lunch or dinner. Young children are charged a reduced price of £3.00. The restaurant claims to pffer an authentic Chinese cuisine experience presented in a buffet style. It is certainly a buffet, but I have visited China on buffet 2several occasions, and do not consider this authentic Chinese cooking. However, it is very tasty.

Upon arrival, we waited for a member of staff to show us to our table. We ordered drinks. (Of course, these are charged in addition to the meal.) My friend and I were then free to help ourselves to the wide variety of buffet food. I am vegetarian and, even for me there were plenty of choices for buffetboth starters and main courses. I started with a selection of vegetarian spring rolls and onion rings while my friend chose some chicken wings and chicken spring rolls. For main course I have noodles, bean sprouts and steamed vegetables while my friend had sweet and sour pork with rice as we helped ourselves from the delicious starters and main courses. I admit, as it is a buffet, we did go back for more! I then finished buffet 3off my meal from Jimmy Chung’s selection of cakes, jellies and icecreams. There was nothing very Chinese about the puddings. friend did not have any room left, but we did both manage a Chinese tea. I was slightly disappointed that this came from teabags.

However, we both enjoyed a tasty lunch and the service was courteous and attentive. I will certainly be back to Jimmy Chung’s. The meal was very reasonable as, including drinks, it was less than £15.00 a head.

Valerie Penny

MacKenzie’s, 2-4 Bridge Road, Colinton, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH13 0LF

I recently went to Edinburgh, Scotland to visit my Mother. It was lovely to have a few days relaxing, chatting and Mackenzie's outsidecatching up with her. During the visit she hosted a Sunday lunch for us to be joined by friends and family. She chose MacKenzie’s, located in Colinton to the southwest of Edinburgh’s city centre, for the occasion. MacKenzie’s is on Bridge Road and is an intimate cottage-style pub and restaurant serving traditional Scottish cuisine that my Mother found as being very nice. She had been there previously with friends. None of her guests had been there before. I enjoy going to new restaurants to review them, so I was thrilled.

MacKenzie’s looks quaint outside and smart inside. It is named after Henry MacKenzie, an Edinburgh lawyer and writer, who lived in the cottage adjacent to the restaurant in the eighteenth century. He is best known for his novel The Man of Feeling. MacKenzie, was editor of a magazine, The Lounger for a while and wrote an article praising Robert Burns poems in 1786. This enhanced Robert Burns’s reputation in literary circles.

macKenzies insideThe restaurant claims to be child-friendly, although there were no children there during our visit. It is certainly accessible to wheelchair users: that was important to us as my Mother is disabled and has mobility issues. MacKenzie’s also claims to be able to cater for vegetarians and those with gluten-free requirements. I cannot speak to the gluten-free claims, but I have a lot to say about their vegetarian catering. The restaurant specifically boasts a vegetarian selection. That was not true. The vegetarian choice of main course was take it or leave it. This was singularly inadequate and very embarrassing to my mother.

MacKenzie’s had been advised in advance that all my mother’s five guests were vegetarian, including a member of the nationally acclaimed band Broken Records. The Sunday lunch menu, the only menu offered to us, included three vegetarian choices of starter amongst the offerings. They included tomato and red pepper soup. Apparently this was very tasty. The melon fan and tomato and mozzarella salad were also very fresh, but all were singularly broken recordsunimaginative. My mother had a black pudding starter and she did enjoy that.

The entrees were the real issue. There were 8 on the menu. Only one, a roast vegetable tart was suitable for vegetarians. This, not withstanding that the restaurant had been advised of the number of vegetarians in my Mother’s party and its advertisements claim that it caters for vegetarians. The claims do not match my experience. The tart was perfectly pleasant, but again it was a choice that lacked both flair and imagination. My mother had the lamb. She said she enjoyed it, but she ate less than half. The selection of vegetables and potatoes offered was varied, but not plentiful for 6 people. I was still hungry at the end of two courses. That is very unusual for me.

So, five of us had desserts. These are homemade and, apparently, change daily. I had the chocolate and black cherry macKenzies tablecheesecake. It was delicious. Others amongst us had the lemon tart and the creme brulee. We all enjoyed our puddings but some of the portions were very small. We finished the meal with coffee or tea and mints.

Service at MacKenzie’s was very poor. Something was overlooked or forgotten at each course. I also got the impression that some tables contained regular customers. There was clearly more attention paid to these other tables and more pleasantries exchanged. MacKenzie’s will not extend its bank of regular customers if they treat first time guests with the disdain our table received.

While we all really enjoyed the company and the occasion, my Mother did not feel that MacKenzie’s offered her value for money. The menu and service also fell far short of my expectations. I cannot recommend this restaurant. There are too many other restaurants in Edinburgh in this price bracket that offer a more varied menu and better service.

Valerie Penny

 

Lounge, 33-43 Main Street, Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland, KA30 8AE

lounge-largs1Lounge is a stylish venue in the centre of Largs, Ayrshire in Scotland. It combines a restaurant, bar, outdoor terrace and nightclub. My husband and I went there recently with friends for dinner. What a lovely evening we had! The restaurant at Lounge specialises in contemporary Celtic cuisine with menus and strives to use the very finest local products.

Although the bar was not busy, we chose to go straight through to our table and have our pre-dinner drinks there. They were all perfectly chilled and served. The dining room is carefully lit and the service was impeccable. The table are also far enough apart or separated by furnishings to give diners some privacy.food1

We chose a selection of starters. Two of us went with the black pudding and haggis fritters, one with the garlic mushrooms and I chose a side salad of mixed greens and walnuts with shavings of parmesan cheese. My salad was really tasty, indeed we all enjoyed our starters very much. With our main courses we ordered more drinks. Again, these were perfectly chilled and nicely served. I am vegetarian and food2there were sufficient numbers of choices  for me. I opted for beer battered halloumi with salad and french fries. My husband and one of our friends chose the steak pie while our other friend went with a burger which was served on a large wooden platter. The meals were all freshly cooked, and very tasty. We all thoroughly enjoyed them.

Somehow or another, we managed to make room for pudding. Lounge is unusual as it offers smaller portions of restaurant-3several deserts. I chose a small size brownie. It was beautifully served and just enough to finish my meal. One of our friends chose the cheese cake, which he really enjoyed. The others had sticky toffee pudding. This amply lived up to its name. Our after dinner coffees were served after our puddings and were all as ordered. We all really enjoyed a leisurely meal. The service at Lounge was efficient and courteous. Altogether we had a lovely meal and a great evening. I will certainly look forward to going back to Lounge.

Valerie Penny

Rob Roy Hotel, Lochard Rd, Stirling, Aberfoyle, Scoland, FK8 3SZ

My husband stayed overnight at the Rob Roy Hotel, Lochard Rd, Stirling, Aberfoyle, Scotland, between fishing dates.rob roy It is named after the legendary local folk hero Rob Roy McGregor and is situated within Scotland’s first national park. The Rob Roy Hotel is wonderfully situated in idyllic countryside at the gateway to the glorious Trossachs. The Rob Roy Hotel is only a 5-minute walk from Aberfoyle Golf Club, this relaxed low-rise hotel is 2.3 miles from the Lake of Menteith. As it is so very close to the Lake of Menteith, the hotel offered ideal overnight accommodation for him between an evening and full day fishing.

There are 99 en-suite bedrooms, all non-smoking and with television, telephone and tea/coffee making facilities. His room was clean and very rob roy roomsuitable. The bed was comfortable and he slept well. Cosy rooms feature en suite bathrooms, tea and coffee making facilities, and flat-screen TVs. Some of them even sleep up to 4 guests.

He had dinner before the evening fishing began. He was impressed by the lounge menu offering freshly produced local food. This is available throughout the day in the Thistle Bar, and the Tartan Room is an excellent spot for lunch or an evening meal. The dinner and bar facilities were pleasant and the staff friendly. He really enjoyed the buffet breakfast and said it was excellent. The Rob Roy Hotel offers excellent food friendly staff, and good old fashioned value for money. There rob roy baris also a casual restaurant that serves locally sourced cuisine, and an informal bar/lounge offers light fare and a pool table; there’s an adjacent outdoor sitting area. Other amenities of the hotel include event space and free parking.

This hotel is so convenient for my husband’s favourite fishing venue that I have no doubt that he will use this hotel again.

Valerie Penny

La Vita, 161 Queen Street, Glasgow, Scotland, G1 3BJ

My sister and I meet up for lunch every 5-6 weeks. We usually go somewhere mutually inconvenient! Last month wela vita out chose to go to  La Vita, 161 Queen Street, Glasgow, Scotland. This restaurant is situated in central Glasgow, on the corner of George Square, very close to the Queen Street Train Station. As it is on a corner of the street, it has an interesting view to the downstairs dining area. The stairs, however, are rather steep. The tables are also very close together. I would not recommend this restaurant to those who are disabled or with mobility issues. I was also slightly surprised that none of the staff I encountered were Scottish or Italian: for an Italian restaurant in Scotland, I thought that was unusual.

Our table was booked for 1pm. My sister arrived a few minutes early: I was a few minutes late. During this interval the waitress was keen to unite my sister with a complete stranger, who was also waiting for a friend, at pizzaanother table – twice. My sister was incensed by the time I arrived, not with me, but with the unwanted introduction the waitress seemed intent on making for her.

We ordered our meals. We each chose a margarita pizza with a side salad to share. At this time the waitress took it upon herself to berate me for my late arrival. I was bemused but I thought my sister was going to explode. She had, in fact only been waiting about 5 minutes. In any event, it was hardly for the waitress to take this up for her.la vita inside

La Vita has separate menus for food and drinks. There are also chilrdens’ meals available. The menus are varied, but the lunchtime selection for vegetarians is not wide.

Our drinks arrived. They were chilled and nicely served. The pizzas did take a little time to arrive. That is not unusual for freshly prepared food and gave us time to chat. The salad, arrived first. It was quite large and served with a tasty balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It was delicious and complemented the pizza perfectly. The pizzas were also large. The tomato base was tangy and tasty as was the cheese used. Both my sister and I enjoyed our meals very much. It was unfortunate that the service was so intrusive. As a result of that service, I am unlikely to use this restaurant again. If you and your companions arrive at the same time, you may enjoy a meal at La Vita.

Valerie Penny

Loch Lomond Arms Hotel, Main Road, Luss, Dunbartonshire, G83 8NY, Scotland

My mother came to visit us from Edinburgh, Scotland. She is disabled by mobility issues and cannot get about so well but still enjoys traveling and visiting new places and familiar places she is unable to visit on her own now. After chatting, she mentioned that she liked the village of Luss, so we decided to take our time and go up to the Loch Lomond Arms loch lomondHotel, Main Road, Luss, Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Luss is on the west bank of Loch Lomond. It is a pretty conservation village of Luss is situated almost 10 miles south of Tarbert within the Loch Lomond National Park.

This beautiful Loch Lomond hotel remains true to its tradition as an 18th century village inn but with the comfort and facilities of a modern hotel. The hotel has 14 individually designed bedrooms, a bar and restaurant, as well as a weddings and events suite. The newly refurbished Loch Lomond Arms Hotel has one of the best locations of hotels in the Loch Lomond area in the heart of beautiful, historic Luss.

loch lomond armsThe short walk from the car park and entrance to the hotel is on the level. That made it an easy walk for my mother. Loch Lomond Arms Hotel is owned, and now operated, by Luss Estates, the hotel looks forward to establishing itself as one of the friendliest and most affordable hotels on Loch Lomond.

This hotel has a rich and varied history as a hostelry and hotel, welcoming locals and visitors alike for at least two centuries. Indeed, William Wordsworth and his sister

Dorothy are reputed to have stayed during their tour of Scotland in 1803. Naturally, times have, of course, changed. Today the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel has reopened following a significant £4 million refurbishment which will ensure its position at the heart of the community, situated near the banks of Loch Lomond itself. During the recent refurbishment, the mid twentieth-century extension to the rear of the property and the historic main wing of the building have been upgraded throughout with those 14 stylish and room at loch lomondcomfortable new bedrooms, a new restaurant and bar area, and a smart new reception area.

The staff are friendly and helpful and we had lunch in the traditional village pub and restaurant, offering fine Scottish hospitality and fresh, seasonal food. We sat in the bar as the access was easy for my Mum. It is very

much at the heart of the village, a place where locals can catch up on the day’s news and relax. With its warming log fires, rustic furniture  and traditional décor, the bar restaurant is a welcome haven for travelers stopping off on a long journey or hotel guests enjoying special west coast hospitality. The Loch Lomond Arms Hotel is just 24 miles from Glasgow and easily accessible from all over the central belt of Scotland. It is the ideal place to relax all the way from breakfast through to dinner.

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We had a delicious lunch. Mum and I shared the appetizer of olives and breads. The breads were varied and fresh: delicious. My husband was tempted by the traditional Scottish fish soup, cullin skink. He thoroughly enjoyed it. For our main course we all chose different things. My husband had scampi, my mother chose belly of pork and I chose a vegetarian wellington dish with salad and a side order of hand made fries. The meals were as tasty as they were varied and we were made to feel like welcome guests throughout our visit. We finished the meal with fresh coffee as none of us had any room for pudding. It was a lovely visit and we all plan to go back the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel soon. I highly recommend it.

Valerie Penny

 

Tony Macaroni, 2 Greenock Rd, Largs KA30 8NF, Scotland

This week was my husband’s birthday. As part of his birthday celebration I arranged for his cousin and his brother toimage1 join us, with their spouses, for dinner at Tony Macaroni in Largs, Scotland. It  is an Italian restaurant next door to Nardini’s cafe and icecream parlour. It seemed like a good idea as we had been there before and enjoyed our evening. The restaurant was also mutually inconvenient, so the venue was chosen.

Our table was booked for 7pm and we sat at a table that gave us enough space for us all. The staff were helpful and we started with drinks before we ordered. We were not rushed in any way. We were there on a Friday evening so the restaurant was busy and it was a warm happy and friendly atmosphere. Each of us had something different, my brother-in-law chose soup and his wife went with the rosemary foccachia, My husband’s cousin had the calimari and her husband chose the garlic tony napkinmushrooms, My husband chose the half rack of lamb and I had the mozzarella sticks.

We had to wait a little while for our starters to arrive, but only as long as you might expect for the dishes to be cooked. All our starers were delicious and we enjoyed not only our food but also the restaurant experience. It was really fun.

When our main courses arrived we were equally pleased. My husband’s cousin chose the sea food risotto and her husband chose anther risotto dish, my brother-in-law swithered but eventually plumped for the spaghetti bolognaise while his wife had a risotto, my husband hand a filet steak and I had a margarita pizza. We washed the meals down with lager or pinot grigio white wine. We all enjoyed our meals very much. My husband’s steak was cooked exactly as he likes it and was extremely tender. He was thrilled. The only tony macaroniproblem with my pizza was that it was too much for me too finish. It was a very big pizza! However, I was offered a box to put the leftovers into. I do not usually accept such an offer, but, the meal was so delicious, I did accept on this occasion. My husband and I had the left overs for lunch the following day with potato salad.

After our meals, my husband, his cousin and her husband decided to make a move on pudding. The rest of us just opted for various coffees. My husband chose the banana split. It was enormous! He enjoyed what he had, but could not finish it. His cousin opted for the chiacciere which is really pizza dough cut into long strips and deep fried then sprinkled with sugar. At Tony Macaroni this is served with chocolate and toffee dipping sauces. She really enjoyed it, but, like me could not finish her meal, so she opted to take the leftovers home in a box. Her husband did manage to finish his Tiramusu. He said it was excellent.

What a good evening we had. A delicious meal, good service, happy ambience and a great time had by all. We will definitely be back to Tony Macaroni in Largs.

Valerie Penny